Fast Forward

18 Apr

Fast forward is the speed I am most accustomed.

You see, I am terrified.

Terrified of what I’ll miss, what I’ll leave behind.

So, I rush.

I go.

I run.

I flee.

As fast as I possibly can, I navigate through this little thing we all call “life”.

Without hesitation, I leap.

I dodge.

I dash.

I absolutely must find the quickest, most efficient way from Point A to Point B.

Stop and smell the flowers, you say?

Nah.

Those flowers are surely a waste of time.

Sure, I am certain they will undoubtedly amuse me with their ever so intoxicating scent. Their dazzling colors a welcomed distraction from a lifelong race.

But If you even think of actually stopping to experience them, I will leave you standing there alone in that pasture.

You see, I have to go.

I’ve already wasted so much time.

I am convinced I am missing something.

I just wish I knew what it was I was missing.

My Musical Blame Game

31 Aug

Those who know me, know my deep love affair with music. I have written about it on multiple occasions  and have declared my obsession in all the ways I can think of. Hell, my children should thank their lucky stars I didn’t actually name them something crazy like “Treble Clef” or “Turntable”. I mean, could you image their first day of kindergarten?

“Timothy?” the teacher rings out.

“Here!” Timothy replies.

“Talia?” she calls out once again.

“Present!” Talia replies.

“Treble, um, Treble Clef? Is there a Treble Clef present?”

“I’m right here, BITCH!” My son snarkily screams.

Yeah, as awesome as that scenario sounds, I am willing to bet my little Treble Clef would have one hell of a fucked up childhood. Therapy for the win!

Anyway, as we digress into the wild inner workings of my dark and twisted mind, the revelation that sparked the hamster on the wheel that lives inside my cranium the other day was quite profound. Okay, maybe that is a little bit of a stretch. Profound may be way too big of a word for me to comprehend anyway. So let’s just say that my teeny tiny brain figured out something new. Something new, that quite possibly, I have known all along.

Music can lead you to many, many avenues of creativity.

Now, think about that for a minute. We all know that music can present all kinds of muses in an infinite amount of forms. By merely hearing a melody, greatness can occur. Be it an orchestra, an idea for a screenplay, or even the latest design for that fresh pair of kicks you want to sport on that first date.

But alas, I am not talking about muses here. I am not talking about that inspiration brought on by the melodic sounds that grace your eardrum and tickle the neurons in your brain. No, this is actually less deep than that. It’s really quite simple actually.

As I plugged my iPhone into my auxiliary car jack the other day and hit random, I was transported to my usual state of euphoria when I cranked my stereo up past eleven. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, my brain started to think. And as we all know, for me, thinking is usually quite dangerous.

The very first song to spark the subwoofer was Kanye West’s “Blame Game”. As I listened to the lyrics, I mean ACTUALLY LISTENED to the lyrics, something sparked my interest like no other.

“Things used to be, now they not
anything but us is who we are
disguising ourselves as secret lovers
we’ve become public enemies
we walk away like strangers in the street
gon for eternity
we erased one another
so far from where we came
with so much of everything, how do we leave with nothing
lack of visual empathy equates the meaning of L-O-V-E
hatred and attitude tear us entirely”

And as he finished his verse, he did something totally unexpected. He actually cited the author of the words from whom he borrowed. Underneath his breath he muttered the name “Chloe Mitchell“.

Kind of taken back, I was instantly intrigued with who this woman could be. So, as soon as I pulled into work and sat down at my computer, my fingers pounded my keyboard in search of Chloe Mitchell. And what I found was so hauntingly and most definitely the most beautifully harsh love poem I have ever read.

*****

Your Bitter Is My Sweet/Blame Game

Things used to be. Now they’re not. Anything but us is who we are. Disguising ourselves as secret lovers, we’ve become public enemies. We walk away like strangers in the street. Gone for eternity, we erase one another. No phone calls. No sweet text messages. We are mere specs of particles, floating, unknown to our partners’ existence. So far from where we came. With so much of everything, how do we leave with nothing? Lack of visual empathy equates to the meaning of L.O.V.E. Hatred and attitude tear us entirely. We meet at opposite poles and no longer can we bond like love birds to a song or flowers to a Daisy. The air smells of rotten love and burned hearts. We have trashed our over cooked love that now accompanies the bin of deceit. Don’t turn around. Continue walking away. Disappear into that darkness that rests upon your gritty shoulders. Let that dark cloud follow you wherever you go. So long ex-lover. Farewell.

-Chloe Mitchell

Wow. I mean, WOW. I was just astonished by what I had read. Her words struck a chord so deep I actually had goosebumps. If you have ever had a breakup in your life, I am sure you could relate on some level. If not, you’re a lucky one and I pity your delicate soul.

So, without warning, music let me to discover something I never knew existed. It did not inspire me. It did not give me that creative muse like it has done a multitude of times before. No, this time it was different. This time music allowed me to discover someone else’s pain, someone else’s creativity. And I, for one, am so glad it did.

The Planes Of Paper

30 Aug

“Here, daddy.” he says with a devilish grin.

“I made you something.”

As I glance down to see what his tiny palm has in store, I see his eyes light up with the type of joy only a five-year old boy possesses.

“Isn’t it the coolest, dad?”  he says with the pitch and fervor of a used car salesman.

There, clutched in-between his fingers, lies a piece of red construction paper. It’s folded with the finest precision of any origami you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Markings of crayola and assorted superhero stickers adorn each and every side as badges of pride and accomplishment.

As he hands his masterpiece to me, he whispers underneath his breath “Now, be VERY careful with this. I have been working super hard, dad.” At this point, his words were gospel. He had been working feverishly for the last hour on this project. And now it was time for him to taste the fruits of his labor.

“Now, repeat after me.” I told him.

Together, we chanted in perfect harmony.

“1…2…3…”

And with that, his gift to me took flight. His finely constructed paper plane glided through the air just as his intentions hoped it would. With each and every crash landing, he would pick up his creation, make adjustments, and pitch it up into the stratosphere of our living room again and again.

In that very moment, I learned something from my son. He wasn’t just showing me how to fly a paper plane. No, he was teaching me something more profound, more intricate than his brain could conceptualize.

You WILL crash and burn. Over and over again. And there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. But unlike that paper plane that will eventually go into the trash can, you have a choice. You can sit there and wallow in your own pity. You can loathe in your own insecurities. Or even worse, make the decision to never set foot on a plane of any kind again.

Or you can choose a different route, a different flight so to speak. You can get up, straighten your edges, and pilot your own plane, your own path.

As the sounds of my son’s laughter fill my ears, I sit down, grab a piece of my son’s coveted construction paper, and begin to construct my own masterpiece. After all, I’ve had my fair share of the crashes. I’ve had enough of the burning. It’s time to take flight once again. And even if I do crash and burn, I’ll have the know-how, the wherewithal to build a brand new plane. And I have the tiniest aeronautical engineer and the most infectious giggle to thank for teaching me just that.

Part One: The Beginning Of The End

6 Jul

Okay, let’s slow this train down a bit.

Actually, let’s bring it to a screeching halt.

Over the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that the story of my last year or so hasn’t been told in the clearest of ways. As I sit back and read through my entries, my life on virtual paper, I realize, to some, this may be very true.

You see, in order to protect certain individuals involved in my mess of a life, I tend to take a different approach to writing about my everyday happenings and emotions. I do not do this to hide my responsibility for my own actions, but rather to not tell too much of the story and let the reader develop their own sense of relation to what I may be experiencing. In doing so, there have been sentiments and sympathy thrown my way from the best of people. And even though these words of encouragement helped me get through some of the hardest of times, I now realize that certain people may feel that I was not deserving of such kind words and that I was, in fact, playing the victim role when I shouldn’t have been.

Over the past couple of months, there has been a lot of twists and turns in my so-called life. Some have been bad, others have been extremely good. I have hit a new level of honesty with someone that I’ve hurt really bad. And in the interest of opening the book for everyone who has questioned me to see, in interest of keeping a level of honesty so high, I have decided to tell my story as purely and blatantly as possible. This is my attempt to set the record straight, to expunge and dispel any rumors and untruths. Some of you may hate me even more after this. And you know what? That’s okay. I am not doing this for the sake of your comfortableness. I am doing this for me, for her, and for the myriad of others I have hurt, confused, and completely baffled over the last year.

So, here goes nothing. I hope to see you on the other side.

(***Please note: This is my life. This is real. I am not doing this for sympathy or for personal benefit. I am not doing this to look good or to be played up as something I am not. This is my account of events and craziness that this last year has brought. You can do with it as you will.***)

******

Part One: The Beginning of the End

Shortly before the birth of our second child, I started to get really ill. Daily, new and mysterious symptoms would seem to pop up out of nowhere. As any good patient would do, I spent loads of time and money hopping from one specialist to the next. I mean, if they had an “ologist” added to the end of their specialty, I had one, if not two or more appointments scheduled with them. Test after test revealed a bunch of obscure abnormalities, but nothing that fit a bigger picture, nothing that seem to fit any type of diagnosis. On a daily basis, I could feel my mood decline, my happiness seem to sleep almost completely away.

Without a doubt, around this very time, I am convinced this is when a fickle little bitch called “depression” started to take hold. Of course, my wife noticed and urged me to get help. Me, being the alpha-dumbassmotherfucker-male, denied up and down that I was anywhere near that hideous label of being one of those “depressed” folks. I could surely handle these feelings on my own. I sure the hell didn’t need therapy. And medication? Heh. Medication was for the weak. I was NOT weak. I was a man, dammit.

With my mental status and physical status both quickly declining, thoughts of divorce crept into my mind constantly. I mean, I had fleeting thoughts about it before. But they were just that. Fleeting. There one minute and gone the next. What married person hasn’t thought about it one time or another? But this time around, it was different. Those thoughts that were once just an aberration, were now front and center on a daily basis.

At this point, I had been married for over 8 wonderful years. On the outside (and even on the inside) our marriage was rock solid and except for a few revolving issues (which mostly had to do with my emotional unavailability), we were the epitome of a successful marriage. But still, I felt broken inside. I felt like I never could fully open up to her and reciprocate the type of love she deserved. I felt like a coward because I couldn’t tell her what was going on in my mind out of pure and simple fear of hurting her feelings. I mean, what if these feelings all the sudden just went away? Why would I bring them up if they surely would soon disappear? But alas, the cowardice built up inside to a point that it brought another emotion in with it. Hello, guilt. How very nice to meet you.

As the months went on, my health was declining and failing fast. To make matters even more complicated, we now had a newborn in the house with a four year old to boot. Combined with the lack of sleep and an extremely colicy baby, my health was nearing a breaking point. Little did I know, I would be hospitalized soon. And not just for a quick moment either.

For the better part of a month, I was in and out of the hospital. I accumulated a total of 18 days in aggregate being poked with needles, blasted with radiation, and put on every type of intravenous medication known to man. In and out of drug induced consciousness, I could see my wife standing, sitting, sleeping, and watching over me all the while keeping a house together and two kids safe, healthy, and satiated. Not only was this very comforting to me, it was also crushing at the same time. Here is this remarkable woman keeping her vow to me in sickness and I am consumed with thoughts of divorce. Whatever was left of my happiness was wiped clean off the earth at this time. I despised myself. I hated everything I was. I was a fucking loser. I wasn’t a man. I was weak, lost, and above all, a terrible husband. Who could you even think of a divorce after she stood next you rock steady during your worst of times? What a despicable excuse for a human being I had become.

After an EUREKA! moment by a couple of physicians, I was finally released from the hospital and sent home to start my recuperation. As I arrived home and settled in, I was convinced that since we had made it through this toughest time, the thoughts that screamed so loudly in my head, would certainly reverse course and cease to exist. We had, once again, made it through the dark and there had to be nothing but light ahead, right?

But there was never any light coming out of my little tunnel. And being the intuitive, caring wife, she started to notice my attitude had changed. Still, I pressed on. Her questions about my happiness where quickly answered with a wide array of reassurances. For the most part, those reassurances were completely true. You see, I did love her. And I was happy on some levels some of the time. The problem had nothing to do with her. The problem(s) were all self contained. That is, until that night.

As the tears strolled down both of our faces, my mind finally came to terms with what just came blurting out of my mouth.

“I want a divorce.”

After 9 years of marriage, I had just brought down the entire relationship with four words. I felt sick. I wanted to vomit. At that point, I truly wanted to die. My mind swirled as she lashed out in anger and sadness. Throughout our entire marriage, I was hellbent on never making her hurt or sad. I tried my best to always insure there was a smile on her face at all times. But there I was, doing the very thing I promised I would never do. Hurting her was one of my biggest fears. And I was solely responsible for the tears, I was the only one causing the hurt.

That night was one of the worst nights of my life. My heart still pounds and my hands still shake when I think about it. A lot of people think that once you ask for a divorce, that’s it, that’s all there is. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Reality hits you harder than you ever thought possible. The hatred, the loathing, and the fear quickly invade whatever emotional vacancies you have left. Nobody ever wakes up wanting to voluntarily hurt the one they love.  I, for one, never thought I would be that guy.

But I was.

And unfortunately, this was only the beginning to the end.

(To be continued…)

What My Dreams Have Become

14 Jun

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach the moment your body jerks awake from a bad daydream?

You know what I am talking about.

The kind of daydream you would only experience right smack dab in the middle of fourth period your sophomore year in high school.

The kind of dream that jolts you so hard, each and every appendage flails about as if you suddenly were the recipient of some archaic form of electroshock therapy.

The kind of dream that instantly makes your blood pressure skyrocket and your control of normal bodily functions all but cease to exist.

The kind of dream that combines all your greatest fears into one, mimicking and cloning all your secret worst case scenarios you haven’t told one single soul about on this earth.

As secret as these scenarios might be to the outside world, to your brain, they aren’t a secret at all. Not even a little bit. See, your brain knows you. And it knows you well. It has the ability to prey and feed on all your worst fears and insecurities no matter how laughable or valid they might be. Around each corner lurks another threat drummed up by your mind to taunt and horrify you. Finally, your body’s natural self-preservation mechanisms kick in and you find yourself the subject of ridicule and jokes by your friends for being that kid that fell asleep so hard in algebra, he actually slobbered all over his desk and screamed like a little girl as his brain finally allowed him to come to his senses.

As embarrassing as that sounds, that’s what is supposed to happen. Deep down, your body shuts off that threat your mind concocted and hands you back, for better or for worse, over to reality. But what happens if you never fully wake up? What if your mind still wreaks havoc on your soul although you are actually awake? Or even worse, what if what you thought was actually just one repetitiously brutal and terrifying dream was, in reality, nothing but your only known normalcy?

For the past year and half, I have been living in this nightmarish state of mind. Each and every single one of my fears and insecurities have been laid out for my brain to fiddle and fondle with unabashed recklessness. You see, my mind knows me. Over the years, it has grown, evolved, and even invented new and interesting ways to tease and shame. My brain, without a doubt, will always be at the finish line waiting for me to chug along and catch up. No matter how clever I think I may be, I will never be able to outwit it. I’ll never be able to out run it.

So, with each and every day my head lifts off of my pillow as the sun rises in the sky, I will myself to wake up. I will myself to stop dreaming. I do everything within my power to shout, fight, scratch, and overcome. But alas, there’s no use. Because this is not a dream. This is my life. And I have all but given up looking for the alarm clock.

Your Words, Your Melodies

11 May

You and I go way back.

As far as I can remember, you’ve been there right smack-dab next to me.

On my first day of school, you were there to cheer me up when I was just a scared and timid little boy.

As the summertime breeze blew through that window of that old station wagon my mother drove, you were there filling the air with your words, your melodies.

It was you that soothed my soul as I sat and watched a frail 50-year-old man become one with the earth and make his peace with god.

You were the shoulder I cried on when the 17-year-old version of myself was convinced he would never love again.

It was your touch, your lyric that kept that 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl safe and happy as they waited patiently for their mother to return home from diligently working triple shift after triple shift to provide for her own.

It was you that stood by me as I watched my own two children come into this world.

It was your skill, your precision that all but single-handedly pulled me out of that hospital bed a year ago.

Never wavering, you’ve stood by my side through the toughest of times.

You have always been that light at the end of the tunnel.

You have always been the life of every party.

Always a conundrum and forever a walking, talking contradiction, you were always the most popular, yet one of the most nomadic of outcasts.

I’ve cursed you. I’ve praised you. I’ve loved you. And I’ve hated you.

I’ve abandoned you for months on end, but that never once bothered you or made you feel anything less for me.

You can bring me to tears with a single word. You and only you can put a smile on my face and change my whole outlook on life.

Our love affair has been passionate to say the least. But one thing is for certain. I will always have you and you will always have me. I couldn’t get rid of you if I tried. You wouldn’t let me. And for that, I will always be thankful.

So, take a bow. You deserve all the recognition you can get.

Thank you for always being there, Music. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

A Techno Kind Of Night

19 Apr

This last weekend, I had the privilege of hanging out with some of the finest DJs the Midwest has to offer. The crews over at PhulPhunk and Kansas City Techno got together and put on one hell of a free show for the internets. Come and take a look at just a few of the snapshots I took that night.

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