The Ass In The Field

Pinwheel, Mallorca, Metal, Wheel, Wind, Wind Energy

Hey Gang!

I was driving home and listening to music at an unreasonably high volume this weekend. I saw multiple things around me that caught my attention: I saw a woman picking her nose, a flock of geese narrowly miss a semi, and the poor mangled body of an old deer. I saw these things and really took no notice expect if they were funny, sad, or cringe-worthy but there was one thing that stood out so strangely to me that I have been holding on to it for the past few days.

I looked to my right and there was this small farm. A large, gated pasture was on the hill as it sloped down beyond the horizon. The sun was setting and it gave the verdant grass a shimmer that was breathtaking. Patched with white and brown, cows grazed looking in different areas. They all had their backs turned towards one central character: an ass, or donkey for the lay person. The ass stood there completely still. His statuesque nature bewildered me. What was he doing there? Among the sea of cows where they took no notice, what was he to gain from being there?

I went home and began helping my mother with moving. Unfortunately, she fell and broke her arm. I called 911 and they took her to the hospital, which brings me back to the days when hospital visits were an everyday occurrence for me. That same sterile smell, the back hall conversations nurses have that you overhear, the way nurses chew their gum like rabbits chew their cud. It was all so similar, yet different.

I sat with my aunt while my mother wept from pain. I tried to be there for her but she has become so different from the woman who told me not to cry when I get hurt, to be tough. Now she is so fragile and I realize that maybe we are who we pretend to be to others but in our depths that surface when pain and pleasure are at stake are the realities.

I wonder when I will break as my aunt yammers on about her issues. It is a repetitive damning thing to visit with her. It is hell at its finest as she repeats the same story over the past five years: My cousin is in treatment for another breakdown, he has tried [insert highly addictive drug of choice here] and is now unable to control his bipolar, she is having a nervous breakdown because he doesn’t think about her and her feelings, her body aches, she is a godsend, she helps everyone, she is a martyr, she is going to have a seizure, she forgets to have a seizure, she lies, she cons, she is.

Afterwards we come back to the city where I currently am and it is a major ordeal. My mother is high on pain meds and wants to drive, my aunt is upset because I won’t chauffer her around the middle of the state to get my cousin as well as drive her to my mother’s new house. My aunt becomes huffy. My mother cries out in pain, my aunt somehow becomes ill as well. She has an asthma attack and begins to dry heave because a breeze blew, or something of that nature.

I finally get home and Eleanor Rigby, my puppy, has violently chewed on my shoes, Blu-ray of “Funny People” and “Where The Wild Things Are”, and somehow managed to turn the house into a disaster area. I believe I saw a guy from FEMA in my back room but I can’t be sure.

The funny thing about “Funny People” is that it was about people who were funny not being funny. People that are supposed to be one thing but violate our expectations and act like someone other than whom we thought they were: funny people.

I get my mother to lay down and she drifts to sleep. I go to my room as well and begin to drift, but I have a realization. I am an ass, probably in more sense than I mean here. I am not an ass, I am THE ass. The one in the field. I get why he was unnoticed by the cows and didn’t do as the cows do. It was because he realized that they do cow things and he was an ass. However, what is an ass to do when there are no other asses around. What happens when an ass is surrounded by cows?

You stand still.

You stand alone.

You think.

You drift.

You lament.

You realize that you completely and wholly exist but outside of this fenced in yard with all the cows that graze.

You just are.

In the middle of the weres and going-to-bes, you just are.

-Chris

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I’ll Bet

Hey Gang!

I was walking home not too long ago and I couldn’t help but be incredibly frustrated. I had multiple papers due in a few weeks, my house was in disarray thanks to my rambunctious puppy and I had little time to do anything but attend work, class, and sleep. I was spent.

I couldn’t help but think what life would be like had I taken the road less travelled, so to speak. I imagined if all those years ago I had moved on with the silly thoughts of college.

There is a concept of a multiverse, which basically says that when you pull back out of the cosmos there are parallel universes that we tend to inhabit. So right now there is a different version of me somewhere out there.

I’ll bet he is wearing a heavy flannel jacket somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. He is standing at the edge of a wooden dock that sways and creaks with every swirl of water beneath it. Trees reach into the sky all around the large hidden lake. This secret kept so well by time and nature. He looks out and takes a sip of his coffee early in the chilly morning. The smell of dark roasted coffee beans stinging his nose. He seems so small compared to his surrounding but he understands that they dance for him. They sway for him.

His own private show in these quiet hours.

I’ll bet he finishes his coffee and goes back inside where his wife is finally up. She sits reading the paper in one of his old shirts and a pair of shorts. She is concentrating so hard on whatever it is that she is reading that she doesn’t even realize he has come in.

He kisses her on top of the head and wishes her a good morning as she turns her face towards his with a smile.

I’ll bet he puts the cup in the sink and begins tip-toeing through the old log cabin that he bought years earlier. I’ll bet he is looking for someone.

He turns each corner cautiously until a tiny figure jumps out and screams, “BOO! I got you daddy!”

“Yeah you did, bud,” he exclaims as he hoists the tiny young man up on his hip.

I’ll bet he takes the young man into the kitchen and sets him in the chair next to his mother. There is a window above the sink where he sees out over the placid lake where fog creeps slowly from the warm water into the cool morning air.

I’ll bet he makes a quick breakfast for his family and then they all go outside.

The young man plays in the yard with a chocolate lab. They run together in zig-zag patterns.

The mother and the other me walk through the woods talking about whether or not they should go to town today, what the weather is like, how it used to be, and maybe about how much they want to have another baby.

The sun rises and sets on this day. The man enjoys a meal he prepared and they all go out onto the same wooden dock as before. The young boy throws a tennis ball into the lake, which signals the dog to sprint off the dock. He retrieves it over and over, always coming back to his tiny companion.

The mother gets cold and decides to go inside. She kisses the other me and heads towards the illuminated log cabin that peeks through the wooded fortress around the home.

Their shadows blend into the dark night and he hears the front door creak shut and latch.

The sounds of bullfrogs croak from somewhere distant. Crickets chirp ethereally from all around. It encompasses him.

He is surrounded and enveloped by nature.

He looks up into the night where millions of stars shine in the sky. Planets cast their technicolored twilight down. Cosmic dust swirls in the depths of space.

After a while, his mind wanders away from this beautiful place filled with such interesting flora and fauna. He begins to wonder what life had been like if things had turned out different.

He loves his family and his life but what if?

I’ll bet he wonders what if he had decided to go to college. I’ll bet he wonders what all of his friends that went off to college are doing right now. Are they married? Are they alive?

I’ll bet he wonders what life would be like to be a little freer. To be able to expand his mind and wrestle with concepts that seems so foreign to most.

He ruminates on this for hours until the cold night sinks to his core and he saunters back into the warm cabin.

I’ll bet he thinks about this until he begins drifting to sleep.

I’ll bet, just before he lets his mind rest for the night, he wonders if I wonder about him as much as he wonders about me.

– Chris

The Fabulous Damned (Part 2)

We are all high.

I think there is a truth about myself and about some others. I would like to think, to some degree, that this is true about everyone. I believe we all want to be natural disasters. We want to be seen as beautiful and ethereal and monstrous at the same time. Ladies, call a fella a ‘big teddy bear’ or some other simile. Gentlemen, call a woman ‘dude’ or ‘man’. These terms set us away from that goal of what we want to be. This is not what I want. Cute names and checking boxes on Facebook delineating our relationship status are far from the perfect, proverbial “one”.

This is far from what we want, I believe. We want what the movies refuse to show. Reality. The fact is, we all want to be beautiful and flawed to someone. No god or goddess. We want to be more than an object or a sedative. Who gets high on us?

I think some people, I finally see this in me, want to be the destroyer and the destroyed. The haunter and the haunted. We crave relief from the banality of Netflix and idle conversation. We want someone with the power to destroy us…but doesn’t.

Why? Why would someone with all this power over you not destroy what you have built? Such power is infectious and dangerous.

So, why?

I believe the answer is because they would destroy themselves. You have as much of that “power” over them as they of you. This symbiotic beauty with breaking and regenerating becomes its own drug . After a while these static things: food, sleep, making others feel so that you can, the ability to emote again; all of that fades. Finally, the chasm fades and you are left with two entities that blessed and cursed with each other. That is what it means to find the one in my eyes. When you realize how much it would destroy you if they left and how much you would destroy them if you did the same.

We believe this does not exist but I still sit at my table. I see all of the patrons around me and I know I am impatient but I still wait. I will always wait until she comes. My great disaster sitting before me.

For those whom this resonates with, you know this all too well.

We are damned to wait. Damned to yearn. Damned to wither without it.

Behold, the Fabulous Damned!

The Fabulous Damned (Part 1)

Hey Gang,

My chrysalis breaks as I emerge from a mental, artistic, and physical slumber. I awake to my own ruin. I have taken a step back from this person I have been over the past few months. I have been on auto pilot. I moved through life and never lived for the longest time. I was just doing what I should do. My writing fell and the entity that craves a voice was lost. I shut myself away from friends and family. It’s funny. Some of the individuals I used to hang out with were asking, “where have you been?!”

I initially shrugged it off by saying how busy I was but now I know that I am not able to say where I have been. A void would be the best way to put it. This chasm, this black hole of nothingness. Depression of a sort. It is this new existence that I find myself in. For the first time in my life I am left with myself. The real me, and it is scary. No isms to speak of around friends or inside jokes. It is an awakening like I have never had before. To look into yourself and see the terrible things that lurked beneath the surface.

I realized some things. I get high quite a bit. No, not on drugs as we know them, but other drugs. Making people laugh, personal success, pleasing others, achieving this, helping with that. I am addicted to a lie. A lie of who I am. I could never be honest with myself until this key stroke. I get a high from a sordid lie that I have bought into my whole life. When I see that this is so blatant, I lament. How could I have not seen this?

I notice something in me that is like the longing for a former love. However, it is in no regard for an individual. More like the yearning for an entity that does not exist. At least not yet, right? In my own little universe, she is not here yet. It is the feeling when you are meeting a friend for lunch and you have your table but your friend is running late. You think, “Where the hell are you?”

I put this into some lock box deep down. I have been on a few dates over the last year that have made me feel more than jaded. It seems like people are so lonely now. I have fought against it because I always thought that if I felt lonely I should not be with someone. It is toxic. In the end, I am lonely but the worst is the void. I enter the void with open arms and willingly. In this vacuous place I call my own there is no room for a beloved. Some narcissistic splendor of wallowing. I am sadist and masochist. I lover and loved. Hater and hated. Two hemispheres that were never meant to interlock have done so.

I separate and I see the reality. I am afraid of being happy. I love this tortured feeling that I feel now. The angst, the wild curiosity that comes with it. I love emoting. These are feelings I have not felt in months. I was carefree. This is a sickening condition. Apathy bathed me and cleansed me of the impurities of emotion. I feel more alive now than ever and what I have realized after speaking with some friends is that my condition is not mine alone.

The Desiderata Part IV: The Inmate

Hey Gang!

Not too long ago I posted about a car accident I was in. Most people don’t know that that happened to me. In real life, that is. Honesty is what I always wanted here and I want to continue that. I feel that I have. The accident left me with a scar on my face. Maybe an inch long. Only noticeable to me but it is there. I wear it.

However, I was also in a wheelchair for about a year. I see pictures now and I don’t see what others see. The pain, the sadness, and the pity seem unwarranted to me. I remember those times. I felt empowered as I pushed my body in this metal-wheeled contraption everywhere. I remember feeling like half of a robot. Basically I was a nerd. Now that I look back it may have been a coping mechanism but I really thing it was ignorance. I was not old enough to understand that I was temporarily disabled. That I was incapacitated somehow. I felt normal and alive. I mean, what other kids got around in a chair with massive wheels. I mastered that thing. I made it mine.

That was a long time ago.

I think back to being confined in the wheelchair. Half of my lower body was in a cast and I saw only opportunity. Only how cool it was to be able to maneuver the chair the way I could. I was unable to see the walls. Those walls we all have around us. They box us in. Each nut and bolt is made from those materials in life that cut deep. The things we learn to live with.

Our cells.

It’s funny in a way, if you think about it. I was imprisoned by my own body. Walk on the street and all around you are prisoners. One inmate is imprisoned by addiction, the other by depression.

Inmate 376590: Imprisoned due to crippling debt.

Inmate 117589: Imprisoned due to the death of a loved one.

Inmate 555639: Imprisoned due to body image issues.

We all have our cells. What about those few? The Andy Dufresnes of the world that are somehow liberated. They seem freer than us. They seem like they have escaped their prison.

We may be held in a cell but we don’t have to be prisoners. I try not to. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes the walls feel closer than ever. Yet, I don’t feel like a prisoner. This cell we all have, we made. It is made up of pieces of ourselves in the deepest recesses. In its entirety, it is supermassive. Monolithic. However, you can move from that cell if you deconstruct it. If you take the pieces apart, you see that the cell was one made of paper and not steel.

That is a secret that I knew as a child. That all children know instinctually.

The free know it as well.

Those paper-thin walls tear away once you realize that they cannot hold the human spirit.

We live in cells, but, when we examine them to see the paper, we are liberated and instead of living we come alive.

Inmates no more.

-Chris

The Desiderata Part III: The End Of The World

 

The Desiderata Part III: The End of the World

 

Hey Gang!

 

I was driving around town running errands on a beautiful morning not too long ago. I had all of the windows down and the music up as my SUV slithered its way around town. It had started out as a bit stressful as I awoke to an email saying that I owed past due on some books I had forgotten to turn in. They were quite late and I must admit I had completely forgotten them on my desk at the office. I scrolled through the list of books I owed for to the total. I was shocked. At most I thought it was going to be 60 dollars. I was wrong.

It was $850.

I immediately jumped out of bed, took a shower, and rode off to return the books. I was in luck because it turns out the librarian was in a good move and waived the astronomic fee. I was also quite proud when I didn’t have to pay for parking either. I remember thinking how lucky I was and how great of a day it was beginning to be. I probably should have played the lottery.

I rented a few movies and headed home. The wind blew through, cool and dry. I felt sheer joy at such a beautiful day.

Just down the street from the rental store is a cemetery. It is quiet and solemn, much like any cemetery should be. Quaint yet incredibly close to civilization. This spot of peace in the middle of organized chaos. I came to the stop light next to the cemetery and my manic joy was halted.

In the cemetery, I saw a large, blue tent and people were lined up around a large chasm with displaced earth just beside it. The awaited the family or maybe they had already left. I was witnessing the beginning or ending of something. Never the middle.

The light turned green and I drove home. The rest of the day was unremarkable. I drank a glass of wine, watched a movie, went to dinner with a friend, and called it a night. A nice, peaceful day, really. Yet, as I always do, I lingered on that cemetery.

I had this song by Skeeter Davis stuck in my head. “End of the World”. It is a great and somewhat haunting track. As with most music it is filled with metaphor and I truly love that. It is about a young woman losing the love of her partner.

“Why do the birds go on singing? / Why do the seas rush to shore,” the siren asks in her mellow voice.

I thought about that hole in the ground. I thought about a family. I thought about a church. I thought about everyone crying. I thought about flowers and a casket. I thought about all of this. I knew all of this.

“Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?”

In a way, it was the end of the world for that family. This person that meant so much to these people is just gone. A light in a room of candles that is snuffed out. The room dims just a bit. It is the cessation of a life with this individual in it. You have to avoid the rooms where they lived in because it is too much. You know they are gone yet their Facebook page still lives on. Pictures of themselves with others. That is over. No more pictures. The world as you knew it with this loved one in it is gone. It is, in a sense, the end of the world. At least the world you create. This place made of so much tangible. An amalgamation of molecules that gather in a way that you love each one and wish you could have them all back. Those cells divide and come back. That smile. Those eyes. That laugh. All gone from this world you now inhabit. Everything about them now begins with “Remember when…”

The same thing happens at the severing of anything. The death of a loved one or a pet. The end of a relationship or an occupation. These disasters tear through our reality and leave us devastated.

“It ended when you said goodbye.”

We are strong.

We are resilient.

We pick up the pieces and move on. We learn to live in the absence of that which we have lost. We live in this brave new world as best we know how.

However, I must contradict my own logic. I never remember anyone whom I have lost. You can’t remember something when you don’t lose it. The storms don’t matter much when your foundation is strong. I try to remember all of those things that we shared, good and bad. I don’t remember those that are gone from my new world because you can only remember what you have forgotten. They live on symbolically in the way they affected me.

They stay alive in you until you let them go. After all, you have that ability to shape and mold this new place.

It may be the end but it is also the beginning.

-Chris

The Desiderata: Part 2

Part II: Air and Beautiful Things

I knew the solution! I knew that I knew it. It came to me when I found a rumor or legend or falsity or truth about Socrates. I am sure many individuals have heard it but it was knew to me. For sake of your eyes, I will paraphrase, hopefully doing the story justice. Socrates was asked by a student what the secret to success was. So, Socrates and the man walked down to a river and waded out until they were up to their necks in water. Socrates then submerged the man and held him there until he turned blue. Then he let the man up. Socrates then asked him when he was under water, just before he broke the surface, what did he want most.

“Air,” the man said.

Socrates continued, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”

So, I had it. I needed it to be more than just a want to write. I needed it to be biological. I needed it to be in my genes. It had to be part of me. I had to eat to live. Sleep to live, Write to live. I finally had success nailed down and thus I had my writing nailed down. Easy!

I grew uninspired even more than ever. I wanted it more than air. To be published. To write the greatest thing I had ever written and damn anyone who didn’t think that my short story was anything short of incredible! I began to become bland where I hated myself even more. I actually bored myself (yes, it is possible!). A few days ago I was shuffling through Barnes and Noble and I decided to go through the writer’s reference section. I ran across titles that all had the secret to becoming a great writer and get published. They knew what Socrates didn’t somehow. They cracked the code! Yet, it was all just words on pages. Until I found a title that was quiet and yet spoke volumes. No get published quick or “write the perfect sentence now!”. No, it was simple: ‘If You Want To Write” by Brenda Ueland. I picked it up and I have been devouring it. It is such a beautiful book because it really is more than a “be a writer” books. It is really about looking at your creative side and then seeing how some of the greatest artists of all time were not the tortured money hungry individuals that so many of us are today. The type of creature I had become. I read it and learned of van Gogh’s impoverished lifestyle and yet how derangedly happy he was until he went insane. The beauty of the stars through his eyes must have been incredible. He painted what he saw and we are only fortunate enough to see a minutia of that. His paintings are worth millions now. However, when he was alive, his income generated by his paintings total was $109.

She started talking about being truthful. I looked at my own truth and I thought about the first thing I ever wrote as an adult. It was an episode of Smallville. It really was terrible. I laugh now. It was bizarro coming back from outer space and this conflict as he made Clark see the true side of himself. I did this for one simple reason. I was a geek. Still am, really. I wrote it for my best friend Ben, most of all. We had always loved that show and I had an idea. He encouraged me to write it because he wanted to read it. I wrote it and he read it and loved it. I decided to begin a few short stories and eventually began writing more and more screenplays. The first two screenplays I ever wrote were simply to entertain my best friend and my mom. They were really just caricatures of us but in the future and with subtle tweaks. All “what if” scenarios.

I smile now as I remember it. I think remembering our roots is a beautiful thing. This is my DE-evolution. I am going back to that idea that I am simply writing for my best friend. No more criticisms needed from critics in papers or individuals at publishing companies. I will write for my best friend and if people decide to publish it, they can. It is nice to know that my harshest critic is also my best friend.

In the end, I think Socrates was right. You do have to want “it” more than air. What I want more than air is to entertain my best friend and hopefully others will enjoy them as well. This is why this series of blogs are called the desiderata or “desired things”. I am going back to the beginning. Telling stories of my DE- evolution and all of these small, beautiful, desired things.

– Chris

The Desiderata: Part 1

Part One: My Disease

Hey Gang!

I must be honest. I suppose what follows in the proceeding posts is really my catharsis. My fall and redemption. I bare myself. In my core I have felt hollow for quite a while. I think it came through my writing when it came to fruition. There was a disjointed feeling when it came to writing this blog. It just wasn’t fun for me any more. I felt as if I had run out of things to say, which my friends know is an extremely hard thing for me to achieve. I was angry with myself. I could not point my finger towards one dastardly reason or another. It was just there. Shut in a room where I actively hide the key. I ignored my craft.

Once, I considered myself a writer before being a human. That was me, first and foremost. I was writing feverishly. I loved that and then came some winter in the life of my writing. It became baron. A wasteland of creative output. I didn’t have writer’s block (which in my opinion doesn’t exists), I had something else. The monster in the room was out and held me prisoner. I was unable to write. I would have great thoughts to bring about and when I sat down, I thought to myself, “This is shit. Complete shit.” I would then walk away. I kept saying that loathsome mantra until it became an infection. My disease that corroded me. I was used and done.

Weeks passed and I began to develop some stories. However, my submissions were rejected and I took it very personally as it was the most personal thing i had ever written. It felt like they were saying that not only was the piece not good enough but that I was not good enough. I crawled into a shell. I was trying so hard to get published. I had ambition out the wazoo yet it wasn’t enough. My disease began to spread with a vengeance. I became fearful of my own laptop. It mocked me.

“You aren’t good enough”

“You’re wasting your time”

“You should give up”

“No one will ever read your work”

“You have failed”

These poisonous mantras continued. That was until a series of events built up to become my antidote.

(continued)

It’s Kind of a Love Story

Hey Gang!

I have had weight issues most of my life. I call them issues because it is not really a problem in the sense that an issue is easier to fix than a problem. You solve a problem but you address an issue. I guess this is the culmination of my address. The one to myself and all of the versions of myself that I have been. All those roads that led to this place. This position where I find myself. But first, let me take a selfie….

Kidding. I do want to go to the beginning.

I was in a terrible car accident when I was four and I had thee unfortunate circumstance of remembering it wholly. The glass and twisting of metal. The ways the car bent around me and compressed my mother’s body. The screams thereafter. It all haunts me to this day. That trigger when you hear screeching tires in the distance that bring you back to that day. These memories in the periphery that somehow engulf us. Mold us and shape us. Molded me. Shaped me.

I got older and I blamed a lot of the crash on myself. Probably because I was only in traction for a year and hold only a two inch scar and yet I see my mother’s scars. That guilt I still have. It caused me to go into a deep depression at around 13 and the way I coped was food. Plain and simple. I ate and got depressed and then ate more. I never wanted to think about that day and that was my coping mechanism. How do you tell someone that they remind you every day that you should be mangled and ripped like them? How do you say to someone, “I am sorry that the crash was so unfair. That you have so much metal in you and I only have a few scars.”

Visible scars I suppose.

It’s funny to think about now. There is this terrible cycle that becomes a part of you. You become depressed. This depression causes you to eat. One day, you see yourself and how much weight you have gained which makes you even more depressed and so you cope by? YOU GUESSED IT!!! EATING! This cycle is one of sadness and disgust but within an individual. There is so much that people whom hate overweight people have to say about it all. They say, “How can you let yourself go?” and things of that nature that somehow suggest portion control. However, it is my contention that being overweight (or underweight) is a symptom to another problem and not the problem itself. Take, for example. during the renaissance, individuals that were overweight were seen as beautiful and important not because being overweight is beautiful but because it was a sign of wealth. You had the money to eat and you did. So you gained weight. The reverse is now a reality. The less money you have the less healthy food is available.

Empathize with me for a moment. You have to pay the bills. You know you have two kids and $650 rent due in a week. You also have the light bill and the cable bill plus gas. You know this leaves $20 for the next two weeks. Do you think buying salmon is a great idea? Do you think buying a large box of quinoa is going to put food in three people’s bellies for two weeks? Or maybe go to mcdonald’s and make it last off the dollar menu.

Being overweight taught me quite a few lessons. I met people whom were completely facade driven. They saw you and made snap judgements. You see how you are judged and you begin to judge yourself. This is commonly known in communication as the “looking-glass self”. I see what the world tells me I am and I did. I looked an saw this overweight beast in the mirror that I did not recognize. Until i was about 23. I started a job that forced me to be in shape. I started losing weight and really started to see something better in the mirror. I started to look in magazines and see these muscular adonis-type figures that were becoming more hallow. This body image was being forced on me by people in a room somewhere in L.A. who thought that this is how I should look.

I hated the way I looked up until then. But then I made a promise to myself. Each week I would look in the mirror and say what I enjoyed about some physical part of me. The first week i said, “I like my eyes. I have nice eyes.” The next week I said, “I like my lips. I have nice lips.” Years go by. I had the support of my friend Nate, luckily, and my adventure continued. I liked more and more of myself. I began working out and eating right. No more fad diets or weight shakes. It was about me. It was beautifully about me. I would treat myself at each milestone. I would buy an album I always wanted. I would by myself shirts and ties. New shoes. These material things were trophys. Each one was representative of a goal I had met.

Now, I have lost quite a bit of weight and I am almost at the lowest weight I have been at since I was 14. This is sad but true. However, it doesn’t matter what size I wear, i always carry around that weight. The weight from the accident that ignited the physical weight I gained. I have forgiven myself for not being as injured as my mother. I now look in the mirror and see myself. All those parts I said I liked combined into what I am. What I have become. Now when I see myself in the mirror I see all of those liked pieces that have become an individual I love.

So, I guess when you love yourself you become open to loving other people. Such a beautiful world.

I suppose gaining all of that self-efficacy and self-esteem makes you someone you can love and who wants and deserves to be loved.

All in all I guess it’s kind of a love story.

-Chris

Where The Stars Dwell

https://i2.wp.com/www.massingenuity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Aligning-Stars.jpg

Hey Gang!

I sit in my convertible as it flows down the asphalt veins of the back roads of Illinois. I bifurcate myself. Sitting in the passenger side, just outside myself, I feel the cool air whipping around the other me. Darkness is all around except for the fluorescence of the headlights and the neon glow of the odometer, speedometer, and other displays in the Solara. I see the surroundings, or the lack there of, and look up.

I notice I do not pay attention to the road ahead and swerve somewhat as I am enamored with the stars above. Out there, where there is no light pollution, where fields are random from below but from above have so much purpose, that place is where stars dwell. I see myself looking above at the massiveness of it all. The beauty of the stars and surprising absence of the moon. The stardust all around. The feeling that at the horizon is the end of the earth and beyond it is infinity.

The driver hears “Take Me To Church” by Hozier and turns the volume up as the piano keys hit hard. The passenger reflects. The passenger reflects on the past few months when he wrote papers exploring postmodernism and bystander effect. Empathy and socioeconomic status. Hyperrealism and commodification. Race and gender. So much theory and so little time.

The passenger recalls the writing and stress that kept him from writing. The work that kept him from doing those things he loved. The times when he could not recall what he had done day-to-day as time became a measure of tasks and not guided by sunrise and sunset and the time set by generations before. It had become relative. Relative to tasks accomplished and tasks needed.

The driver looks to the road as he laments a truck ahead. It spoils the emptiness that the driver enjoys cutting through in the blackness of the night.

The passenger ponders.

It is weary from lack of sleep. It breathes for the first time since January. The passenger reflects on the cookout he had just been to where one of his best friends had invited him and only him to come. He talked about life and its changes as hamburgers and hotdogs grilled and caught fire, laughing at the memory. He remembers seeing his friend’s wife and child and how exterior it all feels. Remnants of a lifetime ago and yet closer to reality. He sees them struggle with the child and how much trouble they are having financially and yet how they have a family unit. This tight cell that somehow becomes an antibody that attacks incoming diseases; money issues, illness, car trouble, time apart all of them taken down by the antibody.

“Ordinary Love” by U2 comes on in the vastness of nothing and the driver turns it up. He comes to a stoplight that seems blinding in juxtaposition to what he has just gone through. This is the first sign of civilization. The first sign of reality coming back.

The passenger looks away as the driver takes off, gravel spitting behind the vehicle. He thinks back to his friends. They were struggling, fighting to keep the cell, the antibody thriving and it was working. Where so many people would see that as miserable, they were truly happy. The passenger reflects on those around he and the driver and sees none of this. There ship is a vessel that goes through such turbulence in the sea and yet stays whole. The grand ship always reaches ports intact. However, others around him have boats that sail among, not the rocky waters of happiness, but the placid waters of content. Those waters where the boat does not bow to waves but is a steady course.

The large buildings come into view as the driver slows the steel and fiberglass horse.

The passenger realizes how his is a boat on waters so still and calm that it is not moving. The mountains high are beautiful but familiar. Just beyond the horizon he sees the large ocean of happiness as waves crash somewhere out of the cove. The passenger grabs the ores and starts to paddle away from where he sat and all of those others that float along with him.

He realizes that he is not happy but content. However, he wants to be closer. The two become one as the roar back into reality under yellow lamps overhead and trees are replaced by stone buildings that tower in the orange sky of night.

I may go into uncertain waters where the high tides of happiness are met with the low tides of sadness but where the highs and lows are better than the void of feeling. The highs and lows are what I crave. The void is left for the darkness in the country where the stars dwell.

–Chris