My Thoughts Are Pollution

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

Category: Best of

Another Year In Review, I Guess?

As far as years of my life go, 2015… was one of them.

It wasn’t particularly eventful. I’d call it a low point in my life if not for the lack of actual traumatic events that accompanied it. I honestly don’t have much to say about the year itself, so I thought I’d go find some highlights from my blogging efforts this year and share them. I’m gonna stay away from poetry/lyrics for the most part, as it is difficult for me to evaluate what in particular stands out from those writings.

Let’s start here, with the 2014 Year in Review.

The Great Whatever

Sick, Sick, Sick

Written By Medicine

In Love Maybe

 

Two

To Take Offense

Another “Her”

A Secret Because It’s Not Worth Sharing

Socially Awkward Inner Monologue

The Pretension of Poetry

Drug Stories Part I

 

Vomit Story!

Father’s Day Rumination 

Endings

Escapism

 

 

More Vomit-Talk!

The Death of a Visionary

Jail

Cliches I Adore

Abuse

A Hatred of Music Reviews

A Matter of Time

Don’t Hate Mormons, Seriously

Our Virtual Reality Future

AMBIEN TIME

Five Things

Fumbling, Episode 1

Thanks Mr. Wilson.

Something Sweet

Panic Attacks

Fumbling Episode 2

Some DRUG talk

 

Fumbling 3

All The Pretty Girls (An Episode of Awkwardness)

Fumbling 4

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Cough

When I used to use, I would often abuse cough medicine. It was not a good thing. It is one of the most unhealthy things you can do to your body and your brain. It doesn’t even feel good while you’re high on it. But I’d do it anyway. I’d do it because it didn’t feel good.

Cough medicine is not a “pussy drug.” It is fucking rough, and I got higher than I had ever gotten before or since on cough medicine. It’s a dissociative, meaning that it makes you feel separated from your thoughts and body. It is an out-of-body experience in liquid form.

Of course, this only happens if you do enough. I used to down two bottles of the stuff, and trying to drink two bottles of cough syrup is about as horrible as you imagine it to be. The first gulp is easy. The rest are a fucking nightmare of trying to hold down puke. The puking had to wait for later.

I spent huge portions of my nights vomiting, feeling like I was going to die, and I was doing it on purpose. There was nothing in the world as exciting to me at that time as looking at my own death. I wanted the suffering that came with the drug. I wanted to come face-to-face with all of my demons, and I did. I found everything I hated about myself and brought it all up to the surface of my skin, where everyone else could see. I found all of my fears, and found out that I couldn’t actually face them, so I buried them again.

There was a night when my friends and I carved marks into each other’s backs. We all have scars from that night, physical and mental. My best friend spent ten days in the psych unit as a result. The rest of us just shook in the parking lot near his house, trying not to lose it. We went home without saying much to each other. It was a bad time for everyone.

But did that stop us? No. We kept going and going until I got to the point where drinking cough syrup became so difficult for me to do that I had to quit. Once I quit, it was only a matter of time before the rest of them quit, since we couldn’t all do it together anymore.

Quitting that garbage is one of the best things I ever did. It was never a good experience, it was only a good story.

I guess the reason I wrote all that is both to get it off my chest and to warn people not to fucking touch the stuff in a recreational context. Nobody should ever, ever, do what I did. I broke a whole lot of things inside of me. I went through some scary shit using that stuff. I don’t want anybody else to go through the same.

Also, as a side note, if that wasn’t enough to steer people away, you should never abuse cough medicine if you are taking any sort of anti-depressant. When cough syrup is taken in high doses, the mixture between it and antidepressants will kill you, and it won’t be a calm, quiet and painless death, either.

Fireworks

There are fireworks going off outside. I don’t know who’s launching them, or the legality of it in my state, but they’re beautiful regardless. Each explosion of light brings me a little closer to the me that was happy. It’s like watching the stars in bloom. And every booming sound they make makes my heart jump.

I love fireworks. For the longest time, one of my biggest dreams was to lay in the grass and watch fireworks with someone I loved. I accomplished that dream, even though we’re not together anymore. Even though I despise her. It’s a good memory in spite of that. She can’t take that one away from me.

Now I want to do it again, but falling in love has become a lot more difficult for me. I’ve gained weight, and my acne won’t go away even though I’m in my twenties. What affects me even more than that is the fact that my heart is a lot more closed off than it used to be. I still wear it on my sleeve, but I’m wearing long sleeves now, and rolling the heart up with them. It’s not as visible; It’s not as obvious to others that I crave their affection. And honestly, I don’t crave it as much as I used to.

My heart has been acting like these fireworks. It bursts and blooms for someone, then fades away leaving nothing but a trail of smoke in my lungs. I cough and choke on the feelings after having them. I’m reminded how much wrong these feelings have done me, and I spit them out. Then I see her, and my heart does it again. It’s exhausting. It’s exciting. It’s a whole fucking lot of things.

For now, I’ll watch the fireworks alone. That’s okay with me.

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.

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.

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.

The People I Sort of Remember: Part I

I’ve had this weird nagging in the back of my head ever since my disappearing act in August. (Quick aside, I’m not going to give you any context for that right now. That might come up later, it might not.) I keep having passing thoughts of past friends and acquaintances, and I’ve been wondering what their lives are like. I have almost completely quit using all forms of social media, so all I can do is aimlessly wonder about these people’s lives.

It’s kind of a weird thought to even have. I feel concerned about the possibility of forgetting these people completely. The idea of it disgusts me. I mean, they were a part of my adolescence, the slice of my life that feels more real than any other. Forgetting them feels like a denial of myself.

There was this girl who I met in a cooking class, right after starting my junior year of high school. Let’s call her V.

Now, for context, I went to a high school where ninth grade was held at the junior high across the street. There was no such thing as “freshmeat” at my high school. Instead, juniors and seniors would attempt to prey on the hearts of sophomores if they were desperate for sex or affection. I was pretty damn desperate for sex or affection. I had just had my heart broken (a common thing for me, it’s pretty fragile) and developed a somewhat misogynistic attitude over the summer. It’s not something I’m proud of, but that’s where I was at that time in my life.

V was a sophomore who was very short, and quite cute, I have to admit. I decided that she was going to be my chance. I was going to hit my home run; I was going to make it into the big leagues; I was going to participate in all the other shitty baseball metaphors.

It didn’t quite play out that way, obviously. I’m a fucking awkward person to speak with. I am quiet. I have a much easier time expressing myself through writing than through speech. This shone through completely to this girl, and most of the time she spent interacting with me was filled with slightly one-sided laughter and light insults. That wasn’t so bad, though. Most people would just get skeeved out and avoid talking to me at all. At least V was entertained by my awkwardness. She accepted me.

I asked her to Homecoming once. She already had a date. I was let down, but not all that much. She was cool, and I liked talking to her, but our interests didn’t line up at all. We made a fun duo as friends, and that was it. I was actually cool with it. I still lightly pursued her, as I was a teenage boy, but never made any obvious moves or uncomfortable complements after that.

Her “clique” was the skateboard brigade. I was friends with a few of them, but I was friends with a few people from every clique, so that was pretty meaningless. That group mainly consisted of friends I made in junior high whose lives quickly spiraled into shit.

The last time I saw V, she was pregnant. And fifteen. The future father was kind of a scumbag. I guess that’s being too judgmental, I actually liked the guy, but he sure as hell wasn’t ever going to get a real job or do anything to support her.

She was tired. She was sad. I could tell. I don’t really know what I could have done for her. Probably nothing. I had no intention of “taking her away from her rotten life” and she had no desire to leave it. She didn’t want a knight in shining armor, and I didn’t want to wear that heavy garbage, anyway.

V has a life, somewhere. A life that I know isn’t great, and I couldn’t have made it better in any way, even if I tried. It’s such a weird thing. It goes so completely against my ideals of wanting everyone to be happy, but I can accept her likely-rotten life so easily.

To be honest, I’m not even sure if V actually does have a life. The skateboard brigade started getting into some pretty rough shit when I saw them last. V could be dead. I don’t know. I won’t ever know. I’m not that concerned, to tell the truth. There is nothing I can do, could have done, or that she even wanted done that could have changed that.

I’m just going to make sure that I don’t forget who she was, even if that’s a completely meaningless endeavor. She wasn’t a bad person. She fucked up, and her whole life changed because of it. She wasn’t a slut, she wasn’t a bitch, even though other people called her that. She was someone who laughed at my awkwardness when other people just kept their distance. She kept me company when I was alone during lunchtime. She wasn’t one of my better friends, but she was a good person.

I don’t miss you, V, but I do remember you.

Cigarette Blues

The reason I started smoking cigarettes was to set me apart from the Mormon mecca I grew up in. It was a substitute for getting a tattoo, or gauging my ears. The long hair and pessimistic attitude weren’t enough; I needed just one more thing to complete the picture. Sure, the picture I painted was one of a delinquent, but at least I wasn’t religious. I had that much.

Now that I’m sitting at a park bench by myself, I realize the other reason cigarettes existed for me. They added weight to the meaningless moments of silence in my life. If nothing was happening, I could at the very least bring myself a little closer to death. They gave purpose and direction to my loneliness. Cigarettes are gone from my life, now. Now I sit here, and it’s nothing more than waiting to go home. Smoking always felt more like waiting for a miracle. I would choke on the filthy air and look through the curls of smoke wafting through my fingers, trying to see some sort of metaphor behind the haze.

The air is clear here. It’s not clean, but it’s clear. The only thing in my vision now is a perfect view of reality, the way it really is. Dramatic tension is an entirely human invention, thought up for telling stories and lies. It doesn’t really exist.

And when I’m alone, I’m actually alone. There are no poems hanging in the air, there are no metaphors waiting to be understood.