“It’s funny / because it’s not”

My dreams are so vivid, so passionate. How many times in the past year or so have I woken myself up because I was laughing or crying or screaming in my dreams? It’s a lot. I’ve chronicled many of them here. I have such passionate dreams; such life in my tiny deaths.

I’ve wondered frequently why. Why do I have such deep, emotion-laden dreams? Why can I read syntax, feel contours, and understand inside jokes in short films my mind plays for me when I should be resting? Why do I unravel great mysteries and tackle life’s biggest hurdles while I fitfully wrestle around on the couch in the dark?

And, furthermore, why is it referred to as fitfully? Because I’ve been sleeping fitfully for the better part of a year and I am no more full of fit. If anything, I’m gaining weight.

Sorry, but I can’t pass up a terrible pun.

Anyway, I think I’ve finally figured out why my dreams are so intense: it’s because my waking life isn’t.

 

Bad Dream.jpg

 

I lead a predominantly passionless existence. I care for few, I get excited by little, and I anticipate close to nothing. I wake up everyday in a world where Donald J Trump is our President, so already I feel like I’m living in an existentialist cartoon, and coupled with the fact that I fear that all of human existence will come tumbling down with ne’er more than a Tweet, I can’t bring myself to feel anything in this world.

I used to look at the state of our current trajectory and think “Well, it can’t get any worse.” Now, every day, it does. Every day I hear something worse. Every day he says something more ridiculous, the rift between neighbors grows deeper, truth and integrity mean less and less, and the Doomsday clock needles closer and closer to oblivion.

So now I face each day telling myself “Well, it can’t get any better,” and I just live like that.

 

Every.

Fucking.

Day.

 

It takes a conflagration to make me angry. It takes an ethereal miracle to make me smile. These statements seem hyperbolic, and they purposely are, because the level of dramatic tension I am living in demands nothing short of cataclysmic interpersonal conflicts relegated to Mark Burnett-level programming. The world I am living in is the direct descendent of desensitization, isolationism, and screen-worship. I am living in the Millennial Nightmare and there is no escape. To invest in it, feel it, or even acknowledge it would mean certain abandonment of the human condition.

So, no, I don’t give a fuck. About anything. Not because I’m uncaring, but because eating of the fruit currently offered me is assured suicide, and I refuse.

My lifespan is a horror film and this is the part where the squeamish should shut their eyes, and I count myself among them. I’m forty years old, so by my Syd Field-timeline, we should be toward the beginning of the third act. At this point, the conflict is at its apex, setting the stage for the protagonist to clench its fists and prepare for the climax. It’ll be hairy, so as the viewer, go ahead and keep your eyes shut for a while. Peer through your fingers occasionally to ensure you don’t miss the best shit, but rest assured that soon the film will return to the character-driven affirmation that you tuned in for.

Soon, I believe, I will return to a life that leaves my dreams pale in comparison. For now, for the time being, I will close my eyes and wait for this Nightmare to end, and live in my dreams, if need be.

 

I like this song.

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“Pieces of man / I’m learning the hard way what I am”

I Dont Feel Any Different

Every day seems to get a little better. Hard work is paying off, accomplishments are piling up, little victories are being recorded in the footnotes.

And I feel nothing.

Success is never easy on me; any type of achievement is met with a depressive dip in effort and decline in productivity. Nothing life can offer me seems to pull me from this funk. It seems the more I have, the less I want.

The movie I spent 5% of my life working on is streaming on Amazon now.

I wrote a new script for a short film. I’d like to make it but I don’t know anyone here who works on that sort of thing.

I always seem to want to be doing whatever I’m not.

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“Because you’re god-damned ugly, Bob.”

ugly bob

This is what I think about when I’m not asleep:

One of my favorite comedy lines is from an episode of South Park, called “Not Without My Anus”. It is actually the April Fool’s Day episode from early on in the series and doesn’t feature any of the series regulars but rather those of the show-within-the show, Terrance & Phillip. The episode features the players Terrance, Phillip, Celine Dion, Scott, Saddam Hussein, and Ugly Bob. The line is said by either Terrance or Phillip (they’re deliberately interchangeable) to Ugly Bob in regards to his appearance and is as follows:

“Ugly Bob, your face looks like someone tried to put out a forest fire with a screwdriver.”

What makes this line so funny is how often it revisits your brain for comedic effect. When you first hear it, it is completely nonsensical and so you laugh at it. Then the portion of your brain that demands reason gets upset with you, and so you try to make sense of it. This causes you to visualize someone trying to put out a forest fire with a screwdriver which is ostensibly ridiculous and so you laugh again. Then you try to translate that into a remark about someone’s appearance and it doesn’t so you laugh again. Then you realize you’re trying to make sense of this completely nonsensical line and you laugh at yourself. And then you realize that the writers probably knew all this would happen and you have to marvel at their comedic mastery and you laugh again. At this point, you’ve already laughed at the joke five times.

Then you have to imagine a horrid man with deep divots in his face from screwdriver stabs and you feel awful for having laughed, and then you think that can’t be the image that the writers meant to convey, nor the logical conclusion of any sane person in trying to make sense of it, so you return to the notion that the line was always meant to mean nothing and you frankly shouldn’t have thought so hard about it. Then you laugh.

So, yeah, that’s the funniest line I can think of in a comedy vehicle.

Here’s a video I made.

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“He’d hoped to be remembered as the one/ who told his men to turn around”

IMG_1735

Fjorgen, bitches!

There’s too much in my brain. So, here’s a lot of it:

I think the thing I like most about Krab with a “k” is that it tastes like nothing. There are so many flavors out there that one could inadvertently emulate and you’ve got to be trying really fucking hard to make a product that tastes like nothing.

Police Officer: (getting ready to search my car) Is there anything I should know about this vehicle?
Me: It’s a Prius; prolonged exposure can cause liberalism.
Police Officer: I’ll make the jokes here. Or Bernie Sanders; he’s really the only one that’s qualifi-GODDAMNIT!!!

I told myself twenty minutes ago that I was going to go to sleep. Then I opened up the laptop and streamed a comedy album and started stuffing my face with snacks. I am a bloated engine that runs on bad decisions.

Sometimes I want to text or message friends but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to just say “hi”; it’s such a loaded message. But I want to start a conversation because I enjoy conversing with them. But I can’t think of what to say so I say nothing. Just sit in the dark and shove four more Cheese Balls in my mouth at a time.

I wanted to write a review for Deadpool 2 but I didn’t know how to start it. Because it’s a sequel, my thoughts toward it start in medias res, so I stared at a blank screen, knowing I couldn’t begin an article with “I know your friends say it’s better than the first one but it’s not. It’s just as good, which is really good, but it’s no Godfather II. Better than III, but not better than the first film. Let’s just get that out of the way now.”

A co-worker and I talked about mortality at work today. She says she thinks about it a lot, and being essentially atheist, she has to believe that there’s nothing, though that really bums her out. So she has to imagine something else: maybe there is a heaven, maybe there is another plane of existence wherein we observe, maybe reincarnation is a thing. I told her scientifically that’s not likely. What we know as consciousness is merely electrical impulses in our brains and when our batteries die there’s no on-board memory so even if we do “go somewhere” or “become something else” we won’t have any cognizance of it.
She, uh, she didn’t seem to like those answers.
I should really have a newspaper column or something.

I miss me. Who I used to be. A co-worker came in the other day to start her shift as Metallica was playing on the staff radio, and she remarked how it brought her back not only to a different time but to the geographical memories of that time. Hearing the music transported her back to North Carolina where she lived with her husband at the time and his military buddies and they’d blast that music in overpriced trucks with overpriced aftermarket sound systems looking for a wild night of forgetting or throwing money at women and calling it love. It made me think of music and places and fool-hardy notions I’d once held, and what change in the wind would bring me back to those roads or rooms or salty-sea air kisses.
I hardly recognize that young fool anymore. If I met him today, would I know who he was/is? Would I even know myself?

I had planned to write a thousand word flash fiction piece for submittal to the Masters Review but I couldn’t think of what to write. I thought perhaps dramatizing one of my crazy apocalypse dreams, or expanding this piece I wrote years ago in a journal I’ve since lost about a man dealing with a woman with mental illness and how it taxes him. But I never do that anymore. I don’t do what I want, or manifest my will, or even do what I say I will. I do anything but. I stream comedy albums (that are just okay) and stuff my face and stand on feet that are begging for rest and watch my belly grow large in real-time as the mousepad of my laptop disappears under an expanding American flag. If that’s not a metaphor for everything wrong then I don’t know what is.

I worked 12 and a half hours today. I shouldn’t have had to, but three and a half people didn’t show up for work, so I worked longer and harder.

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“I was angry when I met you / I think I’m angry still”

feral

I am a wreck. I’ve damaged both of my thumbs, and I only have two.

I’m sleeping more, eating more; it’s clearly depression, the same that had me sleeping little and eating less a few months ago. Oh, you fickle friend, Depression.

I told my friends and family that I moved back to Texas to be closer to them; to reconnect with family. As a man staring down forty, it’s important to have a family, a network, a group of trusted loved ones. But they don’t trust me, and maybe I’ve forgotten how to love them.

I’ve become feral. I was on my own for far too long. I learned how to live without them, and to prevent new familial bonds from forming. Nothing sticks. I’m teflon. I’m oily, flat, granite. I spent so much time with nothing that I learned to live off of it, so now I need nothing.

I can’t connect with family, can’t make friends, can’t allow anything to mean anything. I just sleep and eat and work and drink and disappoint people. But is it my fault? I never taught anyone to expect anything from me, so if they did or still do they made that decision without consulting me.

In my dreams I make plans, notice lesions on my body that aren’t there, fret about the present and worry about the future. When I wake, I live in a consequence-free state of perpetuity fueled of necessity. I sleep because I have to, I work because I can’t afford not to, and I wake the next day because I have to. I don’t have a choice. Earlier today I signed a lease for another year in this apartment, and while reading over the clauses noted there’s one stipulating that I can’t die. How convenient!

I was joking with a co-worker yesterday about the lies we tell when we’re away from work to get us out of responsibilities in the home. “Dishes? I do dishes all day at work and you want me to come home and do them? Why?”

I, of course, took it further. “Aunt Lyla’s wake? I spend ten to twelve hours a day attending Aunt Lyla’s wake at work and you want me to come home and do so? Why?”

It was funny in the moment but I look back and realize what a desperate cry for help it seems to me. That I would use hyperbole about my work responsibilities to cop out of anything resembling humanity during my actual life. That I would sweep it all under the rug to just sleep and eat and get back to work.

That working is the only function I feel I haven’t a good enough lie to shirk. But living is just too easy to avoid. I don’t know why more people don’t do it more often. Oh, they’ll tell you they miss you, but no one will come to find you. Because they’re busy sleeping and working.

I’ve been an outside cat too long and I can’t live inside with you. I do occasionally bolt in from curiosity, but soon after I piss on everything you’ve attached to and begin mewling for release. And don’t you dare fucking touch me.

It’s lonely being misunderstood, but exhausting trying to make oneself understood. Best to lie and sleep.

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“A brave new world of gods and monsters…”

frankenstein

It seems worth mentioning that the dream I had the night prior also involved something I had a close relationship to that tried to kill me:

I had created a man, à la Frankenstein. It was tall and very muscular, but lithe. Less Lou Ferrigno, more Dolph Lundgren. It was a perfect specimen of strength and physical poetry, with a mind built for intellect yet empty like a child. When it came to life I felt shame for what I had done so I ran from it. It chased me into the city streets where I lost it in the bustle. As it ran by I could see its skin part in perfectly symmetrical panes, revealing beneath a technicolor swirl of circuitry and science. When it would spin its torso there would be that separation, like a delay, and it would snap back into place. I hid away in my fear and failure. 


Flash to: it passes near me, bemoaning loudly “Is there no Heaven for me? Am I not meant to know love?” I hadn’t taught it these concepts; they were innate within. I wept for him in my hiding place, and I ran to him. 


He embraced me and excitedly said “let me show you what I’ve learned!” We walked the city, where he showed me personal spaces he’d created throughout. At the end of an alley he pulled aside a dumpster like it was a refrigerator door and revealed a cubby hole of ten by six feet cut into the base of a building, illuminated by a soft blue glow. Two thin naked women lay in the space, shivering on the pavement. He said “Don’t worry; I only hold their bodies for comfort.” He invited me inside to lay with them. Shortly after we had lain down he cast them both out. They stood before the shelter and stared at a large porthole in the building which looked into the city’s sewer system but was also a digital screen. A man’s body lay slumped against the glass and I knew he’d awaken. He did, and the women leapt in fear. They each fell to the ground, still retaining their color, but now their images were also in the porthole, decrepit and spent. 


Flash to: The Creature is now an art installation at a hot spot in the city near his hole. People come to see him and unknowingly leave some of themselves behind. I am looking at his vitality growth on a monitoring station in the middle of the exhibit, hiding in plain sight though no one knows what it means but he and I. His face appears in the wall before me and he says “get out. save yourself.” He knows he needs to consume me to truly realize himself but he also doesn’t want to. As I back away his face appears everywhere and his mouth is an open box huffing air, “heesh heesh get out heesh heesh.” I am spinning in confusion as he hisses at me from every wall of the room. As I round a corner to what should’ve been the exit, his face again huffs air at me and his arms extend from the walls and grab me.

I awoke in a panic, heaving for air as my sleep apnea had woken me.

Hotel dreams, man.

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In my Dreams, even those who Love me try to Kill me

You put a gun in my mouth. You wanted it to be instant. I gagged and started crying, saying “I’m sorry but not like this. It’s how he went and I can’t.” You grew angry saying “don’t make your experiences weaknesses. I hate that more than anything.” I replied “no you don’t, you hate fear more than anything. Like me.” The look on your face when you realized how well I understood you, that you weren’t alone, was unmistakable.

You put the barrel of the gun against my eye and pulled the trigger. ‬
‪The rain and mud rendered it useless. ‬

We’d gone to the river’s edge for you to kill me. What now would we do with the rest of the evening?

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