Be it For the Better Part of Man—

Uproot yourself.

Refuse the easy path, respectfully. You may need it later. You will. But… you do not need it now.

Close your eyes and breathe. Open them again when you are calm. Watch the spider in the open window begin to weave a web that you’ll resolve not to destroy. Do not be afraid of the spider. Exist with it.

This is going to be difficult. That is the process. The process of re-wiring your mind.

The only reason you are doing this, is because you want to do this. Otherwise you would not do it. You have learned to listen to your body. It is time to listen to your mind.

Sit mindfully with your thoughts, and observe them without judgment. Let them go.

Imagine yourself from a top-down view, pretending that there is no roof between you and the endless open sky. The sky you sit beneath envelops everything. The clouds that you may watch drift slowly from your field of view in stillness are the water and the breath of the world recirculating. This breath fills your lungs as it does everybody’s. This water will become you. And soon after it will leave, becoming something else. You will remain. Always changing. Moment to moment. This is the process.

Connect the room you’re sitting in to the rooms around you. Imagine the occupants. You know they are there. They exist. You cannot feel them, maybe. Acknowledge them. They are here. So are you.

Expand the locus of your imagined, top-down view. Place yourself within the city. Place yourself amidst the trees. Place yourself in your environment. Realize where you are, because you are there.

Stay calm.

Expand the locus of your view.

There is a whole world’s worth of this. You are in it. Alive, breathing. Right now. When you think about tomorrow, do not worry. It will be here soon, and if things go well, so will you. Do the best you can in any moment. This is the process.

Re-learn the things that make you happy.

You realized once, on acid, that the reason you were not happy was because you had ceased to do the things that make you happy. You must entertain the possibility that these things will change. You may have to learn to do something new. But you’re here because you want to. That is the process.

You are in control of it. You can do anything you want to.

And right now, you are.

Image Credit: Getty

Youtube Rabbit Hole: My first experience at Denny’s (I survived)

I can’t stop thinking about the “Sex Junk” video

Perhaps you’ve seen it.

This piece of sh*t is a week old and its faults have been thoroughly legislated by the internet commentariat at this point. I am not hauling this beast into the town square over my shoulder like it’s a fresh kill. I am just here to say… “Wow. can’t stop thinking about this thing.”

All week I have been laying in bed at my horrifying apartment getting devoured by scabies and unable to sleep, staring at the ceiling with this farting beat playing in my head, over and over. So much had to go wrong to make this happen.

People with authority had to hear the mic drop punch line “my sex junk is better than bagels with lox” at least a dozen times before the cameras were turned on—and nobody said anything. Before, during, or after. There was time. There was so much time.

The director, whom I assume came up in their career filming content for the QVC Network, tried to create a kinetic concert film experience and ended up producing a perfect simulacrum of a high-school auditorium midday assembly hostage situation, completely on accident.

An entire crew of professional filmmakers made the choice to stage this techno-wobble almost-dance with a minimum of set and props and a maximum of empty space, emphasizing flop sweat bleakness in absence of anything else. This was OK.

The editor, faced with a mountain of footage from this Nuremberg execution of a pop science presentation, decided it would be wise to incorporate the brief sequence of Bill Nye punching a laptop spacebar like he’s fucking Deadmau5, and no silent hero transferred that bit of footage from the edit to the trash.

Netflix, who put up the money for this and presumably had the ability to pull the plug, decided to go ahead with the delivery of its unviable baby, resulting in untold suffering for all who had to witness it. It was traumatic and unjust. Marriages were ruined.

William Nye, the scientist, did not watch the first 30 seconds of this and speedwalk TF to the parking lot for an unfiltered Camel and some perspective. This from a supposedly reasonable man. A man of science. A science guy.

The audience did what any of us would do in this situation—froze, stuck stock still and breathless, like innocents forced belly-down onto the cold tile of a bank during a robbery. They appear in this footage as our surrogates, damned avatars of douche chill. The backs of their unbobbing heads are haunting.

Ostensibly, I agree with pretty much everything and like everyone that’s going on here. That’s what makes this so uncomfortable. This is ostensibly a vision of a world I asked for, and it’s like looking in the mirror at your smile and seeing screaming Bloody Mary instead. I can’t stop thinking about this video. It is a curse that will outlive my mortal soul.

kill me violently with a machine gun

The following is a work of fiction. Free association. When real events are described, they are moments long past. Many things in the text did not happen. It conceals no greater urgency, and is uncomfortable to read. 

Rip me limb from limb. I deserve to be destroyed.

Kill me violently with a machine gun. Everyone deserves to be killed.

Paint the commons with my viscera. Blast my guts into the wall.

The first thing you need to focus on upon waking is your own destruction. Implore to others. Stab me violently with knives. Run me through with rusted spears and polearms. Throw me off a tall building, or a short one, onto spikes. Lay me down in dark traffic. Hold me underneath the water.

“Drowning,” the psychiatrist said to me across the desk, reading back my own words, from all those years ago. “That would be a good way to go.”

My mom was twisting awkwardly next to me, unsure of how to receive the news that her creation had spoken of its own demise quite earnestly, at some point, with the woman across the desk.

“Do you remember saying that?”

I smile, not meanly. “Yeah.” It’s the only thing that I remember, the aspect that makes the memory click. I’d forgotten I had ever been here, otherwise. I was on a lot of drugs the last time I came here. I’ve remained on drugs a lot.

These things happen. I don’t remember things. I get flashes. Vomiting wood and plant matter in the headlights of Joel Wynn’s car, somewhere. Some curb, some space of land that exists only in my memory as an island, ending at the reaches of its light source, only mystery beyond.

Kill me violently with a machine gun… everyone deserves to be killed.

My body twisting in the bed beside my mother, eyes open, half here, half out. Lights up and the lack of hurt, the pragmatism of what is to be done right now, a voice on the phone that I don’t understand, words from my mouth they can’t either. It’s all so incredibly funny.

Everyone deserves to die. Especially me.

I wake up in the king bed next to my mother, turned away from me across a barrier of blankets cold and thick. The room feels like my childhood, hermetically sealed. There is a serene chill to her bedroom. There always has been, and I wake up to it now, remembering nothing. I know that she is sad. I don’t remember anything. I don’t feel anything at all.

I won’t recall this episode until some years later, when she mentions it to me, the pills that I was eating on the floor, my disorientation on the phone call. “You didn’t even know who you were talking to.”

“What? When was this?”

Didn’t remember. She carried that for two years, I never carried it at all. I left it in the bed. To this day, I don’t remember what the phone call was about.

These are what you call your medical emergencies, these little stretches where you stick your fist inside your chest and start to pick at the walls of your heart, with chipped nails. You get somewhere beyond navel-gazing. Your hand is up inside you. Pulling. Wrenching. Kill me or come loudly. What do I want? What do I want? Am I going to goddamn find it in here?

A rising heat of anxiety attack. Look up out the window, in horror, at the trees. They live peacefully. Swaying in a gentle breeze. They are watching you die.

In the coffeeshop I avoid catching my face in a reflection and ask myself if I ever think I’m going insane. And then I sip my coffee. There’s a moment of clarity. I say “yeah”, aloud.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I am always coming back from it. Back from the bathroom floor, the precipice, the haze. Hey, you should kill yourself! No, not now, later, later, that comes later… Calm down.

You’ve got so much left to do.

Photo Credit: Weapons Man

A Completely Unorganized, Gangly, and Only Slightly Edited List of Things I’m Into Lately, Because I’m Kind of Depressed

Note that I am not into these things because I’m depressed (I think), but rather, because I’m depressed, the only content I can think of to create right now is a list of other, better content that I’m voraciously devouring lately.

Don’t worry about it, though. This sort of thing happens all the time.

1. Memes, but only good ones. The dankest. Stupid memes depress me. I hate this baby, for instance. I wish nothing but all the bad things in the world on that baby. He’s probably fifteen now. I sort of hate that even more.

2. Tweets

3. The engrossing psychodrama of Showtime Network’s The Affair. (No spoilers! I just finished season 1! And I love it! These fools fucked their lives up fast!)

4. The fact that this painful infection on the corner of my thumb seems to be going away on its own. (It’s true, I’m into this, the fact that it’s going away. It’s on my hand. You become hyper-aware of even the most minor injuries when they’re on your freaking hand. You need hands for almost everything. The fact that I still have two of them is a solid comfort.)

5. Vigilante confrontations with child predators in Canada. (What? Something’s got to hold me over until this shit starts. This kind of awful, awesome thing is my bread and butter—and when you’re depressed, you tend to want some carbs.)

6. Stories about sports cheaters. Come to find out, when I’m depressed, I tend to get really attracted to other people getting their shit wrecked. Cool. That’s healthy.

7. My mom. She’s cool. You can’t have her.

8. That’s kind of it, unless you count staring into the middle distance while sitting in complete silence and going to bed at 6 pm. That’s a pretty privileged existence, really.

Happy Friday. See you soon.

the copse of trees dead & dying

If nothing else, I like to think of myself as a runner.

I’ve been doing it since I was 12, 13, I think, running. And I’ve never quite seriously stopped. Laps in the yard, laps around the block, laps on the track, done terribly. (Dad: How’d you do, Sarah? Sarah: I found a quarter! *beams*)

I forget if I ran much at 15. When I learned how to drive, I played tag, committed crimes, ran fast. By college I was running again, in an absent way—the same absent manner by which I dealt with all of college, with great success, and sleekness.

After college, I would really run. I would take the hills, go far afield, get lost, be by myself, alone. I would find out what it means to meditate. Discover great podcasts. Realize things about myself, solve out puzzles, save the world for later. I would run to not be drunk instead, to be sober for a second, for at least some stretch of my day. To be, for a little while, better than I was before, or felt before. My heart racing for a reason, to be stronger, to be better. Yes, I was a runner then.

The other day, after a long period of languishing—days at a stretch in the mire, I’m saying—I went for a long run, those being the kind of runs that go for more than, oh, four miles. For me, these are the slow runs, and for me, they are the best runs. And I should say now that I’m not a particularly good runner, in the sense that if I were really practicing, chasing PRs and logging my miles, I would be much, much better at running than I am now. I’ve more plateaued at “decent”; improvements, to me, are incidental, so while I may be on a given day slightly better than the average bear at this jogging-around shit, I am by no means as good as one might think I should be, after so much time and cash invested.

Ain’t even mad, though. Because running, to me, has always been, first, a way of mental escape. This is its grand value. No amount of om-ing in my life so far could have ever done as much to clear my mind from the madness and the sadness as the act of running does, has done for me, by force. Vague worries disappear at the advance of the immediate. I mean, let’s be real—the pain, the crisis of I need to spray hot fire out of my asshole right FRIKKIN now, under this bridge, patio bar be god-damned shit-fucked tends to, no-question, outlap and make trivial the tired pains of existential horseshit, all height of vagary, like O how Oft I Quake Most Fretfully at yon mere Rhythms of thy Wickid, Wild World. Which is to say, some people have real problems; running helps to keep that in perspective.

Anyway. That, in rough approximate, is why I like to run. In the parlance of an Achewood strip—I got depression.

Down the west bank of the Mighty Arkansas, there is a point where it becomes hard to ignore a sense of deadness, a certain lifelessness, at times, in the foliage surrounding you. For a long stretch beside the PSO Tulsa Power Station, house of aesthetic notoriety, trees grow crookedly in muddy waters beneath smokestacks looming, across from engines all abuzz. The east side of the trail is fenced off, a steep drop, choked with trees, a lengthy copse of them in all the stages of decay, gross and grotesque, dead and dying, their sickly limbs dreading into lifeless knots. Between their barren, webwormed eaves the river flows, sometimes, like now, in early autumn, after rain. In the summers, the Arkansas is a trench of mud, speckled with pelicans, expectant. Yes, the river changes, once mighty, then absent, but here is an eerie constant—the trees on the coast in the miasma, growing up poisoned, thin shafts jagged and abrupt like broken spears. The proximity to the power plant, that fetid taste in the air, so noxious; it makes one wonder—but truths like these, we know, are far too high above our pay grades to warrant much excess concern on our part.

So yeah, I take meds. Before that, I drank, hard. And I did a christload of drugs. I was insane, and I embraced insane. This is not a brag. I could detail all the exploits, make them into funny stories—usually, on some level, they were—but the truth is, as a whole look, it was ugly. Anything to distract, man. I ran, too, then—but in those days, when I stopped running, the crazy came back right away.

I’m at least a year or two removed from that stretch of my life now, but let’s be straight—I still have the crazy. I try to keep it to myself these days, instead of airing it out on common grounds, where they’re sick of my ass, like I used to. There are days so crushing it’s hard to do anything but numb myself, any way I’m able to, with even running too much to ponder. There are days I spend alone that are designed to not remember. Bad days, sometimes. Bad times.

And then the morning always comes, its slate blank.

The weather is nice.

Or maybe it’s not—maybe it looks like a challenge out there…

Maybe something to conquer out there—something to find out, grapple with, be better than, and beat.

Here I am with all my problems, when out there, it’s the world… and in the good times, I’ll say to myself—

Go run. Feel better. See beauty. Feel real.

And then I do.

youtube rabbit hole: fedsmoker