Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Excavation




I’d usually separate trips like these into days and what those themes were. This was a trip that’s better categorized with one theme. Excavation. I came here to try and figure out what’s going on with me. Mentally and spiritually. I’ve gone dark for some time now and this is my attempt to swing for the fences in desperation. As I sit on this plane and reflect on the last four days, I’ve come to a common theme...survival. What does it take to survive a life that has been filled with a lot of bad things? How do I move on from the past and learn from it without being shackled to it? I came here to see my brother. I came here to see myself again. 

I flew into Vegas and got into a truck, made a quick stop for supplies from Andy’s, and hopped back into the truck headed for Utah, one of the most haunting places on earth. The past few weeks have been a journey to mine out those things I’ve pushed so far down and finally deal with them. Allow myself to feel them. 

We got to the cabin and began by talking about some very personal and difficult things. Andy and I have never allowed each other the comfort of avoidance. We dive in. I came here for this. 


The mountains in Utah are haunted. I watched a thing on television about the spirits that haunt people and places there. I’m not a believer in that stuff for the most part. However, by the end of this trip, I could see why they may tell stories. I left with my own. The air is thin and fresh. Despite being one of the worst years for my asthma, I was relatively clear. 

The people are amazing here. They treat you like your presence matters to them. This is an important thing. It’s something we really all could learn from. Doesn’t matter what your theological lean tends to be, the Mormons are all good to me. 

While hiking, we kept it light-hearted and just enjoyed the things we both got to witness for the first time together. We went to a place in a canyon that was etched in pictures meant to tell the story of the ancient antives thousands of years ago. We also saw vandalism dating back to the 1800’s. The theme of this for me was that we all tend to want to tell our stories. We want people who come behind us to know our existence and accomplishments. Whether the originator of these beautiful rock drawings, or one who vandalizes them with your own inscriptions. Although, if you do this, you’re a dick. I learned that the past doesn’t change and it is pointless to stay there.

We went on a hike to this place that was supposed to have dinosaur tracks in the rocks. We went in there and went up a mountain. We looked at every rock looking for tiny tracks that may look like little dinosaur feet. We couldn’t find anything definitive. We found a bunch of things we would glare at and speculate about, but nothing to be sure of. “This place must be a sham,” we thought. Until we went back down. We missed the markers entirely. We saw one and went over to it and saw a dinosaur print bigger than our torsos. We were looking for these tiny things and missing the enormous things that once lived in the past. Almost, but not forgotten. The theme for us was that all things make a print on something. If a step a dinosaur took before anything was ever touched by humans here can be seen, our actions can affect the future of the world. We aren’t forgotten entirely. 

We went to a place that was considered a “Local secret.” We hiked for a few miles of boring, easy terrain. We thought it was wack. Then…. We came upon the part that the trail makers wanted you to find, but didn’t mark. We had to climb some rocks and boulders. We had to jump over some water and get a little tired to find it. Once we scaled the largest rock, it came into view. This beautiful waterfall that had almost entirely frozen. There were a group of ice climbers there packing up their things after they scaled it. I asked them if they wanted to see me climb it without the sharp ice tools and knife boots. They said yes. But then offered me their gear. I didn’t try it because I promised my family I would be careful. 

So of course, that’s gonna be a hard no. Not looking to die that way. I was bent on being careful. This was the day Kobe and his kid had died with 7 other people doing something that was risky despite feeling comfortable with it. We talked to the guys for a while and they took off back. Andy and I explored a bit and really appreciated what we were looking at. We acknowledged it together and started heading back. 

This was the moment that we could have gone home and called it a great final day. But instead we came upon a road that was closed that we had passed on the day before. We were in a side by side buggy and had confidence/arrogance that we could handle whatever was on that road up that mountain. For miles and miles we rode it up. We saw all of these beautiful things in the light of the sun. Things that only God creates. The snow became more dense, but we pushed on, without supplies.

We crossed a place that the snow was pretty deep and questioned whether we should continue or not. There was a meadow that was supposed to be so beautiful ahead. So we pushed on. A quarter mile later, we were buried in the snow. We spent two hours and the remaining daylight trying to get unburied. We broke the four wheel drive trying and it became clear as the sun dropped below the mountain tops, that we were not going to be able to get it out. We would have to hike all of these miles in the dark, haunted mountains. 

Here is a list of things that looked bad for us, followed by a list of things that saved our lives. 

  • It’s winter in the mountains, which means it’s really cold at elevation. 
  • There are thousands of mountain lions present and their tracks were everywhere. Those fears came equipped with recent stories of eaten human remains found there.
  • There are also bears
  • Also Elk that shouldn’t be threatened
  • It was wet and we had soaked ourselves completely, trying to get the buggy out.
  • We had 1 bottle of water and six cookies. Andy was cramping up and my feet were water logged because I chose to wear my comfortable trail running shoes instead of my terribly uncomfortable waterproof boots.
  • The hike, we estimated was between 10 and 16 miles. Then a road that was mostly deserted would give us another eight miles or so.
  • We had no cell service. In fact, Andy got a tiny blip once and we dialed 911 and were so happy to hear the phone ring. Three times and no answer. Then the mountains took that tiny bit of service back and the call dropped. We felt the haunted mountain laughing. 
  • We were both scared and anxious that we wouldn’t make it out for a ton of reasons. We were exhausted. 
  • At one point we both thought that this may be fatal. So we made a video to tell loved ones what happened and I planned on changing my security settings to no password or face id. 

The good things
  • While it was cold, about 25 degrees, it was unseasonably warm for this time of year. The previous night was 8 degrees at low elevation. Probably about 0 up there.
  • There was a road. We were not lost. This was huge because at least we knew we were always headed in the right direction. 
  • We had a flashlight.
  • It was downhill. If it was uphill, we wouldn’t have made it out for certain. Then our focus would have been about warmth and survival. 
  • We were together. We have been through so much together. It seems things like these happen so often together. We know how each other cope and work with each other.

We got to the road. We celebrated for a moment when we saw the trail entrance. But there was still this eight mile walk into town. One car passed our distress calls. The second passed. No one's gonna pick up two big guys looking filthy on a utility road in the mountains at nighttime. But then. The third car came. She pulled over. She cracked her window as we gave her our story. We asked for a ride into town or if she had service to call the police to come get us.

She looked at us very cautiously and asked us if we intended to kill her. Then asked a few more times. We did our best to disarm her and it must have worked because she told us to get in. 

She was dressed in early century Mormon garb, which I thought was some sort of jumpsuit until Andy explained it. She was alone and 18 or so years old driving this utility road after cleaning houses all day. And stumbled upon us. She was from a polygomous family that had moved around all over the place. She was given strict orders to not pick up anyone ever. And here she was, doing something I would scream at my daughters for doing. She didn’t take us to town, she took us the entire 12 or 13 miles to Andy’s cabin, straight up a mountain and drove us through the gates to his front door. Alone. On a mountain top. With two guys she didn’t know. This is an impossible situation she was in and she chose kindness the entire time at her own risk.

I gave her all the money I had, and we could not thank her enough, because being finally home was the best feeling and I can’t even describe it well. It was the feeling you get when you think you may actually die, but a savior comes through. We were both shook up for a few hours and spent that time reflecting and warming up in front of the fire. Also drinking. Had to do that after such a night. The theme of the night was that we survived,

The theme to this trip is that we survive. Bad things happen to people we really don’t want them to happen to. We can’t live in the past. We can’t live as tributes of mourning to those we have lost. We can’t let troubling things from behind us keep us from putting one foot in front of the other and making it out of these dark canyons. We are alive right now. This is our time. Extended sorrow is waste. We made bad decisions in that mountain and it cost us time and pain and exhaustion. But we survived. In life, we make bad decisions and they cost the same. But every moment that we survive them, is a chance to turn everything around. And it helps to get a lot of kindness along the way.

I’ve left a little bit of myself that I don’t need anymore in those mountains. And I took a little of them with me.








Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Josh






        There was this kid in the youth group I ran in middle school. Nice kid, always laughing and never causing any problems for anyone. He was quiet most of the time. One day during youth group, his cousin told me he played the piano. There happened to be a piano there. I asked him to play it for us. He got up and calmly played this beautiful piece of art that also kind of hurt me. I immediately liked him.

        Years later, he was in and out of the youth group. He came on a trip to my mother in law's cabin, and road shotgun with me on the way. We exchanged favorite songs from favorite bands on our ipods and he eventually played me an original after I had asked him if he still played piano. It was perfect. It was melodic, a little sad, and also catchy. From that trip, we created a band together, and would never stop playing music together. He would become a brother to me.

        I don't choose many friends. I don't open up to many people. It's a character flaw in me that forced me to open up to everyone here. But I choose to spend my time with very few people. Over years of shooting ideas back and forth and allowing each other's heart's and insecurities to be exposed to each other, you learn to trust that person in a very deep way. If you don't understand that, go try and sing a song that just popped into your head to your best friend as serious and as good as you can. We were both vulnerable. That's why I couldn't make any music without him. He's also viciously more talented than me.

        Then Will died. There was Josh (Also Will's friend). Then Joe died. There was Josh, sitting and making music with me mere hours after, during the most gut-wrenching and desperate moments of my life. He played the piano as I cried through singing lyrics to a song I never wanted to write. He saw me the entire way through. He stayed and played. Not a lot of people keep playing while the ship is going down, but he did. I don't grieve well. Some people figure out more appropriate ways and move forward. I fall all the way apart. He was silently picking up pieces.

I wrote about Laura. I wrote about Andy. Tonight is about Josh. My brother.









Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

An Idiot's Guide to Living in Dim Light



        This is the time of year when I usually start writing again. And here I am. Hello world, it's me, I'll be here for a few months, then like a mist, gone again. Depression and anxiety really are a harsh bitch. They change the way you see everything. This year may be the worst I've seen in decades. No idea why, but I want to be someone else right now. My heart is always racing and I can't stand living in my own body. This isn't new to me. It's been terrorizing to me for the entirety of my life.

        I'll do a very brief description, nothing you've never heard before sadly. The world is now full of people like me. I don't know if it's our food, our culture, our environment, or all of the above, but it seems that most of us are dealing with varying severities of depression/anxiety. It's become the norm. Memes are made from such things.

        Depression comes on for me overnight, sometimes with a hopeless and gut-wrenching dream. This didn't used to be the case with me, but recently, these dreams have ushered in darkness. I wake up and I don't want to get out of bed. Everything is dim and dulled. Sharp noises irritate me. People talking too much get pushed to the back end of my consciousness and I am not listening. I don't talk much these days to the people close to me. I sit and stare and listen to music that reflects how I'm feeling. I try not to make noise around the house. I want to be alone with it, which isn't good for me.

        At work, you'll see the opposite. The darker it is inside, the more extroverted I become to people that don't know better. I'm a clown. I like to make people laugh because it makes me feel like a human again. I want to sleep all the time. I stay up late to be alone and wake up late to be alone. All things that are not good for me. I seek to make it worse.

        Anxiety hits during this time at different speeds and periods. The depression I can handle much better than the anxiety. When it comes in, I hate being around people. I hate driving. I hate any noise at all. I hate people looking at me. I hate sitting still. It sometimes makes me feel like I'm dying. I am in fire all the time and feel like it's summer in Arizona.

        Living like this with the desire to live at all produces coping strategies, which is really the reason I chose to write about this. I love life. I love people. I love my family and friends. So I try to figure it out. I try to make sense of it and find weaknesses in my enemy's defenses. Altogether the illness is winning, but can't and won't take me down. Here are a few things I've learned that have helped a little.

Get sleep at night. This one is new strategy, but I've found over the last few months that it helps. Make a schedule and stick to it. Go to bed at a certain time and get up at a certain time, preferably early. This helps manage expectations and forces you out of bed. Plus, an appropriate amount of sleep is really, really good for you.

Breathe. This seems self explanatory, but most people don't breathe effectively. Life is fast and we often let the little things go. We forget that the little things are the biggest things. Breathe from your belly several times a day, focusing on your diaphragm rising and falling. It may even make you light headed at first because you aren't used to breathing properly.

Exercise. I know this post mirrors what every professional tells you. That's why they are professionals. Because it's true. Some exercise makes it worse for me. Lifting weights makes me anxious for some reason, so I add cardio to the end of my lifting days. Running has helped a lot. I sweat and hate it, but in the end, the exhaustion it causes helps reduce anxiety and gives me time in my head being miserable about things other than my depression.  It's good for you and constructive.

Allow zero negativity. If you speak it, you speak it into your personal existence. If you talk positively, positive things follow and vice versa. Fill yourself with what you want to come out. You have to fill your life with things that rival how you are feeling. When I'm depressed, I want to make it worse with sad things. Instead, force yourself to listen to things that bring you somewhere else. I'm a little hypocritical here because I still 90% of the time make it worse for myself. But I've noticed that there is a mood and confidence change when I listen to something positive when down. When I speak positive words into the world...even if I don't completely believe them.

Have a routine. During depressive times, it's common for people to sleep too much. To stop taking care of yourself. To neglect personal hygiene. I've found that the "Look good, feel good" philosophy is best. Set an alarm and get up without the snooze. The thing alarms, you rise up. Shave, shower, put on deodorant and/or cologne. Wear clean clothes. Brush your teeth. Get a haircut. Do the things you know normal people do every day, even if you can't currently identify as a normal person.

If they love you, let them in. This one is hard because anyone struggling with depression/anxiety is embarrassed of it and hyper-sensitive about being an imposition to those we love. We have to remember that they really do love us and want to be there when we are hurting. Pushing them away is a death sentence. They are God sent, and we need to embrace them honestly. You'd be surprised I bet, how much people really do love you.

        Eventually, you will wake up. The sun will be bright again and the colors vivid. You'll feel a little better about being you, even if you still aren't sure who that person is. I write this as a person who stopped taking medication because it's side effects were too harsh. This isn't the case with everyone, so medication from a psychiatrist is a very good option. But if you are like me and meds aren't the answer, look for things that make it better. Change the narrative of your life. Take what's left in those guts of yours and fight for your life.






Sing.
Migrate.







Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Terrible Herbst Sboon




        When Will died, I spent so much time hiding in my basement, writing things here: songs, poetry, anything that would offload some of the things that were too overwhelming to me. I took a lot of walks and drank too much in silence...in the night. I disappeared. I shut people out of what was going on with me because I wanted to punish myself and didn't want to hear good advice or any logic that may stop me from hurting myself. It got to be too much and I needed a break. I knew I needed to get out immediately. Out of my head, out of this city of monuments to our memories together, and out of this house that was filled with his ghost.

        My wife and I flew to Vegas to see Andy. Andy is sometimes called Vern here, and although he has different parents, we once sliced our hands wide open so that we could share our blood. We wanted to be real brothers more than anything. Andy knows absolutely everything about me. He's one of the people that I never share casual conversation with. What a blessing that is!

        My flight landed and my wife and I got a week to escape every terrible thing that was waiting for our return. We saw the Grand Canyon, which is the most overwhelming place I've ever been. We saw the Hoover Dam under construction, mountain goats that run fast and climb well, a little old lady named Rosie that hand rolls chocolate raisins on the roadside. We saw grey steak and a friend of ours actually eat it. We saw the world's coldest smoothie that you can set in the sun for hours without melting. We saw this guy flash his headlights at us to warn us that a cop was a half mile behind him. We saw mountains, native American things, turquoise necklaces, men catcalling us at a gay karaoke bar, and the most terrible Herbst that has ever existed.

        As we put our luggage on the rack and turned to say goodbye and return to the misery that would be only partly temporary, me and Andy caught each other in the eyes. People that love each other can see everything in the other's eyes. I think we both almost broke down. I hugged him and I left. I'm not really sure what was hurting me more: leaving my brother when I needed him the most, or returning the the siege that would be my life for the next several years. I don't think that matters much I guess. Because I'm here, and I'm through it, and I'm happy.

       I think it's really important to keep those close to you as close to you as you can. The world isn't going to give you any breaks and it doesn't care about whether you are gonna be ok or not. These are the people that sit with you while your head is in your hands. They will lift you out of it. Laura,  Andy, and Josh were the only people that knew me enough to know I was in trouble, and I am so grateful that God put them in my life.


        I've had some really tough years. I've been so angry and so sad. I've pushed people out and painted the clown mask for everyone else. I didn't think I'd find a way out of it, but God has carried me, through the people that love me most. They've felt the fire carrying me out. I want to thank them now that I'm on the other side of the worst of it. I've written so much about the rock that my wife was when I needed her to be. This one is for Andy. I hope to write about the rest of them soon







Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, April 1, 2019

My View From Down Here



        What is it that you need?
        Where do you want to be?
        Where do you have to go to get there?
        What do you have to go through to get there?


        Since I haven't had much to say these last couple of years, and don't have much to say now, maybe I'll talk about some of the things I've learned that have made me a little better along the way. Not everything that comes from really bad things are bad. Some things are good for you, even if you wish you could discard them into the fire. These are the things you take with you when you leave the land of despair. You will now store these things in your bindle and carry them with you always.

        What is it that you need? I thought I needed those I lost. I thought I needed substances to get past them. I thought I needed to be angry and close people off. I thought I needed to be left alone in the dark to wander. I thought I needed to hide what was happening to me from the people that love me. I thought I needed to search the world for alternative answers because I don't want to accept the truth. What I need...something my soul needs...is peace. That is found in God alone. Ultimately, there have been people in this world that have lost everything and everyone, and they carry on with life. God gives and He takes away. It's time that I accepted that.

        Where do you want to be? I want to be happy and full of life, teeming with a spirit for life so attractive that it makes other people happy. I want to stop painting on this clown mask whenever I am feeling like a dirty napkin in some wretched ditch. I want to stop with the bitterness. I wanna be transparent and have faith that the people I love around me will always pick me up without judgement. And they will, because if there is one gift God has given me, it's that I see things in people that help me to judge who really cares about me and who doesn't.

        Where do you have to go to get there? I have to go through repeated moments of forced humility. I have to allow myself to be embarrassed at the cost of others seeing me as weak. I have to acknowledge the things that are broken in me and always have been. I have to force them to the surface so that I can work on them. Mostly, I have to have the desire to work on them. I also have to find the desire to work on them.

        What do you have to go through to get there? I have to be honest. With myself and with everyone. I have to go through some pretty hard moments of letting go. I have to accept unacceptable things. I have to let the world spin around and focus on what's in front of me instead of what's behind me. I think this one will be the hardest part should I even make it this far. Lastly, I have to find some strength. There was a time I was so competitive and ready for a fight. I was born with two strikes against me and have worn that on my forehead my entire life. I have fought everything that has ever come against me. In 2009 I stopped fighting for much. I think it's time I got my hunger back, but I think I'm gonna need God for that.







Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Fight

       

        I have a ton of things I could say. It seems like forever since I've written things down, and so many things have happened. But I can't think of anything to really say. I had some pretty extreme ups and some pretty extreme downs which are the great equalizer. In the end, I may be slightly above water. I wanted to write about these great times when I could feel God moving in me. I wanted to tell you all about it, but I was scared it would stop, and I would be left standing there embarrassed that I was so weak.

        I think where I'm at now is a product of both God's intervention and my own destructive traits. I am always trying to ruin what God is doing. It comes easy. I don't even have to practice being an idiot. Give me a blessing and I will shit on it. Needless to say, this is not my greatest feature. So that sucks, so I'll focus on my good ones for now...even though I should be working on the bad ones. I've always been a procrastinator. But in the end, my biggest fear is that my brothers are gonna take me with them slowly. Or really that I'm going to follow them without blinders into this abyss with my stupidity.

        My spirit won't let that happen. My family won't either. When I am weak, they have always been strong. When I've been weak, God has always reminded me who I am. Usually, He takes me through who I was to remind me that I'm not made of anything soft. I fight. You have to fight sometimes. Things go well and you forget that sometimes you have to stand your ground and get bloody.









Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

25 Days of Christmas



        Oh hey internet! I'm in the stratosphere still, floating around, watching the world turn around me and in front of me. Usually when I haven't written in a while, it's either because things are going pretty well, or so terrible that I don't want to put that horror into words. Luckily for me, things are going pretty well. I'm getting a hold of myself, building a better me...just in time to tear it all down for Christmas.

        I won't say what happened, but this year I got to mend something that has been broken for a really long time. The pain always sat in my guts and I'm so glad to let it go and see that weight lifted. Some things are silently exhausting you. Any weight lifted is a good thing. I think our lives should be about removing the weight that we carry around with us. If we can get out from under it, we can survive this life and maybe even find a way to salvage some really great things from the damage.


        So it's Christmas and that means I'm gonna have some terrible feelings, but those terrible feelings will be balanced by the beauty of being here...present in my family's lives. I'll try to be present here too, but maybe it's ok if I keep silent too...if things are going well?


        I'm getting to the point where I think maybe it's ok to let things go well and not feel bad about it. It's ok to let people be gone. It's ok to stop honoring their memories at the expense of your own. It's time to make new memories without them. I want it to be time to let them go finally. I'm not sure I can. I'm gonna try and I could use your prayers. I have some thoughts that you can really help me pray to get clarity on.

The world has no idea they are no longer in it. This bothers me the most. 

Neither of them said goodbye, but they both tried and I didn't answer. I could use some help to stop wondering about what those conversations would have been like. 

        I have a lot that I hold onto, but these are the questions that make things really hard for me. I'm guessing they will never get answered and they aren't supposed to. That would make things too easy to keep my faith. Faith isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be terrifying and impossible.


Also, their mom would like to know who actually did burn holes in her new carpet. I have no idea.



       









Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, October 1, 2018

Autumn





Light beams in. Then out. Then back again. I know what’s happening. I’ve done it so many times. I’m waking up.

This time, I’m doing it on a dock hanging over a river. We had talked all night, my brother and I. We had these knives Will had boosted and we carved our names into the wooden railing of the pier. It was November and really cool out. Way too cool to be sleeping on the pier. But we weren’t your average teenagers. We believed we were special, and sometimes I still believe we were. We would carve our names on everything we could find so that people decades later would have to admit we existed. They would have to admit that there was a story there. A terrific story of three teenagers that conquered the world, even if that meant something totally different than you might think. We were in search of a better life.

I did indeed get that better life. I was given so many chances and I took one of them and became a person I never thought I was capable of becoming. In hindsight, I sometimes feel guilty for what God has given me. He gave me an exit sign that lit up the night sky and I followed it out of the abyss. They didn’t see it or it wasn’t there for them. They both made a quiet exit while I was sleeping. I don’t like that at all. That’s a point of contention with me and God. I’m wrong obviously, but try and tell my stomach that when I dream about them...which is almost every night right now.

It’s autumn in Michigan and this is the beginning of the slow fading death of summer and the waves are crashing against the shore harder than they did a week ago. They are going to keep crashing now until they freeze and become statues of what they were on their way to what they wanted to be.

I’ve noticed that my life has followed a pretty strict parallel to the waves. At some point, I have to stop freezing on my way to something better...spring.

I woke up on that dock with my brother. It was Thanksgiving. It was freezing and we wanted to go home. But we sat there looking at our names carved in the dock for a little longer. We knew our story was special.








Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, September 28, 2018

Objects In the Mirror



        I play the Stop. Rewind. Replay. Rewind. game a lot in my life. Always have. I will hone in on something and become obsessed with a particular moment or time that brings me into something that is long ago, far from me, buried in the mist behind me. I'll focus on people that aren't here with me anymore, and the times I miss with them. I'll focus on the shittiness of them being missing. I'll focus then on all of the other unfair shitty things that happen all the time. But seldom do I rewind to the beginning of the mist.

        I think that's a thing that helps. Dwelling on things that bring me me back to places that don't feel very good, leaves me often pretty angry and detached from the things I should be celebrating. It puts a focus on whatever cloud I'm standing under in that moment. It makes me only think of the clouds. But if you sit and look at your life in whole, and  take yourself all the way back as if you were watching it on a screen, you may see the contrast of black and white.

        I often tell people little stories about me as a teenager, and a lot of people have the same observation: I have come a long way and it is a wonder I am alive and doing normal-ish things. So I sit and take myself back to places that weren't very happy for me to be in. Times that were very tough to deal with. Things a child shouldn't have to deal with. I look at myself as that angry teenager with no concept of a future, wearing a "Fuck the world" pendant, sitting in a jail cell for the fifth time before I even turned 19, and I no longer recognize the world I was living in then. I no longer recognize the broken mess I was. I'm now a different broken mess, but a better one.

        I retrieve memories of my wedding day, the birth and infancy of my children, the work I put in to make a home for us, and the fire that burned inside me to be what I know is really in me to be. I look at these things and a question nags my mind. What made the difference? What was the turning point? Then I remember the bigger picture. It was God. I could never have turned it around. I wanted to die and when I wanted to die, He gave me a life.

       This is a reminder to live it.

Photo credit to: u/V_forvalentin from Reddit






Sing.
Migrate.





Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, August 31, 2018

Climbing Out




"Depression can take the pleasure or enjoyment out of the things you love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression." Mayo Clinic

       Life changes so fast and it's hard to keep up. I have always taken pride in my self-awareness and introspection. I think about what's wrong with me a lot. Probably not good. But lately as life has taken some crazy turns and has become so very busy that  I think I may have lost my grip on what's going on with me. I move along with the tide as it rolls in, breaks, and recoils. I follow it into the sea. This isn't me. It's who I used to be. I have always hated that person.


        I feel a longing in my stomach to create music. I feel the passion to place my life in pieces into words that become my narrative to the world. I want to do all of those great things that I used to do every day. Those things made me balanced and whole. But I don't. Instead, I work, I sleep, I eat, and in my free time, I sit. I want to do them. I just can't. 


        
What I do is normalize instead. I don't want that. I don't want to become a person that just goes on with it...this life, as if there isn't anything inside me that screams at me to fight. But that's where I am. That is what happens when you haven't recognized that you're depressed. I actually have to, after all these years of fighting it, read the description of depression to realize I'm in it. But knowing is only half the battle.

 "The rest is the mess you leave as you pass through." (a quote from the movie, The Heat.) 



         I have always loved this quote because it has inspired me to leave no damage to anyone as I come in and out of their lives. I really try not to. But lately, what I've noticed is this trend of negativity and anger in me. That was me before, not now. I gotta let things go man. I have to relax again and remember that God is in control and that the best thing I can do for me, my legacy, more importantly, my kids...is turn every damned 
negative moment into something different.  


       So here is my action plan and it's easy. 



Say only nice things about people, even if they have angered me.


Stop listening and reading things that feed into my negative nature. Unfollow sites that feed into my bubble.


If I see something positive in you, I'm gonna say it. I think that really helps others along in their day, and in their lives. I often forget that people are effected by things. Sometimes by my words. 


I have to stop thinking that the cards are stacked against me, and it's me against God somehow. It's ridiculous and a total waste of my time. We are all afflicted with something. Let's accept those things we cannot change and move forward with the things we can. 


I'm gonna really try to get back to a place where I focus on beauty and not the wilting. 



I'm gonna make myself pick up that guitar and write myself into everything I can compose. I'm gonna write it all down for you, my friends, to read. I'm gonna have faith again. I'm gonna be to others what I want people to be to me. That's the only way to live I think. 


Sing. 

Migrate. 





Thanks for reading...Z