My family

I am somewhat of a deity.
Not in a mighty sense or as bright as God’s shining light.
But I am a deity in the form of understanding.
I can see where people come from.
I can see the pain of where they have been and I’m able to factor that into my view of them.
I’ve noticed that other people don’t seem to have my superpower.
They have been so blunted or splintered from fear or hurt, that they can no longer look at their fellow man (who might think differently than them) with the same sort of familial lense.
But I can.
I see my brothers and sisters.
I see every living thing too.
The mistakes and quick tempers.
The mountain tops and bitter valleys.
I take it all into account, which would make me a pretty good judge, but I don’t want to reign down decisions on my family.
I want them to see how closely related we all are.
How when we help with our right hand our left one benefits.
That we are God’s body – running and falling. Investing and squandering.
If I succeed, then we all succeed. If I fail, then we all fail.
I’m not passing on until all of you are coming with me.
I simply won’t lose a single, solitary one of my people.
This is my heart, for all living things.
I am somewhat of a deity.
I have been gifted a superpower.

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On moving across town – 4/15/19

I haven’t written in a while.
My hands almost forgot what to do.
The busy things have gobbled up,
my time and strength again.

I have now settled
into a new home after five years dwelt
in a little room with white walls,
to a new room, grander.

I have stayed within the city limits,
though I changed my zip.
From one University’s lawn to another,
Don’t worry, I won’t lose my crosstown allegiances.

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure
how my mind would rest a few boroughs away.
I was a skeptic, muttering un-niceties
Under my breath while I moved

boxes twice my girth (a hard thing to imagine)
up and down, up and down staircase steps,
with no end in sight it seemed.
I swear when I get rich,

I’m going to sit in a beach chair
pointing to young, burly gentlemen
that my shit should go a little to the left.
Cocktail in my hand, cigarette in the other.

My body aches from packing my things
into cars and pickup trucks,
I wouldn’t (Well, I Would)
wish it on my seventh grade english teacher

(otherwise known as my worst enemies).
We’ll see what this move does to my psyche,
I’m still not where I’d like to be, but a change of place
could welcome some unforeseen magic.

A short essay on worth

I was speaking with someone today about the purpose of college. We talked about selecting a major only to change our minds halfway through our sophomore year and the hassle of transferring credits. We talked about campus culture and campus groups and making lasting friendships. We wondered aloud if classes outside our major were a money making scam. We talked about a lot of the different factors that make up these little ecosystems and we landed on one idea:

College’s primary function is as a stepping stone in finding a job.

The idea is to build skills that make us better candidates to qualify for a purposeful job that affords us financial security and stability.

When I was a senior in high school, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go to college. The idea of helping starving people in Africa sounded more impactful to me. Maybe I told people I wanted to help the poor out of some misguided sense of importance or a hero complex. I’m sure that was in there somewhere, but more than that, I wanted to “make a difference.”. I wanted my life to matter in the grand scheme of things and my vision was fogged to how the world actually worked, so I still felt like I could shake things up (a bit of sarcasm there).

I decided not to sell all my personal belongings and move continents and instead attended university, like so many of my peers. Classes came easy to me and the subject didn’t seem to matter. Geology, world literature, art history, creative writing, all were met with top grades on my part. I truly enjoyed learning and working hard to master the subject at hand.

Four years passed. High honors were earned. My degree showed up in the mail and that chapter of my life ended. So began the journey of diving off the high dive into the “real world.”

At this very same time, I moved back to connecticut (leaving my solid community in Ohio), my parents divorced, and I experienced my first true manic episode and subsequent hospitalization. Because of the episode, I was forced to leave a job that I had just started (and really enjoyed) teaching P.E. at a private school and tutoring high school students in english.

Seven years have passed since I graduated college at BGSU and to spare a lengthy description of all the downfalls, I’ll just say it like this:

I have never experienced success in work.

There have been jobs that didn’t challenge me at all. Jobs that could have been done by robots. Jobs that I didn’t understand. Jobs I wasn’t passionate about and jobs I’ve had to leave because of mental health woes.

It gives me great insecurity to watch my peers secure work with relative ease, leaving me behind in the proverbial dust. There are countless ways that I feel behind; relationally, financially, in job stability and so on.

During a conversation I had with my father, I broke down, thinking of all these failures: am I ever going to amount to anything?

This is a question we all encounter and there are many like it. Do I have what it takes? Do people respect me? Do I matter?

When I look from 10,000 feet up, I can see that we all matter equally; each affecting the next and accumulating great spheres of influence in a butterfly affect sort of way. But much of the time, I’m not accompanied by that sort of perspective, and instead focus on what is five feet in front of me and right now, I don’t like that five feet so much.

I feel very sleepy a lot of the time because of the medicine I take. Depression is something that comes to me often and suicidal thoughts come more than I would care to admit. (It is rather odd when a psychiatrist asks you if you think about harming yourself and you have to come up with a manner of speaking your truth that doesn’t involuntarily land you back in the hospital.)

What I am saying is, there are a lot of factors that have worked against me finding stable employment and I wish I could end this short essay with something that turns the negativity on its head. Something that you could put on a bumper sticker or a cleverly edited social media photo with lense flares and handwritten script. The point of this thought is that: sometimes your truth is enough with no spin; not every sentiment needs to be wrapped in a little bow. Not every story has a silver lining.

I ask myself, ‘will I ever amount to anything’ many times a day. From my perspective right now, I’m still not sure. Perhaps you can relate.

What heaven’s customer service angels sound like

I’m quite sorry ma’am, but there’s been a mistake in how much broken you were handed. It makes sense now, doesn’t it? Yes, yes too much broken, I understand completely.

It’s an egregious error, I agree. What’s that, dear? No, I’m afraid we can’t start the whole thing over from the beginning.

Yes, I agree that does sound rather nice. But I’m afraid the wheels are already in motion. Yes, yes we can’t rightly stop the ride now, it would be too jarring for the rest of the customers.

I know, my dear, it is very unfair. We cannot begin to explain how sorry we are for the mistake; truly. That amount of broken is usually reserved for our most surly customers.

Yes, I can call down to the main desk and see if any refund is in order. Why, I’m sure we can offer a complimentary fruit basket, wouldn’t that be nice?

Oh, I see, nice only goes so far this time round. Well … sure … I’ll see what my superior can do, but I must remind you how busy he is this time of year.

I know my dear, but please bare with us, we’ll have this turned right side up in no time. Forty years is too much time passed? Why yes, my thoughts exactly.

We’ll put our best men on this job. Nothing a few days in the sun can’t fix, am I right? Thank you again for staying with us. We appreciate your business.

Depth Charges

A submarine sinks down to the bottom of the darkest depth, but it is not sunk.

It will overcome the trench, bringing with it, articles from the bottom that we would like to examine further.

Articles from the darkest place, a place that no light has ever touched.

Be like the submarine.

Go to the dark place, all the while protected from the intense pressure.

But also, be like the submarine, do not be overcome by the dark and return to the surface with perspective.

Into the Infinite

 

Whatever is bad in your life,
Whatever is hurtful,
And broken,
And painful,
And sad,
And evil,

I hope goodness will come
and replace the bad things
with their counterpart in hope;
gathering up all those wrong entities
and releasing them into the ether.

The bad things will try
and make their way back
into your life. Unfortunately,
you will let them at times.
But try and remember how
light hope is to hold; like a
sweater over your shoulders
and not much more.

Hope has this soft quality too
and it helps you see clearly for
what feels like the first time.

It is like a gentle reset; a
calibration that is neither painful nor
harsh. More like fine tuning the
gears of an elaborate wrist watch.

When the wrong things cover
your field of vision, all you can see
is straight ahead. Everything is clouded;
murky.

When hope fills your eyes, things are
crisp and precise; you can see the
infinite.

I want you to see into the infinite
with me. If you feel you are ready
and that you are safe, I can show you.

Trazodone Kids

Go to sleep
Go to sleep
Little trazodone kids

Your dreams are calling
Whispering soft stuff
About a nice, quiet end

To self harm scars –
Replacing that bad
With cloudlike good

Go to sleep
Go to sleep
Little medicated ones

There is a day coming
When monsters like depression
Are slayed by a great warrior

One who is cloaked in light
And brings the sun
Into each new dawn

Go to sleep