You are a sunburn; you came with happy times spent in sunny days, and you left me with the coming of autumn and the bright orange leaves. So were you ever really there? Will I have any physical reminders of your love on my person? I once heard that every cell in our entire body is destroyed and replaced every seven years. So in a short seven years I will have a body that you will have never touched… and that thought is both beautiful and the saddest fucking thing I have ever heard.
You know, I don’t want to feel like this. I don’t want to keep waking up in physical pain, throwing up my future all over my bathroom floor, replacing my bath rugs on a weekly basis. It’s not fun, and it makes me feel nothing. I don’t want to be nothing, but what else is there? I have to ask, because writing about it, saying it, screaming it out loud in my car at 3AM doesn’t make any other feelings come out.
I must have been happy.
It’s impossible that I could have lived over 25 years if all I ever felt was this.
But what is that feeling? I’d settle for unchecked rage at the world at large, or an unbearable guilt for the dreams I’ve abandoned. I’d take a million tears, a million crushed hearts, a million more minutes of my fall from the top to this bottom. I’d take any feeling, anything to wake me up, to make me feel… I just want to feel something…
It’s never as bad as I think it is, until I take another look in the mirror. My stomach transforms into a pretzel as the realization “I can always get worse” really begins to sink in. The old scars are so faint now that if I avoid bright lights nobody could even see them. I still make an effort to wear long sleeves at family gatherings, but if I slip up it wouldn’t result in the immediate recognition of my bullshit habits. But those are only the old scars. Those date back 15 years. They have a long history, but I don’t remember any of it. See, I have the scars, even if they are barely visible, I still have them. Yet I don’t have any of the feelings that allowed me to kick and scratch my way into a lifetime of swimming with my shirt on. I can’t recall a single moment, just a general sense of wanting a way out. And I think that might be what I hate the most. Of all the memorabilia I have accumulated over the years, it’s my scars that remain. I won baseball tournaments, performed in spelling bees, got some of my first poems published when I was 10. I bowled a game over 200, managed to get an Eagle in the District Golf Tournament, and even found the courage to say “I love you” to my highschool girlfriend, and I meant it… I had all of that happen…or at least I think I did… After all this time I have nothing left from those memories but the memories themselves, and when they play in my head, I feel like I’m watching somebody else’s life. I can see it all, in fantastic detail, but I can’t relate to anything I’m seeing. I can’t connect that person I see to the person I am. The only thing I can connect from the past with today are the scars. I can draw a line from each one in order, using how faded they appear to judge how old they are. That map is extensive, traveling the distance from my left ankle up through my right shoulder, ending in a faint crescent on the front of my neck. And I am still adding more lines, treating my skin like a highway, finding the spots where the lines have worn thin and taking the time to add a fresh layer of paint. But this road can’t go on forever. At some point repainting the lines won’t be enough, and the road will be slated for construction. Everything will have to be stripped away, so fresh pavement can be laid, to provide a better path for the future. And I’m certain it’s my time. My road is at its end, and I need to stop redrawing lines and just rip the whole fucking thing to shreds.
I can’t cry anymore. I used to cry driving home every day. I used to cry in the shower, and when I laid down for bed. I turned to drugs and alcohol to numb my mind, so I wouldn’t have a free thought left to drift towards my unpleasant past, or at least the unpleasant past my depression had formed in my head. I cried for a myriad of reasons. I was sad about where I was in my career, feeling like a failure compared to my friends and family. I was angry at my body, because I couldn’t force it to do anything I wanted, yet it forced bite after bite down my throat until I ballooned into a 200lb ball of blubber and despair. I was anxious around anybody, even people I had known all my life; I felt everyone judging me, even though they only wanted to help, and I couldn’t stand feeling so pathetic. I raged on the weekends, wrecking my apartment and getting reprimanded by my landlord. I became a hermit after leaving work, ignoring my phone and burying my guilt in layers of unwashed hoodies, empty pill bottles and half-eaten pizzas. I was disgusted with myself for even trying to find happiness, giving into my desires and finding random partners for hollow sex. None of those were “good” feelings, but they weren’t nothing. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t empty. I told myself I was empty, but I wasn’t empty.
Today I woke up early. It was warm outside for an Ohio October day, so I took a walk. During my walk, I watched the sun break through the trees lining my street, and I saw kids standing on the corner, waiting for the bus, and at least 3 joggers passed me over the course of 10 minutes, and 2 dogs were being walked, and lawn care providers were beginning their days, and when I made it back to my apartment I realized I wasn’t a part of anything. Things were happening all around me; life was happening, but I wasn’t a participant. I saw everything from the outside, because none of it meant anything to me. I should have been upset about this, but I didn’t feel anything. I thought I’d be mad at myself, but I didn’t care. I thought I’d be sad, realizing I had no place in this world, but I didn’t care. I thought I’d swallow a bottle of pills, drown myself in a cold shower, and text my boss an excuse as to why I wouldn’t make it into work this week. But I didn’t care.
I couldn’t feel anything. I could see all the same things, draw all the same conclusions, and land on the appropriate emotion I should be experiencing, but I couldn’t touch those feelings.
I often thought I would end up in such a rage I would accidently throw myself off my balcony, or make a cut so deep I would bleed out in my bathtub. I thought I would feel so sad I would swallow every pill in my cabinets, and let those little medical wonders take me away to a new Hell. I thought I’d drink until I couldn’t speak, and try calling him again, hoping that after all these years he might pick up, just so I could hang up the phone the second he said hello, and a split second later I would put a bullet in my brain without ever telling anybody goodbye.
I thought I would die from those feelings, that all the sorrow and rage would drive me into a corner until I had no choice but to end it all. But I never did. I kept on going, and those feelings kept on flowing through everything that I did. I wasn’t empty, but I was being hollowed out. It took years and years, but I finally see what the end is.
I felt so much that all I wanted to do was die, but that was rooted in a desire to escape, and I wanted to escape because deep down I wanted to live. Now, I don’t care if I die, and that’s rooted in a lack of any desire to live. Dying isn’t an escape, it’s just another path, another way to reach the finish line. I could do it 5, 10, 50 years down the road, and it wouldn’t change a thing. So why bother? It doesn’t matter. Today is as good a day as any, so why not now? Why not make today my final day?
It doesn’t matter, so I might as well just die.
There was nothing I could have done..
~Do you really believe that? That there was nothing you could have done, nothing at all?~
I just wanted to be loved, to feel what love was supposed to be, that forever and always type of love that grows stronger each day, bringing smiles and family and so much warmth…I just wanted a love like that..
~You had it, all of it, and you know you never deserved it, but you got it anyway, you lucky bastard. And now you are blaming fate, destiny, God, for the outcome? You had all the help in the world, and even still, you lost! You lost EVERYTHING!. That’s not destiny, that was YOU! ALL YOU! THAT WAS ALL YOUR FAULT, JUST.. just you..~
So I never could have held onto it, because that’s who I am, huh? I can’t feel comfortable. I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin, seeing the world through my own eyes… So no matter how much the world gave me, I could never, ever, hold on… I couldn’t, I never could have…
~We’re just a pile of excuses; walking, talking human debris. No, we’re even less. We’re less than garbage, less than dirt.. The lowest of the low…We’re truly the definition of a scummy, wasted, worthless existence..~
I want fortune to listen
As I struggle with my speech,
To flinch as the words reveal
Scar after scar.
My words resonate regret,
And as all moisture
Evaporates in my throat,
Every note is coated
In varying shades
Of a screeching rust.
I spent my summer melting,
My autumn fearing another fall.
The new year was a blanket
Of snow and cumbersome guilt.
A spring sun demanded I begin,
But all of my roots were dead,
My branches devoid of green.
So I wasted the Suns generosity;
I still received it’s light,
But without the strength to blossom
It just created a gilded shell.
And that’s it all there is;
I’m just painted gold,
Paper money in the wind;
I hold no value except for
The values others place on me.
So I am buried,
Hiding from any hint of rain
Lest my colors start to bleed.
I’m afraid of the smallest storms,
And nothing, not even time,
Can stop me from withering away.