My Thoughts Are Pollution

Coming-of-age ramblings that don't mean much in the long run

Month: May, 2014

Don’t Panic

I feel a huge weight on my shoulders. I feel this tension in the air, and this tension in my bones. There’s nothing there, though. This is all in my head; it’s something I’ve created for myself to deal with. If I’m not making much sense right now, it is because I can feel panic settling in. I can fucking feel it. God, god dammit. I keep repeating myself, I keep telling myself that everything is going to be okay, but I don’t believe it. I don’t have anything to be worried about. Why am I worried? I’m so fucking worried. I’m scared. I’ve done something wrong, haven’t I? Something in the past, some misdeed I’ve forgotten about and it’s going to catch up to me any fucking minute now. My heart is beating. My heart is beating. My heart is beating. I can feel my heart beating. I can feel the blood pulsing through my fingers, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong, there’s something in my blood, I don’t know. There’s not actually anything wrong with me. My blood is fine. I’m okay. Everything will be alright. Everything is going to be fine. Calm.

Calm.

It’s not happening. I don’t know how to calm down once the panic sets in. I can keep it from developing into a full-blown, bawling, pass-out attack, but that’s about all I can manage. I just keep telling myself I’m okay. I cover myself in blankets and tell myself I’m okay. I’m okay. Nothing bad is going to happen. Everything’s going to be fine. This aching in my joints? I’ve been walking around all day, it’s normal. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m not breaking, I’m not breaking down. I’m not going crazy, I’m just worried. I’m worried, and I don’t need to be, because everything is fine.

I have a headache. I know why. It’s because I’m breathing irregularly. I just need to calm down, focus on each breath, and I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, because everything is fine, and everything is going to be fine. I don’t believe it. I still don’t believe it. I know I’m lying to myself. I’m a liar, I’m telling myself everything is going to be fine in order to escape from the reality that it isn’t. There’s no  proof of that. The part of me that’s scared is the part of me that’s lying. Everything is going to be fine.

Don’t panic, Parker. You’re going to be fine.

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Typical

I take another look
over my shoulder yet again
I just can’t keep away from
the mess behind my head
everybody sit down
let me light a cigarette
in truth I am nothing
just like everyone has said

and I take it out on no one
I just scream when you’re not home
thinking about another one
just to feel a little less alone

She said, “Why do you have
to be so cynical?
You want everyone else in
the world to be miserable.”
I said, “I can’t really care
right now, I’m not capable.
So why do you have to be so typical?”
So typical.

I take another breath
only one more than I should
it gets up in my head
if you were here, I know you would
I just want to sit down
turn off all these fucking lights
lock all of the doors
and live out one thousand nights

And I’m trying to get over
but this wall is way too high
and each time that I get closer
I get too afraid to try

I screamed “Why do I have
to be so miserable?
No wonder that I’m so
god damned cynical.
when anything happens,
my god I’m incapable,
but Natalie’s fine
to stay so typical…”
So typical.

and I’m happy that it’s over
and I’m half a world away
if I could I’d never get closer
but the coast is in the way

and all I think about is drowning
to sink to the bottom of the sea
and all I think about is dying
and everyone can forget me
but I’m reminded that they have
my god, I feel it every day
there’s no reason to be happy
God, that’s why I couldn’t stay.

I hear, “Why do you have
to be so cynical?
You want everyone else
in the world to be miserable.”
Well I refuse to care,
I’m not capable
of being so
pathetically typical.
So typical.

A song. That I wrote. And stuff.

Weird Rant About Intelligence

The more time I spend lurking around the internet, the more unhappy I get. For every one insightful comment there are five horrific and hurtful ones. I’m not talking about the comments on this blog, everyone has been nothing but nice to me here, it’s just when I venture outside of my usual spots that I get to see how terrible people can be.

I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. So does literally every other person that exists. I don’t know how to go about convincing you that I am, in fact, intelligent, but I hope you believe me. I don’t expect you to, though. When I see other people who consider themselves intelligent, I often shake my head and audibly sigh. I think it’s because most people are actually not that smart. The people who flaunt themselves as intelligent are usually just conceited, nothing more. I might be among them, I might not. I don’t know. I have no real way of proving to you or myself that I’m smart. All I know is that the attitude of the internet’s “intelligent” is often disgusting.

When I see someone calling another person “stupid,” I don’t think the person throwing out the insult is in any way intelligent. An intelligent person will analyze the other person’s situation, and instead of deciding that the person is “stupid,” they will decide that the other person had reasons for their behavior and opinions that might not be easy to understand.

When I’m at a party, or some other social event, I feel “stupid.” I feel eyes on my uncomfortable body, and the way my conversations hit dead-ends probably makes me look like a complete idiot. I can’t come up with subjects to talk about. When I do, and actually throw them out there, I feel like nobody even tries to catch the ball, and the idea of having a conversation with me lands on the floor and rolls slightly out of my reach before resting in a place where nobody can see it.

The kind of person who calls others “stupid” would think I was stupid, too. An intelligent person would realize that I have extreme difficulty with social situations, and that has no bearing on how smart I am. Maybe they try to solve the problem, maybe they don’t. That’s not really relevant. An actually intelligent person doesn’t judge, they just try to understand.

An intelligent person tries to understand because understanding is worth more than some sort of collection of facts that your brain happened to store, or some sort of meaningless adherence to social norms. Understanding is what sets us apart from other animals. The ability to look at a situation and think about it critically is what makes someone smart, not their ability to speak or act in a way that is perceived as “smart.”

One Step Forward…

Two steps back.

Today, my counselor gave me the number for the suicide hotline to keep with me “just in case, if you’re in crisis and nobody is around.” Quite the hit to my “hey, my life sucks but I’m slowly improving” fantasy. (To be clear, I am not complaining about my counselor. There is nothing wrong with him.)

I don’t want to call that number. I don’t want to call that number for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being my aversion to talking on the phone in general. I hate it. I avoid phone conversations like the fucking plague, regardless of the topic. I don’t want to cold call someone just to talk about my “problems.”

The other reason I don’t want to call is because I’m not suicidal. At least, not yet. I just have some self-harming tendencies and occasionally kick around the idea of it in my head, but it’s never serious. The only times in my life I ever tried to take my own life were such half-assed attempts that no one ever even found out about it, because I woke up the next day and was capable of acting like it never happened. But I am absolutely not  suicidal. I am so fucking terrified of dying. Holy shit, the idea of death scares me so fucking bad that thinking about being dead has been a trigger for me to break down. I don’t want to die, I just don’t really care that much about living. Is that so bad?

I don’t know. He gave me the number so I’d have another option when I feel the urge to self-harm, but it’s still a weird blow to my pride. I don’t know why. I would never in a million years judge someone else for using a suicide hotline, so why do I feel so self-conscious about it?

This is a weird, super-personal thing to throw out there. I’m completely and totally uncomfortable posting it, which is the reason I am posting it. This discomfort is worth something. It’s some kind of proof that this is a subject that matters, I think.

Go the Distance

I have often dreamed
of a far off place
where a great warm welcome
will be waiting for me.
Where the crowds will cheer
when they see my face
and a voice keeps saying
this is where I’m meant to be.

-Go the Distance, Hercules

Hercules is my favorite Disney animated movie. I think it’s extremely underrated. Sure, it definitely doesn’t follow the actual myth, but it’s a beautiful story. I watched the movie as a child and thought “I want to be just like him someday.”

A hero. A true hero, as the movie would say.

I don’t know if that really exists in this middle-class twenty-something life I’ve got going on. Who am I going to save, especially when I feel like I’m the one who needs saving most of all?

My dad isn’t a Greek god. My dad is a carpenter. I don’t have super strength. All I have is a bunch of ideals that are slowly shattering before my eyes as I wait for miracles that I don’t believe in to fall at my feet.

I wish I could be like Hercules. Maybe not the one from the myth, as that Hercules is kind of a prick, but the Disney-fied one. I wish I could help save everyone, and then give up everything I was working so hard towards for the sake of love. It’s so cheesy, and so childish, but I still wish it could be true.

I do relate to the young Hercules, though. I don’t feel like I fit in where I am, and I think that somewhere out there, something is waiting for me. I just don’t have it in me to “go the distance” right now. I wish I could be strong, but I’m not strong right now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to find the place where I belong.

Socialize

I had to go to a social event today. It was a memorial day picnic set up by my parent’s church. It’s all people I’ve met and spoken to on a relatively regular basis, but that didn’t make attending it any less difficult. Not to mention that the despicable fifteen-year-old girl who betrayed my little brother was there, and I always have an urge to walk up to her and just scream obscenities in her face until she cries and I get arrested. I don’t know, my brother has a hard time connecting with people on a deep level, and he got really close to her, and she got really attached to him, but when he got up the nerve to tell her about his depression and self-harming tendencies, (which are worse than mine) a drama switch flipped in her brain and she made the entire thing about her. I don’t know all the details, all I know is that the second my brother went out of his shell, this terrible girl stabbed him in the heart and turned all his friends against him. I could hit her, and I don’t hit people as a rule.

Once the picnic started, I found a quiet place in the park and played guitar by myself because I hate that girl and I hate small talk and there are marks on my arms and I didn’t want anyone to fucking talk to me about it. To their credit, nobody came up and tried to bother me, but that’s disheartening in its own way. I guess I’m contradicting myself though, I can’t have nobody talk to me and have people go out of their way to talk to me at the same time. I don’t know what I actually want. I think I want a fucking miracle. Like, someone I’ve never seen before to walk by and fall in love with me at first sight who also has a vacancy at an apartment and a job at some local place where the owner isn’t an asshole that expects too much from me. God, that’d be fantastic. Some people wish they’d win the lottery, but my wish is even more unlikely. It’s so fucking dumb.

I Am a Burn Victim (This is Not a Metaphor)

This morning (if you can call eleven A.M. morning) I woke up, dragged myself out of bed, and took my usual shower. Usually, that’s a pretty meaningless event, but on occasion, it reminds me of something that I don’t have in common with a lot of people.

I have scars. They’re not fading white lines in places from being cut, they’re not slightly off-color patches of skin from touching a hot frying pan, and I’m not even trying to trick you by turning this around and saying they’re “mental scars.” These scars are grotesque, and difficult for most people to look at. They aren’t just reminders of something that happened, they’re distinct enough to set me apart from the norm.

I am a burn victim.

At the age of three, when I was obviously too young to think critically, I got myself into an accident. I had found and poured gasoline onto the ground and was playing in it, as if it were water. I was in a very small room in the house, and right next to a seemingly sizable water-heater. I don’t know exactly what happened to start the fire; maybe some hot water leaked out and was hot enough to light the gas. Maybe a spark flew off of the pilot light, landing on the puddle I had created. Maybe it wasn’t the liquid gasoline itself that lit, but the fumes. I don’t know. I do know what happened afterwards.

It’s my first memory. It is completely solid in my mind, and if I make an effort to remember the event, I can see it as if I was there right now. I remember a whole lot of pain. I remember the childish thought processes going through my head, trying to find some way to stop the pain. There were clothes in the corner of the room; when the sidewalk outside was too hot to walk on, stepping on something soft made the pain go away. The clothes, however, had already caught fire. There was nowhere in this tiny room to hide from the horrible sensation I felt.

I was screaming. I was bawling. I remember trying the door, but I was so young and in such a panic that I couldn’t even manage to turn the doorknob. It felt like I was in there for an eternity, when in reality, it was seconds at most. The last part of that memory I have is of me pounding my fists on the door, screaming for my mother.

After that, all I have are distorted bits and pieces of memories from the hospital stay, and the story from my mom.

My mom rushed into the burning room and pulled me out of it. She ran out of the house, scooping up my infant brother on the way out. She took us next door, crying her eyes out, asking to use the phone to dial 911. The neighbor obviously obliged. By that point, I was in shock. Apparently, I was very excited that our neighbors had cable, and asked to watch cartoons while standing on bloody, barely recognizable legs. I can’t imagine that person ever forgot that image.

I have a brief flash of a memory at this point of being on an ambulance. I remember asking if I was on a firetruck. I mean, I was three, I loved firetrucks. The paramedics told me that I was, and then I drifted out of consciousness. I was in critical condition. The paramedics weren’t sure if I was even going to live, let alone be able to live a normal life ever again. I’m sure that broke my mom’s heart. Thinking about her receiving that information almost makes me shake as much as remembering what happened to me.

I had third-degree burns on 17% of my body. The doctor we were originally with told my mom to skip the much-needed skingraft operation due to the pain it would cause. The reality of the situation was that my family was extremely poor, and we didn’t have insurance. My mom didn’t work, and my dad was a fucking janitor. The doctor knew we couldn’t pay for the procedure, and rather than help the suffering three-year-old child in front of him, he chose the more frugal approach of letting third-degree burns heal naturally. That’s fucking crazy. Apparently, becoming a doctor and watching people die on a regular basis can make you pretty cynical.

We tried this approach of “natural healing” for weeks. I had to sleep on my stomach, and spent most of every day either crying, or trying not to cry. My mother describes me at this time as the saddest she’d ever seen someone, and I was three. I still have bits and pieces of the recovery process in my memory and I know how much it hurt. It hurt so, so much. It hurt so much I couldn’t bare it. I didn’t have the will to live.

Finally, during a regular checkup, the fiscally-conservative doctor happened to be out, and someone else was there to take his place. I don’t believe in miracles, but if this chance thing hadn’t happened, I have no idea where I’d be today. The doctor saw my wounds, and was pissed. He was furious that I had been living this long without skingrafts. He said the procedure needed to be done as soon as possible. It was the only way I was going to get better. He did not mince his words. He was even frustrated with my mother for clinging to the other doctor’s claim that it would bring me pain.

I was sent over to a burn center, where they put me to sleep, cut the skin off of my thighs, and applied it to the areas that needed it. I don’t really know the specifics of how the operation worked. Apparently they took the healthy skin and turned it into some sort of netting that was grafted onto the burned skin. I know that nowadays, they are able to use significantly less skin for this process than they did when I was burned, but for me, they took a strip of skin as long as and as wide as my thigh from each leg. That left scars, too.

According to my mother, after the treatment, I really did start to feel  better. The first time she saw me smile since the accident was several days after the operation. I still remember hard things, though. I remember having my wounds cleaned. The cleaning was like a reoccurring nightmare. It was something that had to be done on a regular basis, but it was horrific. I remember screaming and bawling during the process. I don’t know if they numbed me or not, I have no idea how that process works, but I remember it hurt so fucking bad either way.

After that, I had to spend a long time in physical therapy. I had to get walking again. My mom tells this story like the proudest parent ever, but I’m not as diligent now as I was then. Apparently, taking the walks caused me a huge amount of pain. I refused several times, saying, “It’s too hard.” A nurse then told me, “I know it’s hard, but it’s not too hard.” I apparently took that advice to heart, and when my mom told me she wished it wasn’t so hard, I told her the same line. I guess hearing that out of a wounded three-year-old’s mouth had a pretty lasting impact on my mom, as she cries every time she tells that part of the story.

Eventually, there came a time when I was done. I was actually healed. I was actually better. I wasn’t going to die, and the pain was gone. I got to live a “normal” life. All that remained of that event were the scars, the bankruptcy my parents had to file, and the divorce my parents got.

I have horrible scarring on my right foot, my thighs, and my “lower back.” Yeah, by that I mean my ass. I was sitting in the puddle of gas when it caught fire, after all. The scars aren’t like other scars. They’re gnarled in places, like a tree trunk. There’s places where you can see the shape of the netting from the operation, and if I scratch, it’s like running my nails across a surface with letters engraved in it. The nails get caught on the skin just enough to remind me that it’s not smooth, like it should be. Like it is for everyone else.

Most days, I don’t even think about what happened, but every now and then, I’ll see my skin and remember.

I’m shaking at the moment. It’s a pretty terrible memory, and when I close my eyes, I can still feel my childish screams clawing at my throat, and the flames licking at my feet. I still see the bright red room, and the door that wouldn’t let me escape it. I feel the fear I felt back then.

But I’m not afraid. Not right now. I just remember what it was like to be afraid back then, and it makes me shake.

This Post Went Completely Off the Rails, You Have Been Warned

Generally, I don’t cry about my life. There are very few real-life situations that have ever actually made cry. The last time I cried from my own circumstances was during a day spent wandering around in the rain, desperately searching for a payphone.

That’s a really, really long story, and not one I feel like telling at this moment. Maybe we’ll get to the point where telling that story doesn’t make me incredibly self-conscious, but as of right now, that’s a story that isn’t ready to be told.

The last time I really cried prior to that event was when my girlfriend of three years and I broke up. That’s another long story, and thinking about it makes me feel literally nauseous, so we’ll skip that one too.

I just wanted to point out that the times I cry from things happening in my life are few and far between. I didn’t….. Hold, on. I need to shut the fuck up for a second.


 

Okay, sorry for the completely abrupt stop, I just realized partway through writing how completely full of shit I was. I cry far more often than your average dude. The point I was attempting to get at is that movies, books, and video games tend to make me cry more often than actual events, which is true, but claiming that I’m some kind of robot otherwise is total bullshit. Less than a month ago, I had a nervous breakdown and wound up bawling my eyes out for no legitimate reason. The events I was describing before both happened less than a year ago.

Three times of legitimate bawling in less than a year is more than average for a guy, from what I’ve picked up. So, maybe it’s not that I’m over-sensitive to media, which was my original point. Maybe I’m just over-sensitive in general. That would make a lot of sense.

My original goal was to point out how I cry at every dramatic death, cheesy love line, and loss that I see on a screen or read off a page and contrast that with my “usual” stoic attitude. Unfortunately, that all fell apart, as I realized that the entire premise of this post was built on a completely imaginary situation.

I am not as fucking cool as I think I am. I am not as smart as I think I am, and my entire view of the world is so skewed that people don’t even understand the pessimistic garbage I say in their direction. I must be living in some kind of fantasy land. I can’t believe I honestly thought I rarely cried. What a stupid, self-indulgent thing of me to think. I’m not “cool.” I’ve never been fucking cool, and I never will be. I will always react to the world around me in an over-the-top way. I will never have a cool head in a high-pressure situation. I will never save anyone’s life. I will never be looked-up to.

I have an attitude that is going to get me nowhere. I do nothing. I hate everything, but still want to continue existing in a world that I think sucks. I think I suck too, but I don’t do anything to change it. I just sit here, messing with my guitar, alone in this room that I repeatedly call a sanctuary. I write aimless, self-indulgent bullshit on pieces of paper calling them songs, then throw them away, rendering anything good that could have possibly come from them completely worthless.

Fuck.

Beautiful Garbage

I believe that there’s beauty in sadness. I don’t think I quite pull off what I’m aiming for with that. When sadness envelopes your very being; when sadness is a defining feature of your existence, it can be beautiful. It’s hard to explain why, though.

Sorrow makes the world a more interesting place. Without real sorrow, there’s no real appreciation for happiness. I think that’s where it falls apart for me. I feel sorrow. My god, some days, I am sorrow. I’m just incapable of seeing any light. A light in the darkness is what makes the darkness beautiful.

I want to see some light. Sadness is just apathy when there’s no happiness to break it up.

I know none of that made any sense. I know I come off as an emotional fucking lunatic. I probably am one.

Back and Forth

I suffer from pretty severe anxiety. It shows itself most openly when I’m forced to participate in some sort of social event, but it’s always there. Even when I’m sitting in my sanctuary of a room, it’s there. It’s an extremely difficult feeling to cope with.

Imagine yourself in a near-nightmare scenario. I’m not saying you should imagine yourself being threatened with murder or anything quite that severe, so don’t go that far with your fantasy-nightmare-thing. Maybe imagine something more along the lines of being a teenager and crashing the family car while somewhat drunk. No one’s hurt, it’s not a terrible accident, but there was another car involved, so you can’t just ignore it. The police are on their way. Maybe you’re not too worried about that, you’re a minor, after all, but this is your parents’ car you’ve crashed. They’re going to find out the circumstances, one way or another. You start rolling around the eventual conversation you’re going to have with them in your head. You know that hours from now, you are going to be incredibly miserable, and the thought of your immediate future is terrifying to you.

You can stop the visualization process there. There’s no need to play out the scenario to it’s conclusion, as anything after that moment is entirely irrelevant to my point. The frustration that comes with being reprimanded, or how the consequences made you feel; none of that is anxiety.

Anxiety is what comes right before any of that. It’s extremely similar to dread. In my case, dread and anxiety are almost the same thing. I don’t know if that is how others feel it, I don’t know if it’s more or less severe than someone else’s, but that’s what it’s like for me.

Anxiety is totally normal to feel in the situation you just mentally played out. It’s normal to feel before any important event, really. It’s when that feeling isn’t attached to anything tangible at all that it becomes a problem. In my case, it is a near-constant feeling. It causes me to pace around endlessly, waiting for the life-shattering event that will never come. And there’s nothing there. There is absolutely nothing that I’m dreading, but the dread is still there, as if it knows something that I don’t. It’s fucking terrible. It can be crippling at times; it occasionally leaves me shaking on the floor, desperately sucking in air, like I’m trying to compensate for several years of breathlessness.

I guess they call that one an “anxiety attack.” To me, it just feels like the tension that I always have becomes too much. My chest becomes too tight, my shoulders become too stiff, and my brain starts firing off ideas at a rate that I’m unable to think a single truly-coherent word. And then I collapse. It’s never fast, it’s never dangerous, it’s just a slow-paced motion that moves my body from a standing position to somewhere on the floor.

I’ve been taking medication, and it has definitely taken the edge off. It seems to have come with a price, though. Apparently, there’s a hole inside of me that can only be filled by some sort of negative feeling. When the anxiety that was occupying it goes away, something else has to drift in to take it’s place. Right now, it’s depression.

I never want to leave my sanctuary again. Any attempt at interacting with the outside world is worthless, as I have no place in it. I don’t belong here, I was born broken, why should I bother? Why should I bother? I can’t really play guitar. You call that worthless garbage I make “music?” No one cares anyway. No one wants to listen. If they did, they’d ask. If they asked, I’d say no. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.

I am completely apathetic to the world around me.

That’s my head right now. I’m going to call the doctor tomorrow and let him know. I have no idea if these feelings are because of my own inadequacy, the change in medication, or both. Or, you know, neither. Depression isn’t a new feeling to me. It could just happen to be flaring up again. I don’t know.

I wish I had some sort of head-space in between “firing on all cylinders” and “there’s fucking nothing, man.” Why do I always go back and forth? Is there no place to stop in between? Is there no alternative direction for the metaphorical traffic in my brain to flow?

I hope I don’t come off as crazy. I hope I don’t seem like I’m just whining. I’m having a rough spell, and I’ve been having it for a long time. I don’t hate my life, I just hate living it.