The truest sentence

I feel alone more than a lot.
My friends love me and I’m lucky for that.
They don’t know how alone I am though, they can’t even comprehend it.
They walk around with all these connections and loved ones and spouses.
They wouldn’t know how to define the word.
Some people say ‘depression’ cause they want to be part of the club.
Some people can’t stop ruminating about killing themself.

Like, I have a bad day and I make plans to end my life.
But what surprises me, is that I make plans on the good days now too.
Like dying sounds kinda peaceful and nice and I sigh a contented sigh when I think about it.
I never asked for this life.
I didn’t go around begging for it.
But here it is.
This big, crazy mess of sad and tired and confused and alone.

There’s some good in there too.
And despite my most concentrated efforts and furrowed brows and clenched fists, I keep right on living.
Sometimes I wonder if the ones who really want to live, like have big gusto and whatnot, die young and their time gets added on to the end of my life.
Is that how God works?
Whatever you want real bad, he gives you the opposite to test you?
Kinda seems like it.

When I was 6 years old, I thought life was just about Jesus.
That was it.
No other things.
Just me and Jesus talking about how much we loved each other in our sunday school shoes.
I didn’t know there were any other things you could believe (my little kindergarten self shrugs his shoulders).
I told people I would die for Jesus.
I was very sure of myself back then.

Sometimes I think God really loves me.
Sometimes I think I’m growing from my suffering.
I like to look at the world through that lense, but sometimes I’m bad at it, ya know?

Randomly, I’ll think of God as one of us.
Ya know, a fallible human that’s just real big and powerful who’s trying all these different experiments and he keeps messing them up and he feels really bad that he’s messing up so he just gets stressed out and cries a lot.
This makes me have compassion on this human-God I’ve imagined.
But, if I’m honest, I don’t think God is really like that.

God is this real complex idea/being/creator/force/power/grace that we have boiled down to something really simple so faith doesn’t scare us so bad.
“I can’t believe in a God who would do that!,” we all say at one point.
But I bet he’s so much more than a figure head in the sky or an old man that our mom told us about when we got scared in elementary school.
I bet he’s the connecting tissue to every living thing.
I bet he whispers to us when we look at a big tree and say, “That is so beautiful.”

My friend said she knows God is real because “there are small bugs that light up hot summer nights with magic, and they’re slow enough to be held in our hands.”
She said that she knows God is real because, “The trees turn a soft pink and deep red twice a year with no other colorful purpose than to be enjoyed.”
She said that, “there are one million types of laughs and my friends bring out my heartiest.” And lastly she said because, “My friend went into the darkest depth of a mental hospital and knew in his core that his job was to love people there.”

That last line was about me.
The funny thing is, my friend who wrote those lines four years ago, doesn’t believe in God anymore.
I think she sometimes believes that there could be a God, but she definitely doesn’t believe that he is good.
And haven’t we all been where my friend is right now?
Haven’t we all said, “There’s no way that goodness is at the center of all of this chaos.”
I’ve been there, in her position, earlier today even and I bet I will be there again tomorrow any some point.

Maybe if you think of God as a metaphor for goodness, it’s like taking a step.
And hugging a stranger who’s crying is like taking another.
And sweeping a child up into your arms is like jogging a bit.
And talking a friend out of suicide is like quickening your pace.
And telling a friend your painful story is like running.
And then you’re hugging and sweeping and talking and telling and loving and kissing and helping and singing and hoping and praying
and then you start thinking.

I want to be about goodness.
I want it in my life.
I want to help and I want to grow and get better.
I want to be about goodness.
I don’t really care what you call it.

Mental Illness Happy Hour: Volume 3

3

All I want to be known for is: being honest. There are other things too, but that one seems to stick out a lot. I want people to look at me as say, “man, that guy is brutally honest.” I want that because it’s my way of living counter-culturally; against the grain.

How do I become more honest?

Well, for one, I think I’m well on my way. Honesty is something I seem to embody. It seems to come a little easier for me than some other folks, but I wasn’t always this way. When I was in middle school, I lied all the time. I lied to girls that I had a crush on, saying I was a guitarist in a touring band. I lied and said that I knew famous people. I lied that I had sex when I was in 7th grade.

I did all this because I didn’t think my actual life was interesting enough.

There was too much normal in my life when I was young and I wanted people to see “off the wall” and “exciting” and “dangerous.” I don’t lie like that anymore because, for one, my life became a little more interesting, filled with difficult challenges and funny stories and the like.

I struggle with self-confidence a ton, but I like to think the decrease in lies means I’m growing a bit in that regard. But, I want to grow more and become the most honest I can.

To be honest, you have to be transparent about how you feel.

You have to explain hard things that could hurt a loved one’s feelings or make a friend feel uncomfortable. Let’s take this moment to talk about some things that are uncomfortable for me, in the name of honesty.

  • I don’t like the way I look: I don’t want my weight to fluctuate so much. When I have to go to a mental hospital, I always gain a bunch of weight. I feel like I cannot attract the kind of girl I want because I look “too big” and honestly, it floods my brain all the time.
  • I am trying to wait until I’m married to have sex: The older I get, the tougher this decision seems. I feel like a loser who can’t get laid, even though I’m the one who makes that decision everyday to wait for my future wife. I have had to tell girls that I’ve been dating that “kissing is as far as I’ll go” and remove myself from situations that are getting too physical. I want to look my wife in the eyes and say, “It was hard, but I did this for you and for the safety of our relationship.”
  • My disorder is really hard: It’s like I get three disorders in one: Mania (which is a dangerous high), Depression (which I deal with everyday) and Anxiety (which is like a crushing sensation in your chest and feeling like everything is permanently stuck in a bad place)
  • I think about suicide: The depression I feel, compounded with the feelings of no self worth and feelings of being a loser who might become a 40 year old virgin because of a decision I make to honor God and my future wife, lead me to ruminate on suicide a lot. Sometimes, I want all the hard things to go away along with all the pain I feel daily and it seems like the only option at times. I will point out however, that I’m still here.
  • I’m not sure where I stand on faith issues: I’m angry at God a lot. I don’t understand why he wants to teach us things through so much pain. I want him to intercede a little more or something. In general, I don’t believe anyone can be certain of anything. I believe that everything is up for debate. I get kind of sick of people who walk around acting like they know everything for certain. There are a lot of “church people” like that.

Those are some things that weigh heavy on my chest. This was a little exercise for me in the attempt to become as honest as I can. Maybe you could try and write down some things you want to be honest about. Or maybe you could communicate with a loved about hard things that would make your relationship better. Follow my lead, if ya want to. Keep Pressing On!

Even the angels have demons – But the demons have a mighty foe

There are not demons telling me to do it.
It is only me.
And that’s all there will ever be.
Just me.

I know the weight of it.
Know what it feels like in my hand.
Maybe I could stab it quick.
Maybe you could understand.

I’ll see it through to the end You see.
See it through.

Gritty nonstop hardness. Violence that spills into the street. Wine pouring to the edge of a glass. Broken glass from a storefront. Front street complete with break ins. Broken bones no simpletons.
“I’m a street nigga” he said, looked right through me. See through cats. Girls try to woo me. Pivot on back foot, grimey chimney soot. I’m strapped and ready for action. Now, gimme gimme more. Let the speakers blow. Let the people know. Wringing out the blood from your white tee. Ringing off hook phones. Hang up tones. Microphones spoken by street corner pastors. Snapped guitar strings.
Hang yourself with ‘em. Pawn shop diamond rings. Midwife bring ‘em. Did a deal with devil? Smarter than ‘em. Shame Lucy with Gucci. Now, gimme gimme more. Let the speakers blow. Let the people know. Put ya hands in the air! Freeze mo fucka Freeze. On ya knees mo fucka on ya knees. Beggin please mo fucka beggin please. For the cheese mo fucka for the cheese. Cardiac cats gunna seize. Askin god exactly what he sees. Shouldda got A’s stead of C’s. Asking Christ who he wanna be. Or is it me?

Bluetooth-fuck off-City
New-tunes -luck draw-gritty.
Not shitty. Now that’s Cincy.

There’s beauty in that pain. Can you feel it? Can you movie reel it? Ask em who the realest. Go ahead, ask em who the realest.

* * * * *

He steps into frame

Full of light, sword in hand

He walks slow

Because he is not afraid

Because he can

He is a warrior, yes,
but also a King

Like a President
and lowly worker
at the same time

The dark is day to him

He is the energy
from which the sun
draws inspiration

With a wave of holy
steel, he casts out the
darkness clinging to my
fragile mind then, He
turns it on the evil in you

He is a tower
made of deafening sound

He is the sound
that a sunrise makes
and thunder rains
that fill up the clouds
then the ponds

He showed me
what has possessed me

He even gave it a name

Then he cut it down
with a stroke that tore
the sky from the East
to the West

The prison,
the seemingly impenetrable fortress
is nothing to him

Nothing

He rips it into halves
this time with his mighty hands
and scoops me up
and you too

Run, He says,

Run as far as you can
from these things

This is no place for you

Come with me,
I’ll show you what real is

The branch on the tree in the small park

On a clear December night, when all the trees stand with their colorful past at their feet, you can see a certain tree. It’s not especially tall or stout or memorable at all really. But it has a ghostly aura around it – particularly a branch that looks as though it could carry a great weight. One of literal and figurative proportions.

It’s in a very small park, on the west side of Cincinnati, this tree, with its significant branch, the one I’m now bringing to your attention. The park, like the tree, is easily forgotten and does not get many visitors – perhaps that’s why I picked it.

If you happen upon this place, you may not immediately know or think anything of it. But if you stay long enough, I’m sure you will find – or feel (more accurately) – something unmistakable. The branch, hanging from the tree in the small, forgettable park, is where I hung my former self. He gave quite a fight and I’ll spare you the un-niceties, but he’s dead now. What was left of him clung to the nearest living thing – the tree.

Sometimes, I go visit the tree, bringing with me things it will need to grow tall, but it may be a losing battle – the tree is becoming sickly. You might think traveling there scares me a great deal, but it doesn’t. I can’t fully explain why, but suffice it to say that I feel happier now.

He was always very good at bringing me down and ensuring that I didn’t accomplish my goals. He often thwarted my dreams and called them “unattainable” and “impractical.” He’s much better at being a ghostly aura then he ever was at being a man.

Maybe, I go back occasionally to confront him and look at what he’s become, but mostly, I think I go to remember.

This last time, we parted amicably. “Onward and upward, ole’ chap,” I said tipping my hat at him. As I turned away I said quietly, “well, at least for one of us.”

Breathe

Should I keep writing?
I mean, I’ve never really made any money at it.
No one’s ever told me that something I wrote changed their life.
Or even changed their day.
Or changed anything at all.
Should I keep singing?
I mean I’ve never made any money at it.
No one’s ever told me that a song of mine made them pause and think.
Or inspired them to move.
Or inspired them at all.
Should I keep breathing?
I mean I’ve never been someone who makes things happen.
No one’s ever told me that I am confident.
Or seem driven.
Or drive women wild.
Should I keep going?
I mean, this list is starting to sound monotonous.
No one wants to hear you complain.
Or write or sing.

Or breathe.

Dare me?

I want to do it.
Do you dare me?
I’ve put myself there.
In good position.
I’ve stared down the barrel so to speak.
I’ve cracked it open.
I’ve fit the noose.
I’m no longer speaking In metaphors.

I drank too much again.
Finished the bottle.
There was no secret fortune at the bottom.
Guess that’s only in cookies.

It’s spinning mania. It’s thick with red wine and cheap beer. I’m quoting myself again. Narcissism.

Thinking too much of myself. I’ve heard selfish a few too many times. Be careful what you say to someone on the edge. Call them selfish again. See what happens.

Step back into oblivion. Step back in time. One two step around the issue. Keep your head down. Don’t make eye contact.

There are two knives in my room. One was made in Germany. The other is my grandfather’s who was German.

I hold the first to my arm. “sometimes i wish I could slash my wrists and end this bull shit put the magnum to my head and threaten to push it until the beds completely red.”

Biggie knew.
Do you?

The other says, “Serve God” on the handle.
Maybe I should give the advice a try. Maybe I already have.

I can’t do it with this one. I can’t dishonor my grandfather like that. Fuck honor. I can’t do it with this knife cause I love my grandpa. No need to bring hot buttons like honor into it.

Life is beautiful and is meant to be wrestled with. I’ve come to learn there’s so much beauty in pain. Can’t you see it?

I put down both knives, thinking of my mother’s eyes.

It’s those eyes the ones you can’t forget. It’s the walls speaking with regret. You want to die? Now’s not the time.

Porch lights on and it’s aglow saying things you’ll never know. It’s thick and swirls round your mind.

That songs about a girl who followed through. I should know. I wrote it.

Contemplating is not the same as pulling the trigger. But make sure you leave the safety on.

Sealed in the ground

The hardest things to say are the most important.
(Deep breath)
I am so tired.
Every day seems like a losing battle and I’m some soldier who’s been unwillingly drafted into a war that I didn’t start, but have been told I add fire to daily.
I find myself to be loyal, but I don’t get loyalty returned to me.
Instead, I get this sadness that everyone tells me to wear like a coat, so I do.
Trudging in a foreign field with a winter coat in the summer time.
I wonder a lot of things.
Sometimes I wonder if I wonder too much;
If that sense is what’s bringing me down.
Will I ever have someone to call my own?
Will I ever have a family to read to when they’re scared of rain pounding sideways onto the windows?
Will my life end by my own hand?
I know it almost did tonight.
Hell, tonight’s not over yet.
I want to be weightless for a few reasons:
1. I want to float on by without feeling or consequence
2. I want to live where we don’t worry over things like our weight
I’m racking my brain to find things to be grateful for these days.
It’s not coming as quickly as other times in my life.
I experimented with causing myself pain today.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
I’m listening to worship songs as I write this and it feels ironic.
Ironic faith.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice…
I’m ashamed of being ashamed.
I’m tired of being tired.
I hope you can hear me because I need you to speak to me.
And I’m not talking about you Thundering Speechlessness.
I’m talking to my (hopefully existent) lovely.
In the meantime, I’m lonely while I wait for you.
Perhaps, I have nothing to be waiting for.
I guess by now I’m so skeptical, it wouldn’t come as a surprise.
When you get here, will you hold me?
Please