Thoughts: What Kind of Mop Do You Use to Sop Up Wasted Love?

IMG_1695

“Were you there when I was hungry? Were you there when I thirsted? Did you have my name in your actions instead of your mouth? Did you love me when I had none?”

I can’t help but struggle with the concept of love. Watching Romantic Comedies, listening to As Cities Burn’s “The Widow”, having a heart-felt conversation with my roommate, bickering with my mother, having lunch with my grandmother and aunt, struggling with a desire to be loved as much as I love others. I’m always wondering where the reciprocation is? Caught between hopeful expectancy and melancholy apathy.

I know love is self-sacrificing because I’ve given myself so many times. I’m always surprised at the amount of me’s that I can pull out of my chest, like the machine from “The Prestige” is just pumping away right behind my sternum. Giving my clones away to passers-by like a man in a hotdog suit. “It’s by one get one free!” I call out after them, only to see the flyers of me discarded on the ground as they round the corner.

So I quit giving myself away. This paper-man had lived in so many different garbage cans by now that Oscar was getting upset for encroaching on his realty. So I moved upstate, into the seclusion. There was fresh air, there were song birds calling at every moment, there was the gargling as the rivers rushed about to meet their mistress the Atlantic, no reason to shave the forest that grew from my chin. I was akin to the stones and conversed often with the elk. We would talk at length, but the pines always brought back the same question from the elk’s mountainous hideaways:

“You know you weren’t made for solitude. You call to us like we can save you. We weren’t made for your companionship and we weren’t made to piece you back together. You always tell us of this man who made us as if we don’t know him. You call him by name, but his name is all you know.”

Elk always were the wise and mysterious sort. It was back to the Midwest where I would try and find community, where I would try and make a home. Find a cozy house with good bones, work harder at knowing Christ, find time to figure out what I believe and how love really works.

Sometimes, I like to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. It’s nice to look  at the bumps and ridges. They’re like their own little landscape, like another world inverted from ours. It often reminds me that that’s how I see things, like Death Cab’s “Lack of Color”, always fixated on the wrong things. I wonder how God does it. How we’re so small he can see us all with one gaze yet we’re oh so much more than bumps on the ceiling.

How do we love so effectively as you do? All I am is a mess of depression addled nonsense. I know I am more than that but how? Everything we are pushes against you as if our poles were magnetized to be opposite. The Creation has continued to sing you a love song since your thundering voice sounded those billions of years ago and all we do is sow in the discord. Every time I love, I love too much. Every time I guard myself I become calloused and cold. How can I be compassionate and look after myself at the same time?

There are few things I get anxious about, but love is one of them. It’s messy and I often times don’t know how to do it. I’ve messed up a lot of relationships and friendships. I’ve been too selfish, or too forward, or too vulgar. I’m constantly stewing in what I could or couldn’t have done, Bugs Bunny cutting up carrots as I yammer away, unknowingly boiling alive.

I’m really hoping that someday I will understand how to love fully. How to be compassionate and invested for the right reasons. How to keep a healthy distance to allow myself to grow and flourish just as much as those I give love to. Maybe someday I’ll realize that I’m not the only one who struggles with this and maybe one day this will allow someone to be honest with themselves, that’s all I can really hope.

Pain: Living in the Dark

IMG_1525

I never thought I would get to a point in my life again where I would be incredibly and abysmally lonely.  I never thought that I had taken the presence of people for granted.
Laying in my bed at 6 in the morning in the complete dark listening to the birds sing of treetops and wind current, I almost forgot what the morning felt like.  Working overnight has changed a lot of things for me. Sleeping when the sun is out, adapting to the lack of Vitamin D, getting used to the dark, being the most alert when those I care for are not.

That’s the hard part.

I never thought I would get to a point in my life again where I would be incredibly and abysmally lonely.  I never thought that I had taken the presence of people for granted.  I don’t think I was prepared for what changes were about to come into my life.

At first it’s fine. Life doesn’t seem to change all that much. You’re resilient, you’re youthful, you bounce back. But then you’re suddenly without a social life, without a normal routine.  You’re alone.

Loneliness is a tricky thing for me. For some reason, my mind’s reaction to being alone is to just be more alone. I forget how to talk to people, I become less interesting, then I just get to a point where I don’t even want to be around people. Why my wires are so crossed as to come up with this solution I have no clue.  I’m stuck however, I start to cling to things that I shouldn’t.  Pornography, being the main one. I hate that the moment I feel a hole in my heart I try and fill it with the most objectifying outlet to women we have ever created. I hate that the only option I can come up with is to seek out a few moments of ecstasy to create several hours of abysmal self-loathing and emptiness when I claim to have a God who is ever-present and ever-wanting-to-put-up-with-my-shit.

The even worse thing about loneliness is it makes my depression worse. I’ve had a couple cycles lately where I just sat in my room for a couple hours staring at the wall, because that’s all the energy I could muster to do. The two feed off of each other like a passive-aggressive couple, constantly taking something from the other out of spite, only they’re really taking stuff from me.

I like to write these after I’m in a better frame of mind and a better place, when I can look back and really evaluate what’s going on. There’s a few things that I’ve seen and learned from all of this and I just wanted to share.

Don’t take for granted those around you.

I never knew how much a kind word would get me through. Be encouraging to those in your life, whether they are good or not. Shitty people need encouragement too, they are probably dealing with just as much, if not more, than you are. Just because we find faults in people, doesn’t mean we should let it define them and walk away from them completely.

Encouraging is uncomfortable. Often times, women think that I am hitting on them when I am actually just imparting a kind word, men think I am too emotional and often times play it off like it was nothing or shrink back in some sort of homophobia. So in short, learn how to take a compliment, not everyone wants to get in your pants.

Words mean more than we think they do.

I’ve found myself missing just simple ‘hello’s’ and ‘how are you’s’. Care about people. Go out of your way to see how someone is doing. Quit just checking on facebook and knowing people through a 4″ screen. If the most interaction you have with people is through social media, delete it. We’re so geared towards connecting with people and loving others, yet we can’t do it without this electric brick. Say hi to people whom you walk past in public, don’t look at your phone to avoid them. Be willing to stop and chit-chat. Meet with people. Say genuine things. Our country is probably the most BS country on the planet, we can’t do anything without being two-faced or having some ulterior motive.

Be present.

When you are with people, be with those people. Don’t be on your phone, don’t be taking selfies for snapchat, don’t be watching the tv in the corner. How in the world are you ever going to be close with someone if you are more worried about documenting how “awesome a time” you are having on social media rather than actually having the time and letting it be something special for yourself and for that other person. Make plans with people, straight up, and then stick to it. Don’t send out mass texts with vague, “what are you up to’s” or “where you at’s”. Make plans with a person, show them you care about them, and then do something. Maybe it’s not the best thing that could happen but that’s your own damn fault for always wanting something better rather than being content with what you have.
It’s time we got back to actually caring.  I know this is an uncomfortable thing for me, but I also know that living comfortably is unproductive and selfish. I just want to encourage you, my dear reader, to make people matter in your life. One of my favorite bands, Silent Planet, calls their fans ‘lovers’. I felt super uncomfortable at first to hear that, but the more I reflect on it, the more I enjoy it. What would it feel like for someone you care for to call you lover. For someone to recognize that a. You need love, to b. Convey that love through one word, thus c. Recognizing the worth and beauty that you have.  How wonderful is that? Yeah it’s weird, yeah it’s counter-culture, but who cares. If you’re worried about what society thinks of you because you want to encourage and love, then do us a favor and quit contributing to that zeitgeist that no one truly believes in.

You are loved and I love you.

You have worth and I see that.

Your dreams are valid and you should pursue that.

Your life has purpose and I encourage that.