We worked on a hole together yesterday. She has been at this one for a good while now, so it has morphed into something of a tunnel over time, and although I certainly do not fancy dirt beneath my nails or insects of any sort, she was rapidly growing weary, though fiercely determined nevertheless. Her resoluteness made for such a beautifully inspirational image that inevitably strummed the strings of my swooning heart, so together we burrowed. Perhaps she, too, is worried about this year’s twister season. Perhaps she overheard me discussing how I planned to duct tape the seven of us to one of the trees and figured she could come up with a better place for all of us to take refuge.
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Perhaps the greatest love…. (story)
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It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone. -John Steinbeck
To Whom It May Concern,
I received your email earlier. I wish I could somehow escape this harrowing sense of resentment I have come to harbor over the last couple of weeks, but I am having an intensely difficult time coming to terms with the way our relationship has shifted over the years. The last two, in particular, have been tremendously unsettling.
I composed this blog at least six different ways, one of which laid both of our shit so bare that I think I eventually would have come to regret allowing the radius of my bitterness to bear an entirely unnecessary sort of vastness, and though I mostly intend to approach this from a different angle, I will go ahead and expose a few of my more abounding inadequacies, because I think it is important that you know that I bear a fair amount of regret and shame where it concerns the way I have, on a number of occasions, been careless with your generosity and perhaps even selected a few courses of action with something of a shrewd and unfair guile of which I never before would have accused myself. You have, for as long as I can remember, filled in the gaping holes of my shortcomings. I am fast-approaching 30 and you still pay my car insurance. I fear I’d stumble into a tizzy swivet and perhaps faint, were it otherwise. You pay one or ten (I honestly don’t have a clue.) of my student loans, one of which I basically stole your identity to obtain, a mistake after which I felt incredibly guilty but still proceeded to undergo a breast augmentation with at least a quarter of that money. Also, I went on a snowboarding trip around that time…. likely also on you. You, for nearly all of my life, made it a point to prevent me from ever enduring any real financial woes. There were times, here and there, when I would falter or be absolutely and utterly irresponsible, but you were always there to make certain I never had to fall very far. Much of my rapid ascent towards materialism had to do with my complete lack of confidence and quest to find any and every way to embody the glamour and beauty I felt I was lacking. Some of it was perhaps more to do with my subconscious confidence that you would always be there to pick up my slack. I took advantage of you. Admittedly, I was a selfish shit sometimes. I was making a good deal of money and spending a good deal more. You were extraordinary in more ways than one. I will leave it at that.
For the better part of my life you were so present and involved, always making it a point to keep all of us happy and connected. You needed us as much as we needed you. Our successes were your successes… Now, it all seems quite the opposite.
That last minute engagement that prevented you from being here for me on a day that felt so monumental after the anguish and despair of the last year was not an altogether unimportant one. Of this, I am aware. I would never expect that you should be here for me at the emotional expense of anyone else. Furthermore, had your particular engagement actually coincided with my run Sunday, I would have insisted that you stay home, but that was not the case at all. In fact, the two commitments were on separate days. In addition, and I felt and still very much feel awful for having done this, I googled your engagement, because the nature of what you had going on was not lining up with the time frame you delineated. What I learned was that my suspicions were entirely justified, because the thing that you said was, for whatever reason, not taking place until Saturday evening, actually took place at 2pm. I cannot tell you how hurtful it was to have my suspicions confirmed.
The thing is Dad, I realize I no longer live only a few hours down the road. I am geographically inconvenient. i get that, so I knew you were not particularly enthusiastic about making the trip, but it always bothers me when you make mention of money or “not being able to afford” a few days in a hotel, because a) I lived with you for 18 years and am not totally oblivious to what one of your paychecks looks like and b) According to Facebook, someone received a new laptop just last month, compliments of guess who? You don’t remember? That’s right. It was you…. and said gesture is honestly admirable and not unlike something I would do. The often altruistic way about you and your desire to give give give… perhaps, at least to some degree, are characteristics that are sort of fossilized in the gene pool, and I certainly do not grudge you your goodwill. I only feel betrayed by your abounding excuses.
I believe in my heart that the man that I once knew would have found a way to get to me no matter what. He’d've climbed into a time machine or bound through hoops… hired a magician or found a way to teleport. Would it have been easy? Not likely. Exhausting? Of course, but I needed you here.
At the end of the day, Dad, even if your engagement really had been Saturday evening, there was still enough time for you to make it to the race. It was your decision not to come, and it broke my heart, and I can forgive your decorated truths and miniature embellishments, but you will never be able to erase the weight of your absence. Parts of yesterday felt impossibly magical… surreal, but I could not help but feel holes everywhere, and it was difficult to find solace when my eyes and heart were so desperate to happen upon those few missing faces, one and a half of whom could not be there, two for whom my eyes scanned tirelessly, nevertheless. The run was bittersweet, Dad.
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I do not so much dabble in self-pity, but over the last year I have come face to face with death on more than one occasion, but I wanted very much to survive. Then, there were a few times when I was ready for the world to swallow me, as the pain and sadness were more than I thought I could bear. My affliction, at times, felt impossible, and my sense of loss has been great. In spite of anything and everything, I made my way through better than 13 miles yesterday… without you.
You, as far as I can tell, no longer even resemble the man that I remember… but you will be happy to know that I, as a result of the person that I once knew, love with all of my soul and put my whole heart into any and every endeavor. I am faithful (sometimes in a weird way), and I am honest (even when the truth is difficult). Yesterday’s accomplishment was, in part, a reflection of some aspect of the person I remember you to be… of the way I have seen you work so hard to make your life happen… to make certain I never had to struggle… of the way you care… the way you love. For that, I am eternally grateful.
The Little Engine That Could
My world feels just a bit off tilt at the moment… my stars unaligned and my reality constrained. Nevertheless, I, thanks to a few truly remarkable individuals and through the loss of a few immense pieces of my soul, have been afforded something of an invincibility that somehow carried me to this place wherein lies triumph and survival. Thanks to those pieces that belong in those gaping spaces, I have found the courage to live and love my way around the holes and the sadness. My broken self-regard is slowly being sewn back together with everlasting love, loss, and fairy-colored thread. Love and sadness, in my experience, seem semi-identical twins, infiltrating the same heart from very different angles and at varying degrees, both inciting strength and broadening character at equal measure…. both profound. I am grateful for the likes of either and willing to embrace both with all of my soul.
List of most recent accomplishments:
1. Go to prison. Don’t die. Check.
2. Be afflicted with a harrowing eating disorder. Live through it. Check.
3. Pedestrian vs. Truck and walk away. Check.
4. Find love in the most frustratingly impossible and unconventional places. Super check.
5. Touch the lives of at least a few…. work in progress.
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As I lay here staring up at the trees, my mind cannot help but reflect on the utter lunacy that has surrounded every facet of this day. In retrospect, I suppose I went above and beyond in the way of laying the groundwork for what ultimately and inevitably led to every step and misstep that by and by catapulted me high up into the air. The phone strapped to my shoulder says it is 6pm. I am not certain just how long I have been lying here, but, given the sudden silence of the world around me and prominence of the sound of my thoughts, I am convinced that the world has managed to somehow pause itself anyway.
As is almost always the case, it was still dark for the first few hours of my morning. On those rare occasions when I awake to sunlight flooding through the window I tend to feel very anxious and unproductive, but this morning began without incident and my day was off to a very mundane and ordinary beginning. I like mornings. I fancy the repetitive and sequential way of them. Most days, by 8am I have tackled a bit of reading, a bigger bit of writing, coffee, breakfast, dogs, workout, shower and oftentimes a wealth of other random odds and ends. Today, following most of the aforementioned (or perhaps somewhere amidst the aforementioned), I was overcome with one too many emotions, and as I sat downstairs tap dancing with my fingers on the keyboard of my laptop, I soon began to realize that there was no hope of my hands happening upon a way to keep up with the dash in my mind.
Weekends tend to be a bit more difficult. Weekends are when I feel the most alone. As a consequence, I often feel it best that I never stop moving. This morning, when my thoughts and feelings were elevated to a place that could not be managed by simply pouring my soul out onto paper or my computer, I knew I needed to move, for if I continued to sit there I was likely to implode. Certain emotions, when combined, tend to become combustible.
These are the moments when music and dance seem to be the most powerful forces that can either be used to intensify my feelings or, if necessary, counter them. Not knowing which way I wanted to go, I grabbed my phone, clicked ‘shuffle’ after choosing one of the most random playlists (thrown together many, many moons ago), and headed out to take on a task that anyone who knows me at all would find absolutely bananas. I decided, after nearly a year, to mow the yard… and we are not talking a ’20×20-I can see the blemishes on my neighbor’s face’ size yard. We are talking a ‘two football games, an NA meeting, and a touch of basket weaving could all be taking place at once’ size yard…. and we are not talking a voice-activated lawn mower with an accelerator and a propeller and a leather prince-like armchair like the ones they may or may not have in prison. We are talking a Playskool plastic with Barbie tires hand me down push lawn mower. Atop that particular misfortune is the fact that I have a dog who digs regularly and either 10,000 gophers or one really effing busy gopher. ‘Twas a bigger undertaking than one may be inclined to assume. Nevertheless, I had a wealth of nervous/sad/overwhelmed/happy/worried/pining/aching energy and I needed a sufficient channeling zone. Nothing was going to deter me.
Then I remembered the wasps in the shed where the almost-grass-cutter just so happens to live. In short, the next few minutes went down something like this:
1. Sprint to the door as a test run.
2. Run away.
4. Sprint to the door and unfasten the lock.
5. Run away.
6. Sprint to the door and open it. Make sure to cover areas of exposed skin. Make face and ears a priority.
7. Run away.
8. Sprint to the entrance and expose hand only long enough to grab grass cutter and yank it with a force that will hopefully cause it to roll a decent enough distance from the shed.
9. Run away.
10. Try and start mower and become aware that it is, unfortunately, totally bereft of gas. Gas can is in shed.
11. Fuck it. Gun it. Get in. Get out. Don’t die.
12. Open gas can.
13. Gas can is childproof.
14. Think like an adult.
15. See if anything unscrews.
16. Pour gas all over everything.
17. Kick a field goal with the gas can.
18. Go get the gas can and try harder.
The not-so-comical truth is that I was likely fumbling so much because I was drowning in despair. I continued onward and upward nevertheless. I am sure I looked extraordinarily peculiar to passersby, as I was wearing a hot pink Urban Outfitters muscle tee, Victoria’s Secret homemade Australian cropped pants, and black flips (I don’t want to mess up any of my shoes!)… and my hair is in an untamed afrotastic state, which I suppose is what may have compelled the neighbor to come over in the first place. I caught sight of him a few times within the first hour of my endeavor and, as always, my soul winced and I had to look away. Looking back on it all, I must have looked completely mad sprinting all over the place with the lawn mower. I was in the zone. Because I was hoping I could convince the music to be loud enough to drown out my thoughts, I had gone with my earmuff-looking noise-canceling headphones. I cannot imagine how ridiculous I looked…. running and playing the drums with one hand…
As I mentioned, I was tenaciously resolute and unwaveringly focused, so my blood froze and my heart seemed to stop beating when I looked up to find him sitting there grinning at the entrance to my property. I released my grip on the mower and slid my headphones down onto my shoulders, slowly making my way over to the place where he was waiting. He briefly gave me a hard time about my attire and expressed his concern about snakes. I wanted to tell him that I found him far more relentless and dangerous than any deadly reptile. Instead, I thanked him for his concern. He offered to come pick up a giant pile of tree branches and such that I have come to regard as a sort of decorative addition to my yard. Not wanting to be altogether insensitive, unappreciative, and stubborn, I accepted his offer. The thing is, I can feel his remorse. He will never say as much, but I know he is sorry.
He tells me he and his wife have just learned that she has esophageal cancer and she can no longer eat. Her sustenance is provided intravenously now, and she has months or less to live. My heart sank somewhere beneath the earth. I have yet to come to terms with the idea of eternal rest. He has a very hard and apathetic exterior, but I have seen the way he is gentle with her. Everyone loves differently. Everyone lives differently. My heart bleeds compassion for their woes. As much as his presence pains me, I cannot help but feel compelled to reach out… and so I offer to make myself available in anyway he/they may need in the weeks to come. Life can be so cruel.
As he makes his way back down the road, I secure my headphones around my ears again. “What did I do wrong?” he sings to me. I think, whether exacerbated by the music or not, the weeping was inevitable. His presence forced me to be faced with a reality that I have to hold at bay. To embrace the enormity of that sadness is to willingly sacrifice my sanity.
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Not knowing what else to do, I carried on. With only one giant square left, it began to rain. What a vivid and powerful memory emerged inside of me as a consequence of the rain. I could feel myself breathing in the same ecstasy that I did that day… exhaling those very same sorrows. We were over a mile away from the prison mowing alongside the highway when it began to rain. I remember being at the end of the line of women pushing lawn mowers and carrying weed-eaters and blowers. That was the way of it. At the front of the line were the self-propelled mowers… then the less commercialish ones… then the weed-eaters and blowers. I just sort of stood back and watched as everyone reveled in that moment…. that sense of freedom. For many of us, it had been nearly a year since the last time we had been caught in any downpour. Now, rather than trying to escape the misadventure, everyone was embracing the blessing. I remember smiling. I remember the raindrops washing away my turmoil… even if only for a moment.
I felt that today… that bliss… that self-transcending shift that repaired the morning’s brokenness.. and I finished my chore whilst dancing on a breeze that was carrying both me and the rain.
The Truman Show
I sent out a few texts to confirm tomorrow’s lineup. One is a consultation. “Yes,” she responded. “I am looking forward to it. I actually drove by this morning to make sure I could find your place.”
SUPER FUCKING MENTAL BRAKES. WWWHHHHHHAAATTTTT?! I spent the better part of the morning looking like a total nutbag mcgooberschwizzle. Holy muffin tin! Did she see me in the front yard looking like Devin’s totally rugged and unattractive (perhaps insane) alter-ego?!
It’s interesting, because, once upon a time, it became very commonplace for clients to enter without knocking. The door was always open. At that time, however, I had been working with the same group of people with very few variations for better than five years. I had, over time, developed a very strong rapport with each of my clients, so neither the scope of my investment nor my level of dignity and professionalism were ever in question. My home life had become, at least to some degree, very entwined with my professional life…. so the occasional (though super unprofessional) my-girlfriend-tends-to-be-under-the-distinct-impression-that-clothes-are-optional/not-required mishap was not necessarily totally mortifying. If anything, those little awkward imbroglios found me a little amused most times…. for all of us. I was of the ‘that’s what you get for walking around without a shirt’ mindset…. or ‘that’s what you get for walking in unannounced.’ I worked with some truly amazing individuals, and when one works from home, there is a certain degree of exposure (perhaps overexposure) that inevitably ensues. I had to be rather circumspect in many ways, because I was ultimately responsible for my own actions as well as those of my animals and anyone else living under the same roof as I at the time. I imagine it was frustrating at times to be on the other end, living a sort of life on display that wasn’t necessarily written in the initial fine print. She perhaps had not bargained for a consistent lack of quietude, and I was grateful for that particular aspect of her character. I was living my dream inside of something of a fitness frat house, and I loved that. I have missed the thrill of it all for so long now, which makes me over the moon about everything falling into place, but it didn’t occur to me how quickly my life here would transition from altogether secluded to a bit more on display. Ready or not, here we go.
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I skateboard with each of them two or three times a day. Marley always gives me that irresistible pleading gaze, hoping with all of his soul that he will convince me to let him have a go at it. Problem is, he is lazy as shit and inevitably leaves me to carry his deconditioned ass home… every time. So, more often than not, I find other ways to keep him active. This evening, however, his gaze was particularly magnetic and I could not escape the charm of his winsome and endearing stare. Not wanting to be burdened with the inevitable travail, I opted to use the splitter leash, whereby I fastened he and Kate together, figuring her sprint would be a moderate enough pace. My suspicions were confirmed as we made our way down the road, Kate preventing Marley from pausing to pick daisies and such but not totally wearing him down. I hopped off the board and did the usual about-face, ready to make my way back to the house. Once again, the journey began flawlessly.
Then, for reasons I, in the time I have spent lying here in the road, have yet to fathom, the ass wizard down the street discharged a rifle in his front yard as we passed by. The disturbance sent Marley into a tizzy swivet, catapulting him across the road, right in my path.
I don’t fall. Not ever. Not ever ever. I believe I have made mention on a couple occasions of my abounding, science/physics-defying coordination… but the board stopped and my body continued moving at a good 20mph. I, having been a gymnast for a good while in my younger years, have been conditioned to avoid breaking my fall with my hands/wrists, so, as I flew like superdevin through the air, I turned my head, tucked my shoulder, and bore the impact with mostly the right side of my body.
So this is where I am…. looking up at the trees… pondering the wildness of my day. I wonder if the shooter is laughing… if this was sort of what he had in mind. I am grinning now.
Now I’m giggling a bit. I wonder if anything is broken. Kate is kissing me. I am definitely bleeding from at least 4-7 different places. I can feel it. I can move all ten of my toes. That’s good news. I can move the right foot. Thank Heavens. That is the one I am most worried about. I just need to make it to Sunday unscathed.
I am standing now… surveying the extent of the damage.. still laughing. Oh, what a day.
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My apologies for the tremendous delay in getting this one knocked out. I have been busy pining and healing and creating a comprehensive prescription that will enable you and The Beast to realize all of your ambitions. My bad. SAY SOMETHING!!
Your Key to Longevity
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It is no one’s responsibility to make it a point to fully grasp or comprehend the breadth or depth of my shittastic asstarded issues. They are my own and I do as much as I can in the way of preventing ripples of perturbation or distress, which is why I sometimes feel as though I may have fared a bit better as a gypsy-nomad on a remote island where my heart, composed of equal parts dancing daisies, bobbing baby seals, tiny pink tutus, feathers floating in the wind, bubbles, roasted marshmallows, plush things, nuns, and yarn, would not be so likely to break and my Darkness would be less susceptible to abject exacerbation.
Good intentions adorned with ignorance and thoughtlessness can be as dangerous as depravity. Good intentions have, for the last four days, poisoned my quasi-soundness. The thing is, I am well aware of the fact that those few people who I keep near and dear tend to make it a point to tread very delicately around my aforementioned convoluted shitstick afflictions. For this, I am both remorseful and grateful. I realize it mustn’t be easy, and I know that her gesture was in no way meant to be harmful… and I’ll live. She/it just sort of inadvertently created a complex where one didn’t before exist, which is irritating as shit because I can take a step back and recognize that I am being ridiculous. Nevertheless, I am left to shadowbox yet another demon… another manifestation of my omnipresent nonsense. Bleh.
Her mom sells NeriumAD, which is alot of fun things that can essentially be summed up as age-defying components. She and her mother both swear by this, but I knew from the moment I learned what precisely it is that I wanted nothing to do with it. This is partly to do with the fact that, years ago, a now former client of mine introduced me to a line of skin care products exclusive to Neiman Marcus that is a) inarguably the most magical shit on the planet, b) highly addictive like Dance Moms (wtf) or puppy breath and c) more expensive than a castle mortgage payment and more exorbitant than shitty credit bearer’s annual percentage rates (I wouldn’t know about this or what it is like to pay $60,000 for a $34,000 car… now worth a whopping 8…. hundred…. ten-dollar bills). Her mother, however, being the ever kindly woman she is, sent her with a bottle just for me. I know this trick. I know about selling tactics. Is this knowledge helpful in any way where it concerns the likes of image-refining magical elixirs? FUCK. No (said with my arms crossed and a child-like squnched face). So… what did I do? I stared at the fancy little box with a wary and condescending glare for two days. Each time it would enter my field of vision my eyes would go to slits…. but then… that self-loathing ass wizard in my mind started doing a little waltz, and I thought about the before and after photos that evidenced the wondrousness of Nerium… and I looked at my face in the mirror from a distance… and then I moved a bit closer.
And then a bit closer.
And then my breath was creating something of a haze before me on the glass.
And then I saw them.
I, four days ago, learned that I have somewhere in the neighborhood of eight trillion tiny wrinkles adorning my face… my eyes… my forehead… my mouth. It has taken ages for me to come to terms with the prominence of my thinkle. Who knew I had so many tiny thinkles?!
I retreated to my bedroom for a bit of self-pity, a span of time after which I returned to the restroom to grovel with subservience, taking the pretty little box and emptying out the bottle, totally prepared to pull the trigger.
So, as much I wanted nothing to do with Nerium in the first place, I have now shifted to a take-my-nerium-and-I-will-destroy-your-soul frame of mind. I’m going to look eighteen again. Just you wait. No, I’m lying. I tossed it. I am above that bullshit now. Or am I?
Had I been afforded the option of NeriumAD or none the wiser, I’d've opted for none the wiser…. at least at this point.
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