Category: life

bullets or bitters?

“It feels so much like falling
dying while I wait to die
the fear of something or nothing
lonely empty lie…”

-Flyleaf, Much Like Falling

“I’m on my way to hell,
well I’ve tried
God knows that I’ve tried…”
Brand New, Noro

“When are you leaving here?” a coworker asked me one day.

“5:30,” I replied.

“No, I mean leave leave,” he said.

“Oh.  Whenever I get up enough courage to take that entire bottle of Tylenol I have in my medicine cabinet.”

He just laughed.  “Uh, no, I mean just quitting this job.”

“Well, once that Tylenol has absorbed, that’ll be my resignation.”

He laughed again.  “You’re warped.”

“Yeah…I know.  Hence the Tylenol.”

I was joking.  Mostly.  But even though I was kidding around, it occurred to me that I kid about suicide a lot.  And back before I was moved to a different department,  when I wasn’t busy and the boss was away for the day, I often slipped to the edge of my counter and wrote.  One day, a supervisor came through, saw me, and said, “What are you writing there?”

Without missing a beat, I said, “My suicide note.”  She too laughed and kept walking.  I guess she didn’t take me seriously or maybe my coworkers all laughed out of discomfort.  It makes sense.  I can dish it out to others but I don’t know how I would react if I found someone who could match my morbidity.  I might be a little uncomfortable, too.

I often think about dying, about getting out of this place, out of my skin, shimmying my way out of the mess I have made of my life.  If I’m left too idle, if I’m not distracted by television or music, I think about my life and it horrifies me.  It settles in that this is my life, this is what I’ve become.  It’s hard to realize this is not practice.  I’m not test driving life.  I’m living it and I’m hating it.  When I sit back and really think about where I am and how I’m living, it makes me so despondent.  It’s like, this is really it.  This isn’t a fantasy.  This isn’t a book or a movie where things are comically bad until I win the lottery or fall in love and everything is suddenly wonderful on the series finale.  There are days when I want nothing more than to just get out, you know, to just hit the eject button and be done.

There’s always been a part of me that has longed for death, from being a little boy who prayed to God to kill me in my sleep so I would never have to wake up again to working at the electronic bingo facility a couple of years ago and nearly driving myself off the road.  I got into my car and made the hour and a half trip to and from the job and I often thought about crashing my car into a light pole or tree or even just accelerating as fast as my little Honda would allow until I swerved off the cement and into oblivion.  Maybe I’d lose control and flip.  My neck would snap, my spine would break, my brain would squish between the tree bark and transmission.  Or  maybe I’d just rupture my spleen and be taken to the hospital, stitched up and sent home to face the anger of my parents over totaling my car.

One night, I even tested it.  I gripped the steering wheel tight and pressed down on the accelerator harder and harder.  My heart rate climbed with the speedometer.  I wanted to see how it would feel to become unattached from myself, to witness the process of losing control and separating from my flesh, from my life.  But it only lasted a few moments.  I was too much of a coward to carry on with the crash.  I was not yet prepared.

I knew I’d die one day.  I just never really thought about how I would die.  I wanted to be killed but I never put much effort into thinking I’d be the one to get to do the honors.  But if/when I get to that point, how would I do it?

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you is we

I’m perplexed.

Sometimes I feel like people don’t understand my writing.  One of the reasons I write such long entries is because I try to explain myself so thoroughly so as to be as clear as possible.  As I write, I always try to keep the reader in mind, always try to come up with questions they may have or points they want to bring up and then address those questions/points right there in the entry.

Sometimes I think this helps convey a deeper, more well-rounded comprehension of the topic at hand and other times I think I end up making my thoughts more muddled.  I wonder if, because of the length of my entries, some people just skim to get a general idea of what I’m writing and then throw a note my way, which happens to bring up a point already covered in the entry.  And I get confused because I think to myself, I already covered that.  It can get frustrating sometimes because I second guess myself, wondering if I did indeed properly convey my message.

But then I get notes from diarists who say they can relate, that I wrote exactly what they would have written had they covered the same topic.  And it feels so good.  I think to myself, Hey, I just made a connection there.  It feels good to be able to share a feeling or thought or opinion and even better to know that someone gets it because a lot of the time, I don’t think anyone does.

But that’s a silly way to feel.  I keep struggling to realize that no one is really alone as far as their thoughts and feelings go.  No one has ever felt a unique emotion.  Circumstances and individual experiences will differ, of course, but the feelings are all the same.  We all feel the desire, the hunger, the joy, the fear, the lust, the anticipation.  We’ve all gone through that a time or two (or a million).

When you strip away the backgrounds and upbringings, the religion and the prejudices, we are all alike.  We are all human.  We all bleed the same and love the same and hurt the same.  We are all connected.  We are all each other.  Our differences are minimal in comparison to our similarities.  But it’s those insignificant differences that drive us apart so many times and it helps us to forget that we all want the same stuff.  We all want love.  We all want to be happy.  We all want to be accepted and recognized and it hurts me when I see those who don’t get the recognition they deserve.   

I browse random people’s diaries and Tumblrs and other blog-type social websites and my chest grows heavy with all the pain and despondency I come across.  We’re all hurting to some degree.  We are all lacking something in our lives and I wonder if that’s what’s supposed to drive to keep us going.  What if that pain is supposed to propel us forward?  But it often causes us to back peddle.  Maybe we are meant to keep seeking until we find it is what we are looking for.  But do we ever find it?

It amazes we how we can be so mean to each other when all we want is to feel like we belong, to find someone to love and love us and keep us safe.  You want it and I want it so why is it that I ignore you and you tear me down?  Why do we pull apart when we are each others solution?  We tear at each other and sometimes tear at ourselves.

It seems so simple but I suppose we want it all.  People get so specific about their saviors.  They have to act the perfect way and say just the right thing and look attractive throughout.  There’s been a few occasions where I could have been there for others but I didn’t quite work for them, whether it was physically or emotionally, etc.  I wasn’t a perfect match but I was a good fit. 

Even recently, I reached my hand out to someone only to have it slapped away because it wasn’t manicured enough.  But what else can I do?  I tried.  I won’t continue to seek out someone who doesn’t want my help because I can’t be their “everything.”  There’s a good chance you’ll never find your “everything” in one person.  Isn’t that why humans are social creatures.  To expand their limbs and touch multiple people, to find comfort in one, humor in another?

I couldn’t have made all the pain go away but I could have taken away some of it because I feel that same pain.  We’re all alike, remember?  I knew what the other person didn’t about taking away some of the hurt but it hurt me more knowing they didn’t want to hear it from me because I wasn’t what they were looking for.  It’s pretty typical.  I try to help people and end up hurting more.  And that’s the way it goes with a lot of people.  We try, we genuinely try.  And then get torn apart and so we learn to keep our hands and opinions to ourselves.

The trick is to unhinge our hands from our bodies and reach out again, despite the possibility of more pain, despite the fear of rejection.  We can assuage the agony so why don’t we?  What holds us back?  Someone else’s standards?  Our own?  It makes no sense to stand in a room full of people starved of love and keep our distance with our arms folded across our chests so tight like a flesh and bone straight jacket.

We have hurt ourselves.  We have hurt each other.  We fire off words and weary like machine guns.  We spread the blood and debasement like finger paint.  We don’t hug.  We don’t help.  We only condition each other to hurt.

We are not monsters.  We are not animals.  We are humans.  With fragile hearts.  With fragile heads.  And the pain sets in and fogs everything until we lash inward and outward.  We separate from each other when we should pull toward each other.  It makes so much sense but it’s the hardest thing in the world.    

dead alive

“All I want is to feel alive, but I’m dying on the inside
And I’ve wasted all my time just waiting…

Attack! Attack!, Honesty

“They’re not dead exactly.  They’re just…sort of rotting.”
-Dead Alive

Does anyone ever become completely hollow?  Who ever reaches that point and what becomes of them afterward?  I often wonder what has become of me and if I still have some emptying out to do.  It feels like every time I have nothing left to lose, something comes around and takes more from me, whether it be my job situation, losing my looks and my faith or struggling to just feel good enough to mean something to someone.  Have I finally been hollowed out and if not, how much farther until I fall?

Lately, I’ve been vaguely away of something stirring inside me.  It’s not quite a heartbeat but perhaps the hope for one.  It’s a residual pumping of blood and better times that echo inside the wasteland of my ribcage.  It’s a feeling of skin splitting from sinew, a separation of flesh.  It’s an aching in the bones like something gestating.

Have you ever felt simultaneously dead and alive, like your heart is pumping mud and your lungs are housing stale air?  That’s where I am.  There are days when I want nothing more than to complete my macabre metamorphosis and rest in the dirt and then there are days when I feel it’s possible to come alive again.

And there are days I actually want to.

But all of this back and forth between bereavement and breathing makes me feel bipolar.  I’m tired of my body being blurred between the black and the brightness.  It’s annoying and another testament to my indecisiveness.  I can’t even decide if I’m dead or just depressed.

When I came out as a cadaver, I felt like I needed to make a statement, like I needed to do something drastic to make a proclamation of some sort, to let the world know my pain.  After I graduated and realized my post college plans weren’t going to pan out, I gained sixty pounds and felt like garbage about myself and my life.  And so I said I was dead because it felt good to at least define my depression.  It was something I could label, something I could own and put away in a nice little box.  It wasn’t messy like my situation was, like my head was.  Going undercover as a cadaver felt clean and sanitized like an embalming.  It was almost like a catch all clarification for my condition. 

I thought if I declared myself dead, it would help me get a handle on all the pain, that I could make some sense of it and possibly come to terms with it.  But that just wasn’t the case.  I’ve been under the guise of a ghoul for about three years now and nothing has really changed.  If anything, prematurely declaring my demise has put a pause to any progression or putrification I might have otherwise endured.  Maybe in an effort to help myself, I only made things worse.  It’s entirely possible.  I tend to do that often.

But the pain persisted so how dead could I have been?  As closed off as I was and as comfortable as I thought I was with it, there was the smallest part of me that still longed for life, for laughter, for feeling something else other than atrophy.  And I still felt pain, still felt the ache of life crumbling me through and through.

But there was something else.  When I looked inside myself, I could see past the collapsed veins and lethargic ligaments.  There was potential there.  There was good inside.  There was a boy who had taken the brunt of the world’s beatings to protect a heart he felt was special enough to see the light of day once more.

I’m a mess and I’m often selfish and lazy and judgmental.  I’m stuck in a dead-end job and have to put up with people with bad attitudes and body odor on an almost daily basis.  I long for better people and places and they are all out of my reach.  I’m trapped by money restrictions and bad decisions.  But I have a different perspective on things and a mind that works uniquely from the people who surround me.  And that doesn’t make me better.  It just let’s me know I don’t belong.  And it’s frustrating because I feel like such an outcast but it’s also encouraging because it reminds me that I am not like the closed-minded people who live here. 

As bitter as I am and as much as I dislike people in general, I still wish everyone would just get along.  I don’t understand why people have to fight and be violent and feel the need to be right all the time.  Why is there racism and homophobia?  Why does one person need to have power over another, whether it be the power to tell someone else who to love or how to worship or that they have to worship at all? 

Although I mostly limped around lifeless, being dead did have its advantages.  I was able to step back from the living and observe them in all their idiocy.  I saw all the hatred and politics and bloodshed over oil and money and once again, power.  I saw the bullying and the self-harm and the cruelty to animals and the neglected children and the abused families.  I saw the rich and famous and indulgent throw away money while their neighbors starved.  I saw the addiction to sex and money and drugs and food.  I saw the inner pain that projected outward and manifested in violence toward anything.  I saw how people made themselves feel better by hurting others.  I saw synthetic solutions and temporary relief before suffering set in again.

I saw the people who used God as an excuse to hate and kill and oppress.  I saw the people who blamed the devil for their devious actions and I noticed they never once took any personal accountability for anything.  It was always another force or feeling that called them to action.  I saw God shake his head in sadness over those who perverted his teachings.  And I shook my head wondering how so many people could have gotten God’s message so mixed up:  love every one, every where, all the time.  It wasn’t that hard of a concept.

And that lack of love was partly how I ended up dead and floating outside the fringe of the world.  I have to also take credit for taking my life as well.  I prepared the noose and the world pushed me off the chair and consequently, I snapped.

But I’m close to coming back.

I always thought I’d resuscitate at some point.  I just wasn’t sure how it would happen.  I always envisioned this grand epiphany, that suddenly I’d feel a surge of blood as my body was brought back from the brink of eternal entropy.  I thought I’d find a great job or a special someone who would help the heart beat again.  I thought I’d gain valuable knowledge or find an inner peace that would propel me back from expiration.   

Instead, it feels like I’ve quietly stepped back inside myself.  I always thought there would be more fanfare and less humming of a fan.  I always thought the moment would be bigger, special, joyous.  And it’s not.  And I wonder if that’s because I’m not entirely enthused to be back in the world of the living.  Maybe I wasn’t ready to be bodily again.  In fact, there were days when I reveled in my rotting, days when I ran the gamut from believing I could breath again to wanting to finalize my death.

But for whatever reason, I’m mostly alive again, mostly because being dead just wasn’t all that beneficial to me.  I think it’s also because of everything I’ve witnessed and everything I’ve thought about and everything I’ve endured.  I’m no genius and I’m not even special but I have something to say, damn it, and more than ever, I have the tools to say those things and to share them with a wide variety of people. 

And maybe the only reason I came back is to share what I’ve seen and learned, to point out not only other people’s flaws and ineptitude but my own as well, in hopes that calling it out will cause change.  I don’t know if it’s true but I’d like to believe I’m not so insignificant as to just burn out without leaving some kind of black mark somewhere. 

But I’m not ready to give up my ghost just yet.  I might be mostly alive but there’s still a part of me that lingers near the limestone graveyard.  There’s still a part of me that seeks to finalize my death.  There’s still a part of me that feels meaningless.  There’s still a part of me that’s rotting. 

And I wonder if I’m any better off being alive.  I don’t feel much different.  I don’t feel connected to the world or people and I don’t feel like I’ve learned much.  But maybe this is just the first step in a long process of integrating back into a population with a pulse.  Maybe that good job and/or good person will come around who will set off those sparks or maybe I’ll be my own flint.  Maybe it’ll take some recognition or accolades.  Maybe it’ll just take someone telling me they love me.

I am not entirely here and I am not entirely there.  I just am.

“I am.  I am.  I am.” 

But I am not out of the woods just yet.

The heart is still too dark to beat.

Karma Chameleon II

It’s not that I wish misfortune on anyone.  It just makes me feel better when it happens.

I tend to focus on the negative when it comes to myself.  That’s nothing new.  What you might not know is that I also tend to focus on the positive things in everyone else’s lives.  I always see how much better other people have it in relation to my own circumstances.  If only I could be rich or thin like them.  It doesn’t matter that their parents were abusive or that they might have a drug problem.  Nah, I don’t think about that as much.  And it’s weird because I should focus on the positives in my life but I guess I just take the positives for granted, as if they will always be there.  I’m not naive, I know they won’t be but I see them as my safety, my security blanket at all times and to imagine those positive aspects missing would be like imagining I had no forehead.  It’s just there and will always be.  Except, it won’t.  But I don’t think like that.

And when I see something not so good happen to someone who usually succeeds at everything, I admit that I do feel a small rush.  And it’s not so much that I feel good that someone else is hurting, just that life is balancing things out.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s simply universal.

I feel that human beings have this innate sense of right and wrong, of balance, of justice.  I could be wrong but I think, deep down, we all kind of have this moral compass.  Whether we allow ourselves to be guided by the compass remains up to us.  But it’s there, willing to lead us.  It’s not that we expect our lives to work out wonderfully, and if we do, we are corrected pronto.  But, we do feel like there should be some sense of right and wrong, good and bad.  Things get a little messed up when things don’t go that way.  Naturally, if things are going great for us, we won’t speak up and wonder why.  We take it and love it.  To speak out against such blessings would be like that annoying kid in middle school who would pipe up and remind the teacher that they forgot to take up the homework from the night before that no one did.  I always hated that kid.  When things are consistently bad, however, we’ll definitely chime in and wonder what’s up. 

And I think we all have this sense of justice because justice is balance.  If someone does something wrong, they are punished.  They did something bad and now something bad happens to them to balance things out.  And that balance doesn’t even have to apply to someone who does something good or bad.  This balance could be applied to someone who was born rich or someone who never gains weight.  Someone who’s really smart might be ugly and someone who’s very successful might have a receding hairline.  And we all need that kind of balance because it helps us to move on.  Balance keeps us moving.  If there was no balance in life, bad to even out the good, good to cancel out the bad, there would be no reason to live.  If we knew that life was just always going to be good to certain individuals and always bad for others, then what kind of hope do the unfortunate have?  If you were to know that your life would never get any better, if you were destined to be depressed, would you bother getting out of bed every day knowing that no matter how hard you tried, you’d never make it?  I know I’d probably just off myself right then.  And I think that’s why we all feel like there should be balance in the world because if we didn’t have that feeling ingrained in us, half the population would be omitted due to suicide.

I know this guy.  He has a life I would like.  He makes good money and lives in a bigger city with more opportunity and culture and he has had many people who have loved him.  But, he was born into a bad family life.  His father left his mother when he was a child.  His mother then went through a phase of bringing home bad men and basically ignored her children so she could recapture her youth.  His sister became addicted to drugs.  But, he’s fine now.  Things were bad for him when he was young but now that he’s an adult, he’s doing okay for himself.  And I guess that might be his balance.  Maybe he looks at me and wishes he had the good home life I did.  But, I’m also fat.  There’s my balance. 

I think this is why people believe in God and karma.  God will grant us access to heaven if we are good people and karma will come back to haunt those who are naughty.  And the beauty of these concepts is that we may never witness this justice, this balance, while we are on this earth.  It might take crossing over to finally get the good that we “deserve.”  This kind of faith also keeps people going, even under the most dire circumstances.  If someone ever gets to the point where he or she realizes that life will never get better, that person can look to the afterlife for happiness.  Simultaneously, it’s frustrating when people aren’t punished for their bad deeds, at least not in this life.  People who kill others and get away with it might go to hell but the friends and families of the victim will never know this.  And people who have wronged you might do their damage and then leave your life and move on and become successful.  Or maybe they’ll become destitute.  You’ll never know, you’ll never have your sense of balance because it might not come any time soon.  And I suppose that’s where faith kicks in.  You have to have faith that your God will punish the wicked and reward the good.  And the more I think about it, the more I think some people use God and karma to soothe themselves, to make themselves feel better about certain situations.  I almost feel like God and karma are more like concepts that people cling to to give themselves hope that something better will come along someday.  Because, if not, what’s the alternative?

I think this sense of balance is why many people are so obsessed with celebrity scandal.  As previously mentioned, it’s not so much that anyone personally wishes anything bad to happen to someone famous.  It’s just the fact that when someone is more rich and recognized and powerful than they will ever be and they finally flop in some kind of way, that’s the balance taking effect.  People feel better because they see that money and power can’t get rid of every problem.  It grounds celebrities and makes common people feel better.   

It’s also kind of funny how limited the faith in the concept of balance can be.  At least for me.  As of right now, I have pretty much given up any kind of hope for a good life.  I know that’s very groan-inducing but I can’t help how I feel, ya know.  It’s been a slow transition but now it’s finally sinking in that I’ll probably never be anything more than struggling white trash.  I’ve worked so hard all of my life to do the right things i hopes that all of my goodwill would be rewarded but it hasn’t and I don’t think it ever will be.  The funny thing is I could win the lottery tomorrow or fall in love a year from now.  But, I can’t see past my own misery.  I don’t have that faith anymore.  I don’t have that hope that God will intervene or karma will kick in.  It’s kind of sad to give up on life at an age when life should just start beginning but I have just been beaten down enough, buried underneath so much emotional catastrophe that I can’t see the light anymore.

For me, I don’t believe in karma.  I don’t believe that good people will always be rewarded and I don’t believe that bad people will always be punished.  I see it as one big random spin of the wheel.  I’ve seen bad people succeed and good people suffer.  Good things happen to random people, whether they are good or bad.  Bad things happen to random people, whether they are good or bad.  This is a very dangerous idea to be toying with because it basically grants me permission to be a prick.  I mean, I’m not going to be but I could if I wanted.  If goodness doesn’t matter then why should I spare anyone’s feelings?  Why should I go out of my way to care when no one cares for me?  Obviously, because it’s the right thing to do.  I don’t want to be one of those people who are just nasty to be nasty, who goes out of his way to be mean just because life didn’t treat him kindly.  No, my inner a-hole would only be brought out when prompted.  It’s a side of myself that I’ve always kept well hidden because it wasn’t appropriate to act that way, especially in fear of being galactically steamrolled because of my bad behavior.  Then again, I probably would be anyway.  With my poor circumstances, everyone else in the world could be terrible and get away with it but as soon as I flipped off someone or so much as uttered a swear word I would just be making things worse for myself.  Bad enough things happen to me when I try to be good so I don’t want to risk taking on any more tribulations.

Maybe the most maddening part is that there is no balance.  Life is chaos.  Justice is imperfect.  Karma doesn’t always catch the right guy.  And God works in His own mysterious ways.  So, what is left for us to do but pick up and continue.  But how?  I know that sitting around and waiting for balance is about as likely as waiting around for someone to fall in love with you.  Maybe you have to find your own balance.  The next step is to find out how to do that.  And I haven’t quite made it that far yet.

Post-mortem Misery

“the fire came and went
took everything away
the bruises never heal
i tried to take a breath
to say what wasn’t said
but there is nothing left of me, no
there is nothing left
i wanna believe in someone
i wanna believe in something
i wanna believe that i can love again…”
-Innerpartysystem

I don’t think I can possible adequately articulate how dead I am.  I think a part of that is because I cannot clearly define the moment when my heart stopped beating, when I turned from this naïve, innocent child into the insignificant undead.  There’s not one defining moment where I can stop the tape and say, “Yes!  This is what happened and where it happened and how it happened.  This is where I died and I am justifiably angry about it.  Can’t you see that I have every right to be angry, to be hurt and bruised?”  Maybe it would have been easier if I had been shot or stabbed, if someone else was to blame for my bloodied body but I think that is a part of the problem.  Either I killed myself or simply gave up, allowed my heart to stop beating, to succumb to this weary world.  Is it possible that I could have jumped from that sixth story balcony instead of simply writing about it?  Could I have overdosed on those anti-depressants the girl two doors down from me sneaked into my room one night after I had sobbed in her car?  It’s a hard option to think about, that I could have done this to myself, that I could be responsible for my own walking death, my own version of hell.  No, it’s easier to blame everyone else, to defend my actions because it’s humiliating to be wrong, to make the wrong choice.  I always hated looking stupid.  And I don’t like to think of myself as being weak but apparently I am.  If I could jump ship so easily over something that so many other people would just brush off, what does that say about my character? 

Maybe I’m just a fragile individual.  Is there anything wrong with that?  Is it a character flaw or is it just a natural and differentiating characteristic?  Is it a weakness or is it something that I have allowed to weaken me?  I suppose I’ve never had a reason to be tough and when I had the chance to develop a thicker skin, I allowed that chance to kill me instead.  Hm, what an epiphany.  This certainly doesn’t help my self-esteem. 

It’s as if I’m walking on electric wires sometimes and every once in a while, one of them will dance around like a charmed snake and strike me and the jolt will make my heart beat for just a second.  And in that flash of pain and light, I see God and good people and it kills me one more time when it all disappears again.  I have these days, these moments when I feel like I’m almost alive again or at least feel the yearning to want to be alive.  I think if I can just beat myself in the chest hard enough, if I can grab hold of one of those wires and keep it close to my heart, it will resume its rhythmic throbbing again, that I’ll somehow find my breath and my lungs will expand and my flesh will close up and I will be alive again, that I will be the boy I once knew, that I will not be disgusted with myself anymore.

But those moments are just like those flashes of electricity, few and far between and lasting only in seconds.  Something always comes along to remind me of my madness.  People and their obnoxious behaviors always send me spiraling back into my misery.  I can say for sure that if no one particular person did me in, a whole lot of individuals at least helped me get to the point of saturation.  Well, I say that but it goes back to blaming other people for my problems.  Yes, people suck but that’s just the way it is.  It’s not like anyone in particular had it out for me.  If one person determined my demise, my anger could be justified but in reality, I just ran into real people, people who were flawed and frustrated like I am.  I suppose I can’t blame other people for being imperfect and I can’t blame them for how they project their imperfections.  I was merely a casualty, caught in the crossfire of cussing and crushed dreams.   

It almost seems too easy to have those flashes of life that sometimes circulate through me.  As down as I feel I am, as far deep in the hole as I feel, how is it possible that I can get glimpses of the light?  Is it possible that I’m not as destroyed as I have led myself to believe or am I simply kidding myself by thinking I’ll ever find humanity again?  It seemed like I found myself a corpse overnight and only a few short months later I’m ready to be resuscitated again.  How does that happen?  Shouldn’t death seem a little bit more permanent or does death itself have an expiration date?  Maybe I’m just mistaken, just feeling residual spasms of life?  I guess it just seems hopeless sometimes, to have fallen so far down and to suddenly feel like life is a distant yet distinct actuality.  It really only leads to more confusion.  What am I?  How can I find my way back to where I was when I don’t know where I am now? Am I in some kind of bi-polar purgatory?  Is hell on the horizon or is this hell, this constant back and forth of frustration and frenzy?  If hell is the slow and steadfast dissimilation of the brain, then I am there, roasting in my own regrets.  Or maybe I’m just mistaken.  Am I really dead at all or did I just put myself into some kind of self-induced coma to cope with my ever-decreasing grasp on reality?

I’m just asleep.  Or crazy.  Or dead.  Or all of the above.

It’s as if I’m fighting myself, struggling with whether or not I should give in to this..condition I find myself in or if I should rail against it, to try to break free of these bonds, to fight for breath.  But, if I do, who’s to say I won’t end up right back here in this stain of existence?  Will whatever killed me the first time around come back for seconds?  I think before I can attempt to come alive again, I have to find out what I’ve become or what has been revealed of me.  Was that innocence all an act?  Maybe I have not been transformed, just uncovered.  That is a massively scary thought to digest.  I hope to God it’s not true, that I wasn’t damned from the start.  If I was changed, there’s always the possibility of some sort of reversal but if I was always this way, if this is just who I am, there’s no turning back.  But when I look at my future and all I see is inky black, I want to turn around, want to sprint from the spotty darkness that draws me in.

I’m at a loss.      

Heart in a Headlock

“They can’t touch you. They can’t hear you. But if you can solve the mystery of your own death, then you’ll have the chance to live again.”
-The Invisible

Okay, just what the heck am I doing here?  For a while there, I really lost myself.  It’s not that I ever knew who I was in the first place but there were times when I felt I at least had a grasp on this Brannon person.  It’s sometimes stunning how you can be you, be inside of yourself and live your life and never really even know who you are.  Now, I’m realizing it’s totally possible.  And it felt like just when I was making some progress, just when I was getting to know myself, I changed so drastically that everything I thought to be true turned out to be dead wrong.  I was a stranger inside of myself, therefore I felt uncomfortable and alone, shut out from the familiar and stranded in a foreign body.   

Situations in my life did not turn out how I had hoped.  I thought once I started college, everything would turn around.  I naively thought I’d make friends and be recognized for my art and caring nature and I would find love, peace and satisfaction.  Instead, I was met with heartache, regret and restlessness.  I realized my dream school wasn’t as shiny as they had projected and realized that people weren’t as good as I gave them credit for.  I graduated a bit disenchanted and it only got worse once I moved back home and found myself under the overbearing and controlling nature of my mother.  I was out of school, out of work and eating to ease the boredom and disillusionment.  I stayed inside and away from people and got fatter and fatter, undoing three years of weight loss.  Everything was spiraling out of my control and I felt helpless and powerless.

And so I turned to writing, as I always have, to deal with the mounting messes in my head.  Thus, I started the Everyday Entropy project.  In a lot of ways, it actually started itself.  Everyday Entropy is essentially about me trying to understand, explore, accept and eventually overcome my “death,” which is really just a metaphorical veil for the downward spiral of depression and the trembling transitions I find myself undergoing.  There were several reasons why I chose to write from the perspective of a dead guy.  Firstly, I’ve always been interested in the darker nature of things.  I think anyone that knows me or has read my writing for a while will know this.  And because I’m not really a fascinating person on my own, because my writing isn’t all that interesting, I thought I could try to put a slight spin on the same old boring blog by writing about my rotting.  I don’t know if it’s made things more interesting or pretentious but at least I’m trying here…

I also felt like starting Everyday Entropy fresh out of college would be a great way to chronicle that unsure time that most college graduates find themselves wading through.  You know, what do you with yourself after you’ve been in school for the majority of your life?  It’s time to find a job and possibly move and leave behind your friends and family and try to start a new life for yourself and that’s a huge change and a lot of pressure.  I thought it might be interesting to write about how my post-graduate “afterlife” goes.  I always thought it would be great if my story started out tragically and ended up having a happy ending.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful read, to see me go from some dead dude to somehow finding all of my decomposing dreams come to life?  How gratifying would that be for the reader, and for me as the author of the story?

You can’t get much more alienated than being dead and I’ve always felt pretty alienated from the rest of humanity.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a terrible thing.  Sure, it’s quite lonely but it’s also given me incredible insights.  I’ve always felt on the edge of people, always felt like I’ve never been so involved in anyone that I’ve been able to allow myself to take a few steps back to see the big picture.  As emotional as I am, I’ve always felt I’ve been able to be objective when needed, not afraid to dish out advice that people might not want to hear but would ultimately be beneficial for them.  I’ve never took a friend’s side just because I liked them or blindly agreed with an opinion that I thought was outright wrong.  I’ve always tried to be analytical and see things from both sides.  I’ve been able to put my feelings aside for rationale.  It’s always seemed that things that make the utmost sense to me are completely lost on others.  This has always made me feel different, slightly outcast.  And who’s more outcast than the dead?  I felt like I could explain my thinking better by just saying I was dead.  It gave me a reason for being different, for understanding the things that “living” people could not comprehend.  I was outside of the world, no longer attached and thus able to see things from a different perspective.  I was now on the outside looking in.

Another inspiration for this blog concept is the amazing show, Dead Like Me.  I really liked how the undead character of George saw the world from a different perspective after she died.  It seemed like she understood more about life after she didn’t have one anymore.  It fit my situation perfectly and I adapted that style to my writing.   

I somehow felt like I was being cheated, that life wasn’t fair.  I felt like I had been slapped in the face by the universe.  I’m just a small town boy trying to find happiness, taking a chance on doing what I thought I loved, blindly and naively pushing forward with confidence that it would all work out, that my decisions would be worth it in the end.  How many times do you hear people telling us to follow our dreams?  If you do, you’ll succeed!  So, I did.  I followed my dreams but I didn’t succeed.  I failed.  And I realized that not everyone can do what they love.  It just doesn’t work out that way.  You can love something all day long, have a strong passion for it but if you aren’t good at what you love, you won’t get anywhere.  And even if you’re good, that’s not good enough.  You have to be the best, stand out from the crowd, be marketable.  That happy ending you hear about is mostly crap.  And I found that out the hard way.  I was so traumatized, so hurt, so disappointed and so rejected that I didn’t want to deal anymore.  And because my feelings were in the toilet, I found it a lot easier to just pretend I had no feelings at all, to just be dead so I wouldn’t have to deal.  I chose to reject all emotions and put up a wall of rot, a macabre mask in which I could justify my negativity.  I mean, I’m dead so I have the right to complain, right?  Who wouldn’t be a little upset about that.

And over these few months, I learned that it takes a lot of energy to be dead.  I wonder if that’s why I’m always tired.  Or maybe death doesn’t have anything to do with it at all.  Maybe harboring onto all of this bitterness is what makes me so exhausted.  I think the cranky sadness that I carry in my shriveled heart is probably what keeps me anchored to atrophy.  How can I ascend with all this weary weighing me down?

Sometimes, there are days when I feel I catch a glimpse of life, of a hope for happiness.  It’s ever so brief and fleeting but it temporarily floods my capillaries and makes me twitch.  I have this vision of letting all the hurt go, of tearing it out of me and chucking it as far away from myself as possible.  I fantasize about living.  I fantasize about breathing again, allowing the air to flow through my lungs so as to clear out the cobwebs.  I dream about the blood rushing back into my body.  I dream about my heart being filled.  I dream about the day when I don’t have to act like I’m dead so I can make sense of my life and myself. 

I never meant to stay dead.  I had hoped that one day, things might work out for me, that I would find a good job and move out of my stagnant home life and pull myself out of this hellhole.  I very much wanted to create a life for myself, to become independent and stable.  Then, I’d be able to crawl out of my death shell and rejoin the living, all the while writing about it, chronicling the changes from rolling around in my grave to walking on air.  And with this new job prospect, it seems like I might be able to do that.  Of course, I don’t want to count my corpses before they hatch but I’m hopeful…for the first time in a long time, I’m hopeful.

Even before I received the job offer, there were times when I was tired of being troubled.  I’ve come across a couple of positive people in the last few months and a part of me was inspired to be like them, to be like I used to be.  I wasn’t always so cynical, you know.  In fact, I used to be a really positive person.  Life managed to beat that out of me, though.  But there are days when I miss it, when I miss being hopeful and a good influence on people.  I miss encouraging others.  Now, I can’t find it within myself to be positive for anyone because I just don’t believe in giving people false hopes.  I believed in false hopes and ended up being screwed over royally because of it.  I don’t want to do that to anyone else.  And when I look at these shiny, happy people, there’s another part of me that’s disgusted with them.  How can they be so happy when there’s such misery?  How can they sit there and smile and believe in a future when the future is so foul?  Maybe I’m not so much disgusted with them, but with myself and just jealous that they can still remain positive through everything and I’ve given up so easily.  In reality, I’m not dead.  I’m just weak. 

And so I don’t know where I am right now.  I found a sort of comfort in my coffin but sometimes I do yearn for the light.  There are times when I can remember myself, the way I used to be, the young man that yearned for love and warmth and wanted to touch people through his words and his message, before that message became muddled and tainted.  Is he still somewhere inside, resting underneath the rotting?  If so, how do I reach him?  I’m torn because there’s a part of me that feels like this new version of myself is just a natural progression of what I’m becoming, which is a monster.  And I’m okay with that.  Yet, there’s another part of me that wants to return to romance, to love and life, a part of me that wants to be that kind soul that I once used to be.  I suppose the ultimate question is, which one is my true self?  Although I’m “dead,” I’m still trying to find out who I am, still trying to figure out if I should be a complacent cadaver or reach out for resuscitation.  Who am I?  What am I?  A man or a monster? 

And why does either choice sound so equally terrifying?      

Karma Chameleon

“No good deed goes unpunished.”- Clare Boothe Luce

Story of my effing life.

Isn’t it weird how you can be a nice person, try to always do the right thing, use manners, give to others, etc., and still be hit by a wall of crap? Why is it that the three-fold law only applies to us when we’ve been bad?  Why is it that when we extend our hands to help others, the universe slaps it away?  And more importantly, if we aren’t treated as nicely as we treat others and all of our good deeds are rendered unacknowledged, why do we even bother being nice at all anymore?

I think we can all agree that goodness is subjective.  What’s good to you might or might not be what’s good to me.  Yet, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that killing and stealing and things of that nature are a big no no.  What about premarital sex or underage drinking?  In some people’s eyes, that’s sinful, illegal and morally wrong.  Other people would argue that it’s okay as long as no one gets hurt.  As for me, I’ve always tried to take the “best possible behavior” path.  I never drank or smoked when I was underage.  Heck, I still don’t do any of that now that I’m legal.  Personally, I don’t want to engage in those particular activities because they could lead to trouble and I’m all about staying out of trouble.  And that’s a good thing.  No drugs, no sex, no stealing, no disobeying parents, no bad grades, no swearing.  And once again, that’s subjective.  Most people don’t see those as too terrible but for me, those behaviors themselves might not be so bad but they might lead to something wicked.  So, I avoid them.  That might make me vanilla but it makes me pretty safe.  I’m straight-laced and satisfied.

Yet my life is still in the crapper.  Where is the good stuff I believed to be waiting for me for being a good person? 

Yes, I understand that life doesn’t work that way.  This became crystal clear when I read a quote somewhere that stated “To expect life to treat you fairly because you’re a good person is like expecting a bull not to charge at you because you’re a vegetarian.”  It really clicked for me right then and there when I read that statement.  I guess I never really realized that before.  So, why is that I believed that in the first place? 

I suppose it’s because we have all been conditioned in some way or another to believe that if we are good people, good things will happen to us.  We’ve always been told if we are good little boys and girls that we’ll go to heaven, that Santa will bring us a lot of really awesome presents, that we can go out for ice cream after dinner.  Good behavior=Good life.  Darn, we’ve been lied to.

And it’s not like I’ve been a good boy to get good things or to be rewarded in some way.  I’ve always genuinely liked being good, liked helping people.  I used to genuinely care about people.  It used to swell my heart to help.  I always thought of being compensated for my compassion as a bonus.  Sure, it would be nice if I were given as much as I gave but my main focus was other people’s happiness.  Unfortunately, over the years, I never really saw that same treatment returned to me.  As much as I asked about my friends, they never bothered to ask about me.  As much as I gave my time and energy to others, I never saw them return the favor.  And while I spent my years focusing on the well-being of others, I ignored my own physical and mental health.  My head became overheated and my heart hampered.  And slowly, everything around me began to crumble. 

Cut to me realizing just about all of my friendships were shams and the few genuine relationships I thought I had were slipping away.  My dream school turned out to be a nightmare and I lost control of my weight.  I graduated but my diploma doesn’t mean a thing because I can’t get a good job.  I’m in debt up to my receding hairline and I’m scared to death I’ll never be able to pay off my loans.  I was forced to move back home with one parent who is too controlling and another who is too apathetic.  I was forced to take a crap minimum wage job that I already hate after only a week.  I’m fatter than I’ve been in four years.  I have this lump in my throat that still hasn’t gone away as promised by my doctor.  And overall, I’m sad that I’ve never been able to have a healthy, long lasting friendship with anyone and I’ve never been romantically involved with a girl.  I feel insurmountably lonely and on top of it all, I honestly believe I’m losing my mind.  This is just not how my life was supposed to turn out.

To make matters even more intolerable, several of my former friends have turned into alcoholic sex fiends since high school graduation and they are doing just fine.  One friend is, in my useless opinion, a straight up alcoholic and a sex addict but despite that, he’s got a great job and he’s even moving to New York next year to pursue whatever it is he’s trying to pursue.  He uses people to get what he wants (including me) and he’s unprecedentedly shallow.  And he does drugs on the regular.  He likes to steal as well.  Another former friend turned into a giant ho after high school and has cheated on her boyfriend of two years multiple times.  She also likes to partake in the Patrón and have sex with random guys.  And she’s living it up.  She went on vacation to California this summer while I was having shoddy dental work done.  They’ve both been in long-term relationships in the past, experienced real love and they both seem like they are living the good life of indulgence.

And how can I talk about bad people without mentioning my lovely former roommate, Keith?  He was an epic douche bag but he had his stuff together.  At first he had a girlfriend when I lived with him but after they broke up, he brought girl after girl to our dorm so despite his rudeness toward me, he had game when it came to the ladies.  He often brought his friends over to play Guitar Hero.  Strangely, I liked most of his friends.  They seemed like interesting people and I always wondered why they liked him when he was so mean spirited.  And I remembered how I never had any good freinds despite being sweet as pie.  He was also a musician, which I highly respected.  He had his own band and they actually had a few CDs.  He worked in a recording studio back at his home and he just basically seemed like he had himself and his life figured out.  Sure, he was a giant dick but he knew it and he owned it and he’s never looked back.  I’m sure wherever he is, he’s doing well and probably writing a hate song about me, if he hasn’t already done so.  He’s just another example of someone who can be so cruel to others, so selfish and vain and still be doing well, still be happy.  Of course, I know there is probably some pain behind their closed doors and it would be foolish of me to think that they aren’t getting their own dose of bad karma coming their way but even still, they are having some fun.  They’ve experienced a lot of highs (and not just because they got high) to go along with their lows.  But not me.  It’s always been one low after another.  I sit here, fatter and more miserable than ever and I’m not having any fun, unhealthy or otherwise.  And I’m angry and confused because it’s not fair and I know that being nice doesn’t give you a one way ticket to Happy Village but it should, shouldn’t it?  Doesn’t it seem unfair that in this world of cruelty and killing that someone chooses to spread goodness instead of garbage and yet they keep getting kicked to the floor while those that enforce evil are enjoying their excesses?

It’s not like I sit and wait for good things to happen to me.  I do actively seek them.  I went to my college of choice to be happy.  It took jumping through a lot of hoops and hurdles to get there but I did and I was determined to start my life over and find my happiness.  But it seemed like the universe was determined to keep it from me and everything went wrong.  I actively tried to make friends and they either fizzled out quickly or panned out over time.  I actively tried to find a good job but no one called me back and I was forced to work this minimum wage fiasco and be surrounded by a bunch of thirty-something rednecks for eight hours a day.  I actively tried to make myself look better by losing weight and trying to learn about fashion and grooming and then this lump appears and makes me feel like a freak.  It doesn’t matter what I do, what I say, how I approach something, how positive I try to be, no matter how hard I try to make things work, it all turns to crap.  My nose is sore, not only from the surgery I had this summer, but from door after door of opportunity slamming in my face.

It’s pretty sad how I’ve deteriorated over the years.  Even before my untimely death caused my skin to split and shrivel, I’ve been emotionally decaying.  It’s hard to stay happy and positive when that positivity is consistently burned out by God or the universe or random chance.  It makes me want to give up on trying, to give up on helping others when no one has bothered to help me.  I’ve become a mess because I’ve ignored my own needs and desires to tend to others and it makes me want to shift the focus back on to me.  It seems like the people I know have put themselves first, carved out their own happiness and enjoyed a lot of lewd gratification in the process.  And I think, if they can do it, why shouldn’t I?  Maybe I should just be selfish and not care about others, not worry about their needs or sensitivities.  Maybe I should speak my mind and tell people just what I really think of them.  It would be nice to get that load off of my chest instead of balling it up and burying it.

It’s quite sad, really, how much I’ve changed.  I wasn’t always like this, so intensely bitter, so irrevocably sad and so uncontrollably lost.  Even when I was that depressed little outcast in high school, I still had hope.  I always looked to the future, looked to college to cause a change.  I always looked to others to help me help myself.  I even looked inward and hoped that one day I would get myself figured out, that I would work toward peace.  Life has let me down.  Other people have let me down.  And, of course, I can’t point the finger at everyone and everything else without blaming myself as well.  I’ve definitely let myself down.  It’s me against the world against myself and at times, it feels like those are insurmountable odds.

 Showbread- The Pig (Anorexia Version)
“Why does it seem that all is slipping further from me?
I build and build and reaching up my arms can not reach anything
Give me something, anything
Why is it bleak and barren
Don’t I deserve the world after building building building?
You dangle happiness before me yet keep it out of reach
My well is dry and still I try to fill it up I seek and seek and seek
Nothing lasts except the empty swallowing my soul
But I will rise above this world and I will fill my holes”

Who Nose How the World Goes? (Rethinking Rhinoplasty)

After this whole surgery situation and the hellacious recovery, I just can’t see myself getting a nose job. After I was hit in the nose by that jock while playing a miserable game of volleyball, my nose healed crooked and it’s always bothered me. I have enough facial afflictions without the added nuisance of a gnarled nose. Of course, that nose break is what ultimately led to this surgery. Did I mention that jerk never even apologized? After I got back from the doctor and went back to P.E., everyone noticed that my nose had doubled in size and turned a particularly putrid shade of purple. All the guys in my class asked me what happened and I told them that the dude had fractured my nose. They went back and told him so he came around, looked at my nose and smiled, almost as if he had accomplished something spectacular. I mean, his face didn’t so much express pleasure in actually hurting me, just that kind of dumb mixture of mischief and masculinity. You know how guys are. Any time we can tear something up, we feel good about ourselves.

I could see his inquisitive eyes darting across the swollen landscape of my nose, thinking to himself, “Whoa, I did that? Freaking sweet. All those bench presses are paying off!”

I really don’t like jocks.

At least I got to sit out of P.E. for a while.

If I would have known how horrendous my healing period would be, perhaps I would have considered throwing in the rhinoplasty along with the other two procedures. Like, let’s just get all of this over with and out of the way! Of course, that notion is out of the question because I can’t pay for that right now. It was always something I had imagined I wanted to do in the future after I had secured myself financially and saved up for the procedure. But after that week of hell, I just can’t see having a nose job and going through all of that again, not to mention the recovery will probably be worse ‘cause I’m pretty sure they actually break your nose to reshape it and that will involve a lot of pain and discomfort and black eyes and swelling and bruises and no thank you. I guess that says something about me, right? Maybe I’m not that vain. I’m sure some people wouldn’t care what price they had to pay, out of pain or pocket, to fix themselves up purdy. But not me. Eh, I don’t know, or maybe it’s not so much that I’m not vain but I’m just a huge baby. I’ll either have to come to terms with my Owen Wilson looking beak or I can man up and realize a few weeks of dizzying pain might be worth a lifetime of great looking snout. Given, of course, that there aren’t any complications. It is me we’re talking about, after all.

It’s like the butterfly effect has played out on my face. Who would have known a simple punch to the face in high school would have caused all of this agony all these years later? Fracturing my nose caused my septum to deviate so drastically that it has affected my breathing, sinus drainage and even provoked a long dormant birth defect to come out of hiding and set up shop on my throat. And if you want to talk about proper breathing and how it affects the mind and body, there’s no telling how I’ve been affected. If I never would have had my nose turned into grape jelly, maybe I would have turned out completely different. I would have been able to breathe and have more energy and feel better physically and mentally and emotionally and maybe I would have finally found the motivation to lose all of this weight and gain some confidence and be social. Maybe I’d be a better artist or writer. Maybe I would have done better in school. Maybe I’d be an all around better person.

Eh, I know it’s silly to think such things. Perhaps I’m even being a little bit overdramatic. I tend to get that way but I blame it on the nose. In fact, I’m going to start blaming all of my problems on my nose. Even the paranoia I feel over having had my nose broken can be blamed on the broken nose. Like I said, silly to think such things. There’s no way of knowing how I would have turned out, healthy nose or not. And maybe all of the health benefits of breathing are overall good but not so much that it would completely devastate a person if they had a little blockage in their right nostril. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t getting any air through my nose at all or anything. Although those scans of my skull were quite revealing, showing I was only getting in half the amount of air I should have been. I really wonder if that has contributed to some brain cell death. I gotta blame my life being in shambles on something, right?!

Sometimes I wish I could see that guy again so I can tell him what he did to me. I don’t know how much satisfaction that would bring, though, because he didn’t care about me then and he certainly doesn’t care about, nor even remember me, now. It’s not like he’d fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness, insisting on paying all of my medical and dental bills (’cause, remember, he also chipped my tooth). It’s not like he’d express remorse over his actions. If anything, he’d probably produce that same twinkle in his eye that I saw that day in the locker room when he inspected his handywork and grinned. “Whoa, I did that? I was the cause of all of your years of intense sinus pressure and a disfiguring goiter? Freaking sweet!”

It is weird to wonder about how I might have changed others just like that guy changed me. Simple actions, simple words, simple intentions might have a profound affect on others, whether the results are immediate or don’t manifest until days, months, years later. I like to think I’ve influenced people and hopefully it’s always been for the better. I mean, we all influence others to some degree. I just find it fascinating how I might have left my mark. Was it something I said, did, wrote? What if my mere presence is enough to change someone’s direction? How powerful and powerfully scary is that? When I think of things like that, it definitely makes me want to reevaluate my behaviors and beliefs, especially with the kind of characteristics I’ve been exhibiting lately. You know, it’s all fine and dandy for me to be a Negative Ned but it’s not like I’m trying to push my agenda on anyone else. I definitely don’t encourage people to be as cynical as I am yet I can’t help who I’ve become. I’m trying to get back to that sweet, kind-hearted kid, the boy who believed in love and life, the one who dreamed and felt good about his future. The boy who was alive.

Who nose. Maybe this surgery will just be the impetus I need to make some changes. If it’s true that my downfall happened the day my nose was demolished by some guy’s baseball bat of an elbow, then doesn’t it make sense to think that things could be looking up now that the problem has been corrected? Or is that too much to hope for? Uh oh, there’s that negativity again. That’s why you should never dabble in depression, kids. It can be habit forming. I guess its going to take a lot more than a straightened septum and a week of recovery to shake my cynicism. But, I guess, if everything does have a ripple effect, maybe the surgery has kicked off the current of causation that will eventually evolve me from dead to dapper. And maybe I just haven’t reached the ripple of rethinking yet, that place where I can finally feel good about who I am and what I’m about. Maybe, if I’m patient enough, it’ll all wash over me and I’ll be clear, calmed and cleansed.

Maybe this will be my next big break.

So to speak.

Adventures in Atrophy

There’s probably something you should know about me. It has come to my attention that over the past three years, I died at some point. Apparently, it happened without my knowledge, like some freak accident I didn’t see coming or passing away in my sleep. I suppose it makes sense the way certain situations have pushed me forward throughout these years, how life never bothered to wait for me to catch up and never allowed time for me to figure out I had expired, how it never informed me I wasn’t even a part of this mortal coil, only coiled up in my own cacophony. It has been said the time it takes for a person to figure out they have died is solely dependent on them, based on many factors within themselves, including how attached they were to the world and their own bodies. I think of how obsessed I am with my body, how materialistic I’ve become and it all makes perfect sense. No wonder I never realized I had died. I am still very much sutchured to myself and my mind.

It all came to me after I returned home. Without the weight of school surrounding my shoulders, I was able to find some stability, some sense of rest. And within that rest, the realization of my rigor mortis took place. I realized how sad I still was, how uninterested I was in friends and family, how I’d rather just stay in my room and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of cheap infomercials. As the light from the television pirouetted across my veiled pupils, I understood I was dead. I really thought things would change. I thought things would get better once I left school but I also thought that when I left home. I realize nothing has changed. Nothing has gotten better. If anything, I’ve only begun to rot.

These past three years have emptied me of all emotion. It’s taken away my blood and spine and interest in things I once loved. My heart has been hollowed out and I suspect it was done ventricle by ventricle, valve by valve, one piece at a time until it was nothing more than a shell. And maybe that’s why I never noticed my life slipping from me. It happened so gradually, so subtly. And I was too distracted to notice my shallow breaths, the headaches that I dismissed as stress that was really a lack of oxygen to my head. I died by inches and was too numb to notice.

Now I have two tasks ahead of me: I’ve got to figure out how to pass over and in the meantime, I’ve got to “live” life as a member of the walking dead. I have to coexist with these meat people. I have to hide my withering flesh and put on heirs, pretend to feel and laugh so no one detects my deterioration. And that’s why I’ve chosen to write about my life and death and the place in between that I find myself now. Maybe if I can make sense of what happened, maybe if I can understand myself a bit more, I’ll become less attached, more able to let go of the dream I had for myself. If I can accept that this life is over, if I can come to terms with my turgid body, if I can mend my mind then just maybe I’ll be able to pass over peacefully.

It’s all about unfinished business. It’s all about tying up loose ends. And in my life, I cut out a lot of people, leaving open wounds and seething scabs. And I’ve been cut up a bit myself. By examining these events, hopefully I can understand everyone’s actions. Examination leads to understanding and I can’t move on unless I understand why I’ve been hurt so much, why life took such a drastic turn in the wrong direction and how I let it all happen. I don’t feel anything anymore so I’m not scared to go back to those dark places, to reawaken old memories that have lied dormant in my chest. When it comes to slicing into old scars, I am fearless.

I’m also bitter. I am not bitter that I am dead. I am fine with that. I am bitter at life and I’m bitter at myself for not living the way I should have lived. And maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to cross over. My bitterness has formed an anchor that has weighed me down and kept me from ascending. I have to let it all go.

And that’s why I’m writing about all of this. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to let all of this go. I am dead but I can still feel pangs of residual remorse over my life. I’m ready to find some understanding. I feel I am in a good position to do so. Now that I’m in a state of undeath, I am on the outside looking in. Things seem so much clearer from this angle of atrophy. And I hope by writing about life and death, I’ll open up the minds of others, offering a different way of looking at things. Through my “no pulse” perspectives, I hope that others can find the understanding they are looking for.

Instead of just rotting, I’ll write and I’ll write for as long as my carpals are capable. And maybe I’ve been granted a reprieve from the reaper for a reason. Maybe instead of me understanding that I died, maybe I’m supposed to understand that I lived, that my life wasn’t as pointless as I thought it was. We’re all supposed to have a purpose but I guess I never found mine. Or if I did, I didn’t recognize it. Or maybe my purpose wasn’t designated to life but to death. Maybe that’s why I’m still here despite decomposition.

I’m going to put together my life and death in words. I’m going to craft my existence through poetry and the things I ponder. Along the way, I’m going to post old writings that I still believe to be true, some of my favorite reflections on life, love and humanity…or what’s left of it. Come along for the ride as I chronicle my adventures in atrophy.