Hangman

Blood runs septic through his veins
Midnight blue with streaks of red
Silent footsteps stepping through
Lifeless air among the dead

He drags me down, no remorse
Spiteful words that rip and shred
Inside my brain, day and night
Shadows creeping o’er my bed

His blood and noose both belong
To me, you see, tools of dread
Yet his eyes will surely see
Darkness not, but light instead

Wring my hands and sweat it out
Even by a single thread
Hang the hangman, leave behind
Wasted thoughts inside my head

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Needled

IV bags and track marks
Smile lines and glowing skin
Hallucinations
Laughter
Insomnia
Ecstasy
Slurred speech, blood rushing
Delirium, sweaty palms
Addiction

Vomiting and tremors
Lips and soft touch
Interventions
Embraces
Cravings
Butterflies
Agitation, nights in
Withdrawal, loving another
Needled

Static

Where is my mind?
Torn in two, one left behind
The other remains rigid
Alone in the frigid
Rain drowns out the din
Without yet trapped within
Clown lords over king
Along a castle’s silent wing
Echoed songs left unsaid
Too tired for bed
Shuffling along without haste
Every minute a waste
Awaiting the morn’
Desolate and forlorn
Proud robes now frayed
Misery man-made
A crown still remains
Rusted with stains
Eyes laden with scales
As agony assails
The heart in a bind
The blackest kind
Of broken pride
Comes from inside

The hallway’s stretch ends
Cascading rain sends
Down static from above
Enveloped like a glove
Pixels black and white
Monotone silence alight
Like arson flame
More of the same
Or less of the past
And what’s left to get passed
Like the window’s cold glass
Like the static en masse
Growing louder each day
Until come what may
We know not what is certain
The wizard nor the curtain
Until we step off the edge
With great force and a wedge
Driven through, the glass shards
Scatter about like cards
Scales in unison fall
Reminiscent of Paul
And the curtain stepped through
Rips the static in two

I Think

“I think.”

A pair of words that no one seems to agree on, be it their meaning or their usage.

Rodin saw it fit to summarize these words in art with a sculpture. Descartes said it better than any other before or after him: Cogito ergo sum, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Yet in formal writing classes, beginning a sentence with “I think” is an abomination. Emotional intelligence seminars often recommend the usage of “I feel” and “I think” to encourage taking ownership of one’s feelings and thoughts, rather than pointing fingers during conflict. Yet we hear an “I think” at the end of a statement and suddenly we’re left with little to no confidence in everything that preceded it. It’s amazing really…not only what the human mind is capable of by thinking alone, but all the different ways we focus on something as simple as the act of thought.

“Think about it.”

“What do you think?”

“You’re thinking about this too much.”

“What were you thinking?!”

“But I thought…”

“What are you thinking about?”

Heck, we have more than enough words with think in them! Rethink, thinktank, groupthink, unthinkable, overthink, methinks, thinker.

“I think I can” is a heroic children’s message one moment and a scoffed at adult statement of weakness the next. How often do we hear or use the phrase “Don’t think about it, just do it!” or something similar to emphasize action over prior thought or analysis? “Do or do not, there is no try” may as well go “Do or do not, there is no think.”

What if I want to think about it? What if I need to think about it? What if I know something that they don’t…that thoughts, unlike minuscule actions at a moment’s notice, are vast. Infinite. Limitless…

————————–

“Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re ‘in your head too much’, a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.

Or maybe there’s another word for such people: thinkers.”
― Susan Cain

Invictus

Invictus. Unconquerable.

I love the little things in life. Heck, just a few hours ago, I peeled the wrapper off of a Reese’s, and for once, not one bit of chocolate from the bottom side was stuck to it like usual. Success.

I think I’ve trained myself to notice and appreciate little things when I can. Maybe I just admire the art of appreciation. I don’t like it when things get overlooked. I’d make a great detective, maybe.

Words are often little things…but they’re used to convey powerful meanings and elicit a vast array of responses. I love a good word. I should really start keeping a list of my favorites…but I always remember them when I hear them. Before I started this attempt at a blog, my only experience with writing (outside of school work) was poetry when I was a little younger. It was a form of release for me…I tried it once or twice and it stuck. The problem with poetry is it often gets treated as a standalone product: the words contained within are just that, contained. I say not so fast. We recite a poem and move on to the next…but add music or a simple beat and suddenly it transforms into a song. Rapidly we create music videos in our heads and directly associate every lyric to an aspect of our lives, as if it were written just for us.

And why shouldn’t it be? We create to inspire, be it ourselves or others. I believe there is always inspiration out there. There is always something worth living or fighting for, even in our darkest moments…all we need to do is look for the light. The only determining factor is, were we the ones who hid it in the first place? Sure, sometimes we get dealt a bad hand, but other times we bring it upon ourselves. We see dark clouds looming on the horizon, and so we fill them in with permanent marker that can’t be erased.

I say this because I have done this many times. Yet along the way I learned that attitude is, indeed, everything. Our outlook shapes our behavior. This simple fact reminds me why through it all, I always maintain an appreciation for the small things, a questionable sense of humor, and the desire to keep things light when the situation doesn’t call for cold seriousness: it all helps me keep being me. It helps me keep living. It helps me find that elusive, mysterious place somewhere between ‘sinking in self-pitying quicksand’ and ‘running away from my problems.’ It’s nothing more than a steady, albeit slow, trudge onward through the muck.

I might bow my head from time to time. But my path…remains onward.

“I’m in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive. And I am not afraid.” –FMJ (1987)

————————-

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley (1875)

Music Monday: “Mansion”

I’ve learned (and marveled at the fact) that usually you find music you love…but other times, it finds you. Whether it accurately depicts what’s going on inside your head, matches a tone or mood you’ve been swimming in lately, or just reaches out calmly, as if to extend a branch of generic understanding. A branch that only music can offer, not to say that a similar one from someone else wouldn’t be useful or effective. It’s cliche as can be, but every now and then…when words fail, music really does speak to us. Stop and listen to it when it does.

I have Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist function to thank for this one. Normally the 30-ish song weekly mixtape it creates for me is a two hour hit-or-miss collaboration, some of the misses missing especially badly lately. But once in a great while, a hit will strike a nerve, like for a moment everything aligned and the world casually dropped a gem in my lap. I’ve since listened to the rest of his catalog so far and much of it really resonates with me. I’m probably just a sucker for the ‘angsty white rapper with interspersed introspective singing’ genre. But finding music, any music, that you can (and genuinely want to) listen to over and over is a gift.

NF – “Mansion”

Insidious is blind inception
What’s reality with all these questions?
Feels like I missed my alarm and slept in…
Broken legs but I chase perfection
These walls are my blank expression
My mind is a home I’m trapped in
And it’s lonely inside this mansion…
…Inside this mansion.

I’ll save a massive full-lyrics over-analysis in favor of summarizing that the song likens the author’s mind to a cold and quiet (and sometimes very dark) mansion, in which we find the rooms often contain painful memories locked away and regrets coating the wall like a thick layer of dust. The metaphor really struck me, because I think a lot of people like me know what it’s like feeling like we’re living inside our heads, something I already mentioned in my previous post, that is often a reality. This doesn’t mean it needs to be a harsh reality, however.

I think the idea of a mansion lends itself well to this idea. The mind is expansive, elegant, filled with countless rooms ranging from closets to entire ballrooms in size. Some are well-lit and neatly arranged, while others are filled with cobwebs and dried wallpaper peeling away. Winding staircases and maze-like hallways connect it all like a spider web, ever-growing outward and sometimes struggling to avoid collapsing in on itself.

The problem is…I think it’s easy to let things get out of control when you live inside your head too often. It’s ironically when you become a permanent resident…that weeds start overtaking the garden. Burnt out light bulbs go un-replaced for years. Floor tiles start cracking and faucets start dripping non-stop. We lock ourselves inside dark bedrooms and dingy basements and throw the keys down the drain. Sometimes people try to stop by to help…but find the gate out front has already rusted shut.

Maybe the key is to just make sure we visit daily and ensure the fire stays lit. Keep the bookshelves free of dust. Occasionally let some light into those dreary rooms where we’ve packed and sealed boxes upon boxes of things we’d like to forget. Not that we necessarily want to re-open them, but so that we can read the scribbled permanent marker writing on top of each one and remember how they got there, and what they did to form us into are today…as difficult and painful as it is to do.

It’s easy to get lost inside the endless mansion inside my head. Sure wish I had a map sometimes…

New Beginnings (With a Side of Redundancy)

Someone who has already made a significant personal impact on my outlook in life within the short time I have known them encouraged me to write more. Well, here you go Mark.

I always knew I was a little different, at least from a social perspective. I talked all about my journey through introverted self-discovery here. It’s still changing every day though. My life to me is about more than buzzwords like introvert and other self-descriptors. It’s about what I have become, what I’ve done and what I will do. I believe that each of us is nothing more, nor less, than a complete summation of what happens to us in life, and more importantly, how we react to it. Simple as that.

Life is good. I force myself to use that phrase on a regular basis, in part because it’s true and in part because nobody wants to hear about your personal struggles you wrestled with at two in the morning when they haven’t even had their morning coffee yet. I think that the reason everyone is so paranoid with social media is all we ever see is the bright and shining moments of other people’s lives, and as a result we feel like we need to measure up to a false standard set by whatever Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat stories tell us we’re not currently experiencing. Very few people discuss their trials and tribulations via these mediums, because it’s depressing and nobody likes that. Just like nobody answers truthfully when a store clerk asks you how you’re doing when you’re going through a checkout line. They obviously don’t want to hear about your problems, so why in the world would we think our e-followers would? No time for that noise.

It’s weird how different people’s reactions are when someone shares something honest and from the heart, especially when it’s not a copy/paste answer on a Monday morning about how their weekend went, or whatever. A common reaction is to be caught off guard. That wasn’t one of the agreed upon cookie-cutter responses, what do I say?? Another is to diffuse it, let it fizzle out quickly. A quick response, short and sweet, yeah that ought to do it.

Why aren’t we asking more questions?

I’ve annoyed so many people in my life by asking them questions. People very close to me at times who eventually snap, sooner or later. If you’re one of those people, “my bad.” It’s something I should probably learn to pick and choose accordingly, but I can’t help it sometimes. I’m naturally curious about other people’s lives, mostly because I hate talking about my own. My inclination to be overly humble to the point of regular self-deprecation has been ingrained in me from a young age, and I have no idea why. For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled making eye contact with people, I’m often caught hanging me head a bit by default, and I have no idea how to take a compliment. It’s sad but I’m trying to work on it, being an adult and all now, all grown up in the “real world.”

What is the “real world” anyways? If something is real to someone, whatever it may be, than that’s their real world, isn’t it?

Inside-your-head

Ignore my undying love for the life-changing adventure that was the Harry Potter book and film series. This quote is everything to me and my understanding of how my life works. I’ve been a “thinker” from the beginning, and this spells it all out. My head is where my reality lies…which is significant, because in the end, I alone ultimately control what goes on up there. It’s why strange (or what people tell me are more like “sad/depressing”) things can happen, like standing in a room full of people and not feeling any sort of social connection at times, wishing I was elsewhere despite being surrounded by all kinds of merriment. Sometimes I get stuck up in my head wishing I could escape. Other times I’m there on vacation, with no plans to leave any time soon.

I don’t have definitive plans for what I’m going to use this site for yet. Most likely filling it with archives-worth full of thoughts. It’s something I probably should have been doing all my life, instead of letting the majority of it all fill up shelves upon shelves of brain space. Because what happens is, once the archives are over capacity, there overflow takes up valuable present-tense space. Space I need for staying in the moment, pursuing hobbies and interests, and enjoying the little things in life.

So why am I here, telling you all this? Point blank, this is me stating publicly that I’m trying to pick up old habits again. The good ones. Reading, writing, working out, practicing guitar, studying new topics and foreign languages for no reason and all sorts of randomness that keeps my brain on its toes. Along the way I hope I’ll find other hidden gems, if I’m lucky. I’m on my own with respect to a great number of aspects of my life right now. Maybe not as many as I think…guess there’s only one way to find out.

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. I have no intention of letting any dust gather.