Category Archives: recycled posts from literati messiah

Busload Of Faith, or, "Be Careful What You Wish For, You Just Might Get It"


This is just going to be a brief little update, followed by something that I had posted on my old site, back in August of 2006. I’m posting it, because I was reminded of it today when a couple of good friends of mine revealed that they were going through some really rough shit – and it immediately caused my mind to flash back to one of the lowest and most desperate times in my own life.

I’ve been having a rough time with some things lately as well. I’m holding fast to the health thing, and working really hard to maintain the emotionally healthy ideas I set for myself for 2010. The health thing has actually been way easier than I thought it would. Once I established the patterns of eating healthier, my body now craves that healthier food. I’m still chugging down lakes of water daily, and I have yet to have a single soda or a cup of coffee since I began doing this back in January.

Physically, I feel pretty fucking good.

Emotionally, on the other hand…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my sobriety, and about the effect it has on my relationships with people.

I stopped imbibing almost three years ago. It was something I had wanted to do for a while, and had tried to do many times in the past. In the past, I was usually only able to quit for a little while, but it was very hard to suppress my innermost Hank Chinaski (also referenced in the letter posted at the end of this here Ramble) – the allure of a dimly lit speakeasy (and the cast of characters commonly found within it) coupled with the tractor beam of a well-balanced glass of whiskey was a constant niggling, pulling me into those magical and darkened corners. Most of the time that I was in the process of quitting, I was choosing which vice would get to live on – if I was going to stop drinking – I kept on smoking pot and eating bars of Xanax like candy, or if I was planning on giving up the reefer – I would start drinking more red wine and popping Valiums. I was a fucking mess.

Obviously, this wasn’t a very good pattern for me – choosing between one vice or the other.

This time it was much easier, and very different. I didn’t seek anyone else’s help, I just made a decision and stopped. Everything. No more pills, booze, reefer. I gave it all up, and have honestly never looked at the road behind me – I just keep pushing forward. I do not question, at all, my choice to no longer “get fucked up.” If anything, it was a long time coming – and not just for the reasons that would seem easy enough for anyone to suss out.

It was just time.

In the beginning stages of cleaning myself up, I was very nervous about how my friends were going to take it – most of the time that we all spent together involved me drinking brutish volumes of liquor. I was the guy that someone could call at three in the morning and meet up for a drink. I just didn’t give a fuck. And now, here I was, cutting that part right the fuck on out of me. How were my friends going to take it? Were they going to shun me? I really was kind of terrified – I had just been through a lot of really heavy shit in a short period of time (which the letter below spells out), and the few friends I had – I really wanted to keep them, and keep them close.

They actually adjusted pretty well. In fact – quite a few of them confessed that they had hoped I was going to make such a change, because they were worried that I was going to drink myself to death.

In the rightfuckingnow, I’m definitely happy with my decision to clean my life up – I would never go back to being that Sean. But, and this is serious now, at times I feel as though new people that I meet figure out or find out that I am sober (it’s not like I walk around rocking a Youth Of Today shirt and talking about the evils of poisoning oneself with drugs and hooch), and they immediately get fucking weird. Am I an alcoholic? Yeah. Am I a junkie? Yeah. I’ll always be those things – it’s not like I can just erase the memory banks completely – all I have done is change my behaviors and made a decision to no longer “get fucked up.” I appreciate being clearheaded now, and I appreciate the fact that when there is a problem, my first instinct is no longer to drown my sorrows and try to erase the problem – I deal with shit now. For real.

Much like everything else – this might all be in my head – but sometimes it feels like people have a harder time with my sobriety than I do with their imbibing. When people get that wonky look in their eye and feel the need to ask for my permission to have a drink in my presence, that’s when I start to realize that I need to step back a bit, really look at that relationship, and try to figure out how much value there is in it. Is this judgmental of me? Yeah, a little bit. But that’s unfortunately how I have to do things. I’m not concerned with me suddenly changing my mind and running to the nearest liquor store and guzzling down a bottle of Maker’s Mark outside on the sidewalk – the decision to be sober has been made, and I am more than cool with it. What I’m not cool with, is when people who I am emotionally investing in (and let’s get on motherfucking Front Street, people – a friendship is an emotional investment) treat me like a fucking leper or a lesser-than because I’m not rolling the way they roll. If you’re in my presence, and feel self-conscious about your habits, then that is something broken inside of you, not me. Believe that.

ANYWAYS…

So – that’s what has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s funny in a way – there is a lot of truth to all of the koans written about the nature of water. One ripple creates so many more.

Below is this goddamn letter I keep on referencing. I wrote it, funnily enough, in an opiate/alcohol haze back in the summer of 2006. I got clean for good almost three years to the day from today – my last drink was on March 16, 2007 – a shot of Jameson’s for my old man. Not one drop has hit these lips since.

Take care of yourselves, and be good to each other. Life is too fucking short not to.

————————

Dear Universe,

I don’t really know how we’ve ended up in this predicament, but it seems as though we’re at an impasse in our relationship. I feel really awkward writing about our relationship out here on the interweb, but I’m not sure you’ve been hearing me in my attempts at daily commiseration with you.

It feels like this cry for help could be my last shot at some kind of open dialogue/reconciliation with you.

Lately it seems as though every time I reach for your hand, you pull away from me. I’m not sure what it is that I did to offend you, but it hurts. Our relationship used to be so much stronger than this, and I feel very disconnected. This feeling of disconnection from you is leading me into a deeper well of depression, and I am starting to become concerned that the damage is not only irreparable, but also permanently scarring.

My psyche is a wee bit too fragile for this shit from you, Universe, and I honestly expected a little bit more from you than this.

Maybe you think I’ve been taking our relationship for granted, or something along those lines? It seems so cliché, but that’s not about you, it’s about me. I certainly haven’t been blaming you for all of these trials and tribulations that have been tossed my way over the last 36 months or so, have I? I felt as though I was handling things pretty well, taking responsibility for my own complicity in the events that have transpired around me. For some otherworldly reason, I’ve yet to point my finger at you out of anger for the multitude of humbling and soul-shattering moments you’ve laid at my feet.

Is that what you want me to do?

If blaming you is what you want from me, I am going to have to disappoint you some more. I’m not in the blame business, and at this point in our relationship – you should already know that I have outgrown that kind of behavior. Hell…you taught me to love, not hate. So why would you want me to blame you, for things that were/are/will be beyond my control? I can’t do that, and you know it.

Fuck it. Hold up.

Okay. Fine. You know what, Universe? I am a little bit pissed off at you, okay? Maybe I do need to scream at you a bit; to get this shit out of my chest and out into the ether.

Why, oh Grand Universe, have you decided that consistently testing my ability to keep from becoming some fucking mess of a man is so important to you? Was it necessary to take both of my fucking parents from me, before I had the chance to ever feel as though I actually made them proud of me for anything other than mundane bullshit that any mouth-breather on this rock could pull off? Was it totally necessary to take from me a friend that I felt like I had known my entire life, and was motherfucking sure I would end up knowing for the rest of my time here on terra firma? Does it continue to be necessary to have The Holy Rollers judging me and fucking stealing from me what was left for me by my grandmother (whom you also took from me much too fucking quickly, you fucking sadist, you)? Do you think it’s fucking funny that my sister can’t return my calls? Why do I have to be so fucking tested all the time? Putting obstacles in my path seems to be your sick and twisted manner of showing me affection, Universe.

Right now I am screaming the safe word at you, yet you continue to flog away.

I’m not totally sure what it is that I have done to hurt you so deeply that you would act this way, but whatever it is I am sorry. It’s also unnecessary for you to continue to fuck with my friends as well. This isn’t high school – it’s life. My friends are for the most part all goodly people, and I think whatever it is that you have out for me is more than enough. Leave them alone, okay?

The only times I even feel remotely connected to you anymore are during the smallest hours. When I am walking and wandering in the night, headphones set to stun, with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. There are fleeting moments during these meanderings where it feels like old times; memories flooding into my subconscious mind like the connection is wide open again. Remembering my ability to rise above and overcome. Feeling invincible, yet remaining humble within your womb. During these moments, I am almost always close to tears, because I miss the intimacy and closeness of our relationship much more than you could ever realize.

This is having a major impact on my other relationships, Universe. Because we’re so distant, I cannot seem to allow myself to get close to anyone or anything lately. Maybe it’s the usual fear of abandonment shit I drag behind me like Linus (can you fucking blame me, after all the rugs that have been yanked out from under my feet?), I don’t know for sure. But I do know that it’s becoming more and more likely that I will turn into some drier and much more celibate version of Henry Chinaski if things keep rolling this way. Nobody wants to be friends, or “intimate”(do I need to spell that out for you?) with the guy who cannot connect. Nobody wants to hang out with the guy who can’t make any kind of commitment to anything other than the unknown.

I’m not sure if or even how we’re going to be able to reconcile this mess we’re in, Universe. I know that there’s a part of me that’s hollow now; a space that you used to occupy is empty and in need of filling. I used to believe in you without the smallest shadow of doubt, yet here I am writing you an open letter on the interweb like a jilted teenager. Placing not only blame at your feet, but also my disdain. You broke my fucking heart, and you continue to do so on an almost daily basis. You’ve taken away from me almost as much as you’ve given me over the years, and you’ve done it all very quickly and methodically.

This is me, throwing up my hands and begging you to slow your roll. Begging you to give me some room to breathe and recover who I am underneath all of this rubble. This is me asking you to maybe let up a little bit and allow me to find some answers before the next Big Letdown happens, so that the next one doesn’t push me over the edge into the well of insanity that I’ve been dancing on for a while now. This is me asking you from the tiniest portions of my broken fucking heart…for a reprieve.

After all we’ve been through Universe, it’s the least that you could do for me.

Sorry if there was some anger in this letter, but I can’t hold stuff in all the time – it’ll kill me. I don’t want to be some Emergency Room casualty because I kept all of my anger in until my heart bursts at the seams (that’s just not how this story is supposed to end). I’m also sorry if I gripe too much – I’ll work on that.

I hope this letter finds a good place in you, and we can figure out some way to work through and salvage our relationship, Universe. It’ll be worth it if we can. For both of us.

Be well,

Sean

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Filed under i used to be stupid, jealous insecurities, nuggets of infinite wisdom, recycled posts from literati messiah, sean likes to curse and use italics, who is sean?

Spiral Out

This is a reposting of something I first wrote on 05.13.06.

Some friends and I have started up a new music site – What Gets Heard? – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. Basically, the site is all about the power music has to change us. To impact us. To enlighten us. We’d love for people to write guest posts about records that changed their lives. Because that’s really what the site is all about – sharing with people the glory of the music we hear buried deep in our heads/hearts. The records that changed our perception of what music is/was/could be. The records that inspired us to unleash whatever we hold inside of us. The records that kill us, even after not hearing them for ten years. If you’re interested, just drop me an e-mail…

There are sometimes these flashing and brilliant moments in my life where all kinds of elements come together and blow the doors off of my mind. When these moments happen I am more than likely going to be moved not only emotionally – but also psychologically and spiritually. I try very hard not to question them, and just flow along with whatever knowledge or insight can be gained, because I have learned that questioning the why is not always appropriate.

Sometimes you just have to roll with whatever comes your way.

These moments almost always have something to do with some kind of artistic endeavor of some sort. Seeing a movie, devouring a book, or even a viewing a painting can open the door just enough to let the light in. But more often than not, it’s music that flips the latch and the door swings wide and true. I’m of the opinion that music is the preternatural grease for my squeaky wheel, and without it I’d surely be locked away in the bughouse(some of you may feel as though I already should be, but that’s neither here nor there) Music is the mile marker, the accelerant, the trigger, and the cure. Music makes everything just go

Show me someone who doesn’t have an internal soundtrack that plays right alongside their collected memories, and I’ll probably shit twice and die right on the spot. It’s beyond my realm of understanding to think that music doesn’t play a monumental role in everyone’s lives. All of my own memories have songs that are synched up with the movie in my head. Each and every moment of my life has a song for it; some sad, some beautiful, some inspiring(no, not “Gonna Fly Now” or “Chariots Of Fire” – don’t be retarded), and some downright perfect. Most of the people in my life have their own theme songs that I associate with them, and those songs cue up when I think about them, or the moment they come into my view(it’s actually quite entertaining to live inside my mind sometimes). Certain situations and feelings that come over me have their own distinct soundtrack as well. I’m not sure(and I don’t really care) if this happens to anyone else. I know this happens to me, and I am okay with the fact that I might be the only person on the planet who is this mentally ill. I’d also be okay with it if everyone had these same things happen inside their own heads as well. I’m not such a scumbag that I’d want to keep all of this good shit to myself, or I wouldn’t be writing about it, now would I?

Like I said – pretty much everything has it’s own song attached to it.

Okay, I sort of covered the music angle for now(it’ll all make more sense as I continue to ramble – I hope).

Now, when I say that sometimes things just click and shift into place, I’m saying that there are times when everything is flowing properly. All distractions fade away, and the din that all of the rigamarole and day-to-day bullshit creates goes hush. These are those magical moments when you can look up at the sky in the deep inky night, and understand your time and place. When everything that is weighing you down goes as silent as it possibly can, and the only thing you can do is see and know the beauty and the simplicity of everything around you – from the sweet and musty smells of Autumn to the shimmer of any given body of water under the light of the moon and stars. Everything you take for granted on any other given day or any other passing moment, becomes mystifyingly beautiful.

I’m talking about a momentary glancing blow of innocence. But – that momentary innocence has some kind of gnosis attached to it, because you wouldn’t be able to see the beauty without being able to understand or recognize the beauty. How do you know that the way the light hits the water is attractive to you? When did you decide that laying in the grass and reading a book on a cool Autumn day was something you enjoy? I don’t know if we even make these decisions. Part of me thinks these are things that are just programmed into our subconscious mind, and we recognize them as pleasing before we even realize we’re in the midst of enjoying them. Mind you, I’m also the same guy who had a three hour debate with someone because I do not believe we’ve actually been to the moon, so I might be a little off. Regardless, this is my site, so I can write about my own stance on things. If I say this is how I feel, then this is how I feel, you know? I can tell you that from my experiences in this little life of mine, I have come to these conclusions.

Can you just imagine how ridiculous I’d be if I had taken hallucinogens?

Another thing about music, and it’s power over us meatsicles:

Music always manages to move something. If you take the time to look through our collective history, music has been a catalyst for many different things throughout our time as a dominant species. And it’s not just about the combination of notes that might invoke a pleasing reaction from within – there’s some metaphysical magic at play as well. Rhythm, cadence, tempo, and tone have been used in rituals as far back as our bloodlines can reach. Music is always present in a church, because music helps people to relax, and ultimately feel comfortable, and it’s pretty evident that once we’re comfortable, we’re easier to deal with. In my opinion, a Catholic mass in Latin could probably move just about anyone if they went into it with an open mind, as could being a part of a service on Yom Kippur. Those are just religion-based examples. We used to chant over our dying loved ones, before we had the blips and bleeps of modern medicine to take away that warmth. Mantras are timed to coincide with a heartbeat, and the tone that is used while chanting(not to mention the ringing of the bells) is used to help align our conscious mind with certain sections of our subconscious mind – to relax. Every mother, irrespective of race, creed, or religious background, will sing to their children. Even when they cannot carry a tune.

We have always used music as a Tool.

Obviously, a truly powerful song recently unlocked itself to me, and in turn unlocked a door in my mind. The funny part is, the song in question had always been a song that I loved, even before it truly revealed itself to me. Now that it has, the fucker is stuck in my brain, and it’s setting down roots. Big, Sequoia-type roots. The song in question moves me in so many different ways(the changing and haunting melodies, the shifting time signatures, the chord progressions, the lyrical content, the bombast – and the utter fucking humility) that I find it impossible to dissect what it has done for to me. I’m actually at a loss for words. I’ve been sitting here, with every intention of just writing about this one song, and instead all of this other stuff is rushing right out of my head and into this document file, which will end up on this server. All of my thoughts seem like they are swirling around above my head, giggling and taunting me…”You see? It’s not so fucking easy to be the guy who thinks he can just kick some science on one singular song, is it, Mr. Writer Guy?

I hate it when my own mind taunts me.

The song feels like my life. Everyone knows that I am not like other people, and that I look at my entire life like it’s some spiritual/metaphysical journey. Not everyone knows how far I’ve gone to ensure that it is exactly that. I’ve studied things that other people wouldn’t even be able to define. I’ve purposely put myself into situations that have tested all of my boundaries – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. I have been relentless for over a decade now, in my quest for finding an acceptable level of understanding. It has always been this way, but it really became an earnest quest when my mother passed away in ’96. I opened myself up wide and deep, and made myself available to all that may come. Any bit of knowledge and wisdom I could find – I devoured and tried to assimilate into myself. I accepted the fact that I was a spiritual infant, and that everything I felt as if I had known was false. I granted myself clemency for my past misdeeds and misfortune, and I tried very diligently to forgive myself for all of it. I try to take every moment and every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Each day is a gift, and every second of every hour is precious and viable. People talk about being “born again” all the time, even though it’s usually in reference to someone becoming an Evangelical Sheeple. This song makes me feel that way, and that is precisely why I am probably coming off as if I am preaching about something. I’m just excited that I have been lucky and blessed enough to have something like this happen to me. An Auditory Epiphany, if you will.

This song takes me from birth, all the way to the end. This song is almost a complete encapsulation of my spiritual journey. This song freaks me the fuck on out, each and every time I listen to it. This song has so many metaphysical messages within it, that there are tiny parts of my mind that feel as though there are hidden secret triggers that are being tripped – as if the gentlemen who created it knew what the fuck they were doing. The movie that rolls along in my head when I listen to this song is peaceful, beautiful, and filled with a cool blue light(I sometimes see sound as colors – I’m sure I am not the only one who does this). This song feels like it is a gift, made just for me.

And that, is a beautiful feeling.

The payoff:

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Filed under nuggets of infinite wisdom, recycled posts from literati messiah, rock and motherfucking roll, who is sean?

Something From My Past Life…

*This was originally on my other site – the one that I’m not sure will ever come back from the dead or not.

And The D Train Kept A’Rollin…

“…Even now the details – before, during, and after – make me want to pluck my eyes out and pound dirt in the sockets. There are stories you don’t want to tell, and there are stories that scald your brainpan right down to the tongue at the mere thought of uttering. But you can’t NOT. Even if you wait until your skull is nothing but a charred and smoking husk, the truth will still be in there, squirming. At this point, there’s nothing left to do but let it out.

– Jerry Stahl, Permanent Midnight

That’s pretty much how I feel ninety-nine percent of the time. Like I have no fucking choice in the matter. If I don’t let it out, I’m going to burn from the inside out. A massive conflagration of secrets, lies, deceptive nastiness and horror. Stahl might have been talking about being a junkie, addicted to that nasty tar he pumped into his body for the better part of a decade – but I know what the fuck he’s actually riffing on.

The fucking TRUTH.

You know it’s going to be a difficult period of time in your life when you can’t even look yourself in the eye for a few days. The current feeling in my gut is not one that I am comfortable with at all.

It’s been a long line of totally rough(but obviously necessary) shit, running concurrent with a fucking ton of emotional upheavals, and there really is no dividing wall in sight for me to yank the wheel and smash the car into. Not that I really want to smash anything, it’s just a fleeting thought that pops up from time to time. I think everyone has these moments – little sparkling pieces of despair and frustration come hurtling out of nowhere, and the instinct to destroy yourself kicks into high gear. Ah, destruction. The be all end all. It’s always there, humming it’s incessant little tune into the receiver in my mind, a melody that can be really fucking traitorous and unforgiving.

My self-destructive nature lets me know all sorts of shit way before anyone else is able to see what’s going on with me. I can attribute that to my years of practice at hiding whatever the fuck it is that’s eating away at me from anyone and everything – usually until it’s too late, and nothing anyone says or does will be able to give me anything resembling insight, because I’ve already convinced myself of what’s about to happen. I’m an egomaniacal bastard like that, and I’m not about to make any excuses for it. I am who/what I am, and I am, for the most part, quite okay with me at this moment in time. Yes, there are the usual issues that surround me like a halo of flies – depression, fear, insecurities galore, a precocious teetering on the perch of madness/genius*, and a smattering of delusions that need to be dealt with accordingly. But – sidled right up next to those feelings are a bunch of new and different emotional responses like hope, self-belief, emotional empowerment, and the doozy of all motherfucking doozies – actual patience.

Unfortunately for me, these new sets of feelings are still so new to me that they have a tendency to confound and confuse me when they appear. It’s wild, to tell you the truth – one minute I am eyeballing the D Train rumbling into the station right in front of me, thinking “here you go, son – you can just step right off the fucking platform into oblivion and be done with all this bullshit that’s tearing you the fuck apart inside“, and the next I’m pretty much smiling and taking a deep breath – knowing deep inside of myself that there is nothing in this world that I cannot handle – and handle well. I just wish I knew how to balance these things out, so that the feeling of the earth beneath my feet wasn’t so shocking when it’s there. Being grounded has been a goal for a long fucking time, and now that it is starting to take place on the regular I find myself second-guessing it’s validity more often than not. Actually, it’s more like I second-guess what I already know, because sometimes I just don’t want to believe that I know what the fuck is going on.

This is why I used to use cocaine.

Now – I am not in any way desiring to do such a thing. That kind of self-destruction is dead and buried. But – in previous incarnations of my life, I would already be burning up my mucus membranes with the magical powers of the GNP of most of South America. As bad as I currently feel about my state of affairs, getting high on blow is not a fucking option.

Writing about it, on the other hand, is certainly on today’s menu.

I think the first time I did a line I was around fourteen or fifteen years old. I was friends with this crazy Mormon kid named David, who had an older brother that was the biggest fucking stoner on Planet Earth at the time – Jimmy Williams. This bastard would just show up wherever we were, just to fuck with his little brother and make our lives fucking miserable. He would just randomly start throwing punches at whomever was closest to him, and once he had you on the ground he’d start digging through your pockets for money, smokes, and whatever else he could cold jack from you. Jimmy once took the entire contents of my backpack out on the sidewalk outside the mall, only to start laughing hysterically at me for keeping an extra pair of socks in my bag. Then he broke my nose.

He was the kind of older brother I was fucking thankful I never had.

Jimmy ended up getting locked down during the summer between our freshman and sophomore years of high school, for some attempted robbery thing. I figured he’d probably watched Bad Boys(the one with Sean Penn – not that fucking Fresh Prince/Martin bullshit) too much, and wanted to push the envelope a little further. Either way, we decided that once he was gone, we were totally going to fucking ransack his room. And we did. And then we found the Colombian Marching Powder, hidden away in a corner of his sock drawer, right next to his really shitty collection of porn and a Polaroid of some girl sucking him off. Jimmy Williams enlightened me on many levels, y’all.

That first line felt like I was being let inside of some secret club, the kind where you had to know not only the double-secret handshake, but the kind that only the fucking coolest kids were whispering about – let alone being let in the door. That first line still lingers on in my memory, like a lover that you can’t shake off and find yourself obsessively thinking about when you rub one out. It’s deeper than muscle memory. It’s like some kind of imprint in my body’s chemistry now – stored and hidden away in the fat cells, waiting to spring up at the oddest moment and remind me of the soulless motherfucker I turned into when I was using the shit. Cocaine would be some kind of constant for me, like a niggling feeling in the corners of my mind, for more than a decade.

It was a torrid affair that thankfully had an ending, and I’ve never wanted to get back together to try and rekindle the Sean/cocaine dynamic for one fucking second.

The affair ended about two years after my mother passed away, in July of 1998. I had been using more and more, trying so fucking hard to keep my habit under the radar. I was working my ass off running a restaurant, pulling upwards of seventy hours a week, way over my head but somehow enjoying the ride more than anything I ever had. The co-owners of the joint were both fucking massive cokeheads, and they were both glad-handing me pieces to keep the place running smoothly. It was awesome – neither one of them knew the other was taking care of my habit, so I was getting a lot of blow for free on an almost daily basis. My staff knew, because they were all using, too. We’d be placing bets on who would freak the fuck on out first during Friday night dinner rushes, baiting each other and talking shit the whole time. Taking turns running to the office to do a little blast of god to keep the party atmosphere flowing. Sometimes there would be five or six people crammed into my office, sprawled out and jockeying for position, trying to snort at the lines all over my desk like it was a really fucking bizarre game of Cocaine Twister.

While all of this was going down, one of the co-owners was jacking money left and right to support his(and I guess in a roundabout way – my own as well) habit. We had purveyors cutting us off left and right, and I was spending far too much time on the phone with accountants and at the bank trying to keep them from padlocking us out of the place. I was trying to keep my nasty little secret away from my then-girlfriend and our roommate, and I was pretty successful until the day I was standing in line at the bank with almost ten grand in my pocket.

I had been sent to the bank to make some kind of good-will gesture, to deposit money into the main account in hopes of appeasing the financial institution that wanted to shut us the fuck down. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot, and decided “this is a good time to dip my car key into my stash, and do just a little bump“, thinking that would calm my nerves enough for me not to freak out holding on to that much cash. So, I did my little bump, and wandered into the bank to take care of the business at hand.

Standing in line, I started to feel a little woozy all of a sudden, like when you get up too fast and see all of those little black spots floating around in your peripheral vision – the lack-of-oxygen blues. I must have made some kind of sound, because the woman in line in front of me turned around and made this horrible face at me, like she had seen me dry-humping a statue of Jesus or something. Before I could even smirk at her, the entire room shifted up on me. Everything started to get this hazy, amber-hued look to it, like right after a torrential rain. And less than a second after that, the entire left side of my body started to pound and vibrate. I could feel my balls shriveling up and crawling inside my body, turtling up to get as far away from the scene of the impending crime as testicularly possible. I felt something pop in my head, and then the next thing I knew I was on the floor, frantic and borderline foaming-at-the-mouth. Everyone around me was taking two or three steps away from me, clutching at their purses and wallets like I was suddenly going to spring up with a Glock and shake everyone down on the spot. Me? I was trying to not shit and piss all over myself in public, and gasping for breath and looking for any kind of sign that I was not in the middle of The Big One Fred Sanford was always crying about.

That’s right about the time I felt a hand reach down and grab me by the sleeve.

It was my goofball neighbor, Brian. This kid came out of nowhere to save the fucking day. He just happened to walk into the bank seconds before everything went haywire on me, and was already on his way toward me to see if he could cut in line. He started trying to pull me up off the ground, but it was like there was colostomy bag glue holding me there on the carpet. He gave me this look like “dude, you need to get the fuck up, now“, and that is exactly what I then did – I got the fuck on up and let him brace me a bit so I could right myself. He asked me if I needed to go to the hospital, and I just nodded real slow and tried not to fall down again.

He pretty much carried me to his car, this kid. He was as strong as an ox, a huge fleshy boy, but I was dead fucking weight. He finally asked/screamed at me “what the fuck are you on, man?” and I just immediately evened right out. I became calm and lucid, and told him that I had just done a little bump of blow and this kind of thing has never happened to me before. I told him that taking me to the hospital was of utmost importance, because part of me felt like I was having a fucking heart attack and I was certain death was coming for me. So, we jumped in his car and took off, running mad red lights with me screaming bloody fucking murder at him to get there faster(in retrospect, that kid was a fucking saint). It felt like I was in a really bad Afterschool Special – “Cocaine Will Fucking Kill You, Motherfucker” came to mind, as did “Potential Can Be Wiped The Fuck Out In One Quick Snort“.

I could see the Emergency Room entrance up ahead of us, and told Brian not to fucking stop – barrel on through and get me to the curb, basically. By the time he was twenty feet from the entrance, I was already opening the door to burst out and run inside to my salvation.

I ran up to the Charge/Triage Desk as fast as I could, and yammered at the woman behind the counter:

You have to fucking help me! I’m having a massive fucking heart attack, and I am not ready to die like this, I’m only 27!!!

It felt like ten whole minutes before she looked up from whatever the fuck she was doing. Eternity. I could feel my time slipping away as she slowly lifted her eyes into mine, with this look on her face that was a cross between “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me” and “when you die(and you motherfucking will) I will rifle through your pockets for whatever drugs you have on you, stupid whiteboy“. When she finally did speak, she had this nasty condescending smirk on her grill, and said to me “You are NOT having a heart attack young man, because you would not be able to talk to me if you were. Calm down, take a seat, and we’ll help you in a minute“.

I just stood there, paralyzed, with sweat puddling up in my shoes, my mind bouncing all of this ridiculous drug-addled lunacy off the walls in my head…

How could she dismiss me so easily? Why was she so fucking mean and cruel? Why the fuck did I do that little bump? Why did that little bump set me off when I could sit and do an eightball in a night and be able to go to sleep ten fucking minutes after doing a huge rail? This shit has to be the purest cocaine I’ve ever done for a little bump to make my heart explode in my fucking chest! I’m gonna fucking die here, in this ghetto fucking hospital in a shitty part of Phoenix, Arizona, 27 years old and an entire lifetime ahead of me! I am going to fucking kill the motherfucker who gave me this piece! This is bullshit, and my girlfriend is going to leave me, and hire her mother’s ex-husband and his fucking greasy biker friends to kill me! I am so fucked.

Nurse Meanie McMeanerson saw me standing there freaking out, and came over and took me by the arm, leading me into an exam room. She calmly sat me on the edge of a gurney, and made me take off my shirt so she could slip the blood pressure cuff on my arm. All while this was going on, my mind is rattling around in my head like a cracked-out gerbil in one of those wheels, each thought slamming into the next like comets hitting the Sun. While she’s taking my pressure, she hands me a glass of water, along with three little white pills. I didn’t even need to ask her what the fuck they were, because I know Xanax when I see it.

You want to tell me what you took, because the doctors are going to need to know in case it interacts poorly with whatever they want to give you to calm you down. Your heart rate is 240, and you need to breathe, to relax“.

I told her everything. I told her that I had been using cocaine pretty heavily in the last few months, and that it seemed to somehow even everything out around me, The Great Equalizer – making me feel like I was not in any kind of pain. I told her that since my mother died, I had been hiding all sorts of shit from everyone in my life, from my father, my girlfriend, my boss, my friends, myself. I told her that when I couldn’t find cocaine, I would go out and do horrible and despicable things to procure it. I told her that I would go to gay bars and hustle unsuspecting motherfuckers, because everyone knows gay guys have the best cocaine. I told her that I thought about robbing dealers, because they couldn’t call the cops on me, right? I told her that I didn’t want to die, and that I knew when I was on the floor of the bank, doing The Flounder, that this was the last time I would ever use coke in my life, that my love affair with the little white powder that made everything better – was over.

And somehow, saying all of this shit out loud to some stranger – who ten minutes earlier I wanted to pummel to death – was calming me down. My heart rate was stabilizing. My eyesight seemed to come back into focus. My balls still throbbed, but they dropped back out of my body to their normal place of residence. I could feel the sweat drying all over my body, crystalline and salty. It was as if each confession I made released more of the pressure from my body, and I was freeing myself from whatever it was that had taken hold of me.

The whole time that I am emotionally throwing up all over this woman, there was a social worker standing in the shadows of the room, lurking and observing me. When I finally stopped for a second, grabbing at my temples and starting to let the tears come flowing out, she came out of the shadows. When she put her hand on my arm, I could feel that she knew – this was my fucking grief. This was what I was burying inside of me, and it decided that day to come clawing and crawling out of my psyche once and for all. The cocaine did what it was supposed to do for long enough. My mind could no longer be numbed by what I was putting into my body.

The fucking TRUTH was ready to come into the light.

I’ve never done another line of cocaine, nor have I even had a passing interest in it. For the first couple of years it was hard for me to even watch a movie with blow in it. But now, well, now I can be in a room with people who are doing it and not even have a wistful or lustful thought to join in on their fun. I don’t have any of that nostalgic longing for days gone by. Cocaine and I broke the fuck on up, and we’re both much better off for it. We had a good run, some laughs, and a bunch of fucking hilarious hijinks that would make for some interesting stories if I ever decide to commit myself to writing them. I’m pretty sure the sporadic panic attacks that I suffer are a direct result of the flood of chemicals cocaine used to cause in my brains chemistry, because I never had them before I used it.

I guess they are my souvenir T-Shirt. I Went Crazy On The Cocaine And All I Got Were These Lousy Panic Attacks.

Part of me knows, that writing is now my cocaine. My valve to release all of the shit that boils inside of me, to break loose the parts that won’t break free of their own accord, to pass them out of me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever really be a writer for real, but I am very sure that I’ll never be able to stop writing. Whenever my world starts to fall apart around me, my first instinct now is to write it out of me. To commit feeling to page/document file/server. To make sure that I cut the cadaver open and really examine what’s on the inside.

I’m glad I’m finally starting to realize that, because it sure beats staring down that D Train. Right?

*I’m not saying that I believe that I am some sort of genius in the realm of motherfuckers that create huge and sweeping changes in the path of humanity – I’m not a fucking blowhard moron(*cough* *cough*) that’s completely ruled by my own ego. I’m just saying that everyone is a genius in their own special way, and that is something that I have always believed. There are things that people in this world can do that blow my mind every time it happens, and the only word that comes to mind for me in that moment is genius. I suppose the word genius can be supplanted by unique or brilliant, but being the “150% or zero” kind of cat that I am – genius fits. A neurosurgeon is just as much of a genius as your mechanic, your pot dealer, your friendly neighborhood barista, the Asian massage parlor woman who doesn’t even ask before she stimulates your prostate, and maybe even your fucking shrink. They each do something that most people might not be able to do, and they (hopefully) do it better than anyone you know. To me – that’s pure fucking genius.

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