Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Friday, June 29, 2012


I drank again last night, and so I am beating myself up about it today.  A long time ago, a therapist told me about "H.A.L.T.," that is, addicts should not let themselves get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.  I'm pretty much lonely all the time, in spite of my best efforts, and I don't know what the hell to do about that.  I'm also pretty pervasively angry.  (My psychological evaluation after one of my suicide attempts described me as "angry, hostile and slightly paranoid.")

So really, I can only work with hungry and tired.  Because I am so disgusted with my weight, I keep starting and stopping the Master Cleanse program.  But after a day or two, I realize I can't maintain that kind of deprivation and still be sober.  I'm trying to eat well, if moderately, so that I don't feel too hungry.  What got me yesterday, and the biggest factor in my relapses, is letting myself get too tired.  I do not do well with a lack of sleep, and it seriously affects my ability to function and cope.  The problem is that I'm a night owl, and if I'm up late but enjoying myself, I don't really want to stop and go to bed.  But my wake up time is fixed, so I get overtired while forcing myself through the work day.  I need more structure in my life and to focus more on my basic needs.


When we met,
It was a bolt
Like a prophecy coming true.
It took my lust
To turn me around,
With the promise
Of a retractile goodbye.

Infatuation consumes me,
But I will always live
For the sunbursts of your love
And the passion that you give.
I know that our life is a mess,
But our life is a scream.
And I can never say forever;
It's just one of those things.
But my feelings
Are a moment in time ever true.
For one pure instant,
I want to spend my life with you.


Just plain love.  I've only had one significant relationship in my life.  (I don't know why; it's certainly not for lack of trying.  But I always manage to screw things up amazingly quickly whenever I actually manage to attract a man I'm attracted to in the first place.)  This poem was written about that man.  We certainly had our share of ups and downs, mostly because I was batshit crazy and this man has a pattern of poor relationship choices.  But I still remember the moment that inspired the poem.  We were out driving, and I remember turning to look at my love and really feeling that spending my life with him might be a good thing.  We did break up, but we've managed to stay in touch and friends all these years.

Personally, I really like this poem, for the fact that it is the only love poem I've ever written that wasn't about unrequited love if for nothing else.  I've posted it here because I just don't think it would be considered polished enough for publication, and it has too much meaning for me to want to edit it in any way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Never Curse the Sun"

Never curse the sun,
     for one day
     it will swallow us with red rage.
Do not encourage the inevitable end.

Never curse the moon,
      for one day
      it will fade into darkness.
Do not encourage the inevitable end.

Never curse the stars,
      for one day
      they will fall to us as rain.
Do not encourage the inevitable end.

Never curse those which make you
     and break you
     and have you
     and hold you.
Why should the shadow of death
     cover the light of light?
So listen to what I have told you.


Technically, this is my first poem when I first started writing poetry, which was when I was fifteen years old.  I say "technically" because I made substantial additions and edits a year or two later.  I like the imagery and the use of language, but I don't think I could find a contemporary magazine interested in publishing it.  It's tone is too didactic, if nothing else.

Wham Bam Poetry Slam

Of all the artistic expressions, poetry is by far my favorite to do.  Unlike prose, which I have to painstakingly hammer out, I tend to write poetry in an inspired frenzy.  (At least I used to.  I haven't written a new poem in over a decade and a half.)  When I examine my own poetry, I see different layers of meaning than I recall consciously putting in as if my unconscious mind was getting its own voice.

I previously posted (somewhat randomly) one of my poems on this blog, and I think I'll start adding more.  I can't post my best work because posting a poem constitutes publication (even in a blog no one actually reads), and most poetry outlets won't consider previously published material.  If I do get a poem published (*cross fingers*), then I should be able to repost it at a later time because the rights usually revert back to the poet.

Speaking of which, I snail mailed a batch of poems to The Atlantic and uploaded a submission of probably the best poem I've ever written to Poetry magazine.  Unfortunately, I'll probably have to wait at least eight weeks before I'll hear anything, so I'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Idle Hands

My drug of choice is opiates, narcotic pain killers.  Last night I came very near to breaking my rule about drug-seeking behavior.  (It's debatable as to how close I actually was to actually getting my hands on some pills, but I'll take whatever positive reinforcement I can get.)  And tonight I was an ass hair away from drinking myself into a stupor and ruining my sobriety, my diet and my budget.

As it turned out, I prevailed against my baser instincts, stuck to my eating regimen and took my brisk walk at lunch time.  When I came home, I prepared my submissions (see below) and then changed into my workout clothes.  On the way to the gym, I stopped by Target, but by this time, doing so many positive things was really starting to freak me out!  ("Death! Calamity! Transience! Decay!" Why does my brain hate me so?)

So I decided to bag the gym, buy a little bit of candy and then go home to watch comedies on Netflix.  I figured a venial diet sin and staying on the wagon would be accomplishment enough.  But then, I saw this really hot guy at the store, and it reminded me how disgusted I am with my looks.  Not to be shallow (though I am terribly shallow in some respects), but I'm still astounded as to how far I've let myself go.  I want to maximize my remaining youth, especially while I still have most of my hair.  Thus I harnessed the power of that disgust and dragged myself to work out after all.

And while I try to glory in my victory, I know that I'll still have to fight that same battle tomorrow and the next day and the next. will have to, at least for the foreseeable future, win these things again every single day.

Into the Breach

I've decided to do something that I haven't done in over a decadesubmit some of my poems to a magazine.  I dug out five of my best poems and actually gave them all quite a hefty revision.  Time and experience has given me a more objective ear, and I hope I've given them enough polish to be worthy of publication.  Of course, I've chosen to send them off to The Atlantic, and frankly, I have a better chance that my cats will start spontaneously crapping diamonds.  But if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big and start at the top.

Monday, June 25, 2012

One Foot In Front of the Other

I spent yet another weekend in bed. Friday night I went to a school carnival with my friends and their children, and that was enjoyable, just to be out doing something if nothing else. However, I only dragged myself out of bed for a couple of hours Saturday night to basically eat something, and last night I didn't get up until 7 p.m. to again eat and to get myself ready for work today.

On a more positive note, I did three loads of laundry this evening and did quite a bit of cleaning.  I've been letting my apartment get away from me, but hopefully I can sustain the energy to get it back under control...along with my weight...and my finances...and everything else in my life.

Personal Roundup

Days Sober: 5
Weight: 260 pounds
Debt: $10,000

Cross-Cultural Gender-Bending & the Magic of the Internet

The video below is by Yohio, a seventeen year old Swedish transvestite who sings in Japanese, dresses like a manga character and plays a mean guitar.  I personally rather like the song and think the video is great.  O brave new world!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not-So-Quiet Despair

I'm drinking tonight.  And I drank last Friday night.  And I spent the entirety of last weekend in bed, yet again.  I keep straying onto the path of virtue, only to stray right off again.  Last night, I was using a measuring spoon to dole out my salad dressing at the start of my healthy meal.  Tonight I'm going to consume over a thousand calories of alcohol followed by at least that much in "comfort" food.

I actually possess an amazing reserve of willpower, but I have to be inspired to use it.  I have no inspiration to hold onto.  The vague belief that my life will somehow be improved if I overhaul every single one of my personal habits into a paragon of rectitude can move me in short sprints, but not in the marathon of self-actualization.  Not when I can just damn the consequences one more night at the end of yet another dreadful day.  Just one more night.  It's always just one more night.  Forever and ever, one more night...each a pavestone in the well-trodden path of my own destruction.


Every dream I have had has died.  I am forty-two years old.  I am seventy-five pounds overweight.  I have only had one significant relationship in my life, and that was twenty years ago.  I gave up a good job in a city that I kind of love because of a loss of nerve.  I can't fly on airplanes, and I can't stand being more than a few stories above ground.  My world continues to shrink and close in until I think it will strangle me.

It's hard not to feel desperate.  It's hard not to think that all I have to look forward to is the decrepitude and demise of those friends, family members and creatures that I love.  With nothing left but my own infirmity, faced in loneliness and isolation, and then the utter terror of my own death.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Live Cruelty-Free!

Don't talk to me of health
Or something someone else will do
We're talking about the act
Of taking life for me and you
{Howard Jones, "Assault and Battery}

Animal testing, particularly for personal products and household chemicals, is one of the most repugnant things I can think of. It is so unnecessary, and there are far better ways to test these items.  The only reason animal testing is so endemic in consumer testing is the fact that, as an established methodology, it tends to be cheaper and easier for the manufacturers.  They don't care that it produces less accurate results that are less effective and less indicative of the safety of a product. But you should care!

Even if you aren't interested in switching to cruelty-free products for the morality of that choice, you should still seek them out because these products have been tested using updated methods that are superior in every way.  For example, some laboratories use artificial or cultured human skin cells for testing, and you can be certain that their results will be more aligned to the human end user than testing on a species that isn't even in the same taxonomic Order.

I won't describe to you the utter horror involved in animal testing.  I can barely stand to think of it with out breaking down, and I'm trying to reinforce my exhortations positively.  But I will tell you that it is a life of isolation, confinement, fear and pain.

Finding Cruelty-Free Products

PETA has a great online resource for finding cruelty-free consumer products.  They break it down by company and by category.  Fortunately, it's getting easier and easier to find items that haven't been tested on animals without having to go to a specialty store.  Always check the labels of the products you are considering.  If they don't indicate "Not tested on animals" or "Cruelty-Free," then they probably are animal tested.

Some of My Favorite Products

Below are some wonderful products that I use every single day with a clear conscience:

The method company makes some of the best cleaning supplies, and almost all of the cleansers I use come from them.  I also use their hand soaps and body wash and wonderful laundry detergent.  I buy their products at Target and Kroger.

Seventh Generation makes a great line of eco-friendly paper products. They also sell great cleaners and other chemicals. They have an exceptional automatic dishwashing detergent and "oxy-clean" laundry supplement. I buy their products at Target.

TheraBreath makes an exceptional line of toothpastes, floss and mouthwash. Not only are their products cruelty-free, but they are a powerful cure for the embarrassment of halitosis.  I buy their products at Walgreens.

One of the original cruelty-free product lines. I buy my deodorant from Tom's of Maine. I buy their products at Kroger stores and Walgreens.

Carnivores for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

While I am not a vegetarian myself, I have nothing but respect for the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.  I probably would be a vegetarian if it weren't for the fact that I despise vegetables. (I'm a picky eater to the degree that it's a social handicap.)  I do try to limit and be mindful of my carnivorous intake, ideally striving for free-range, non-factory meats.  However, you don't have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to embrace a cruelty-free lifestyle when it comes to your personal products and household chemicals.

PLEASE CONSIDER making the switch today...It's easier than you might think!

And As For Your Household Companions...

Always adopt!  Don't Buy!  Don't Breed!

There Aren't Enough Homes!  Spay or Neuter Your Pet!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nothing better...

"Just wait 'til tomorrow!"
I guess that's what they all say
Just before they fall apart
{New Order, "Regret"}

After the hellishness of a couple of weekends ago, I'm definitely on a "the first day of the rest of your life" cusp.  Mind you, I did spend all of last weekend in bed as well, but I wasn't as desperately unhappy as I was after first finding out I didn't get my dream job.  I was just regular unhappy...Not passively suicidal, but not able to come up with any reason consciousness would be preferable.

On a more positive note, I realize that I have a higher "baseline" mood than I used to.  I don't have to buoy my affect quite as much, and I have more energy and motivation to take care of the little chores inherent in an independent life.  In Los Angeles I lived in filth and squalor like an animal, yet I've managed to keep up my new apartment here in Memphis up to a certain standard.  (Still have to work through the clutter, however.) 

Of course, my new and improved outlook is mostly pharmacological.  My psychiatrist has me taking three psychoactive medications, and they are working reasonably well.  One amazing improvement is that one of my medications makes me drowsy by the end of the day, and I no longer have to face the anxiety of insomnia.  It used to be a horrible ordeal that felt like dying every single night, and it was the impetus that led to my binge drinking years ago.

Holding my breath for the fear of sleep again
{The Cure, "Disintegration"}

Of course, any time I embark on a course to improve myself and my situation, I get slammed by a wall of psychological negativity.  I tell myself not to bother because no doubt some calamity or even death is just around the corner.  I ask myself what the point is when everything is pointless anyway.  I tell myself that I am just going to fail again.  (And none of this is helped by the fact that I've spent the last 26 years tryingand failingto live the life I've always wanted.) 

But where might I be now if I had overcome those feelings twenty years ago? Humans are cursed to know how it will all end, and yet it is the noblest aspect of our character that we move forward and endure.

Personal Roundup

Days Sober: 4
Weight: 256 pounds
Debt: $10,000

Monday, June 4, 2012

Suicide Watch

Even on a good day, I'm still basically an unhappy person.  I'm always struggling to keep my mood afloat, and the specter of anxiety is always lurking in the background, just waiting to pounce.

So when my situation is poor, my mood goes straight into the toilet.  I am unsatisfied with my current position, even as I am grateful to have a job in this economy.  But between my boss and the clients, it's a daily struggle just to show up, let alone accomplish anything.  So imagine how happy I was when I got an interview with FedEx, a great company I know I would enjoy working for.  Imagine how happy and hopeful I was when they called me in for a second interview.

Imagine how crushed I was last Thursday when they sent an e-mail telling me they had selected someone else for the position.  I had to take an early lunch so that I wouldn't break down at work.

This weekend I was so incredibly depressed that I could hardly move.  I basically spent Saturday and Sunday in bed, thinking about ways to kill myself.  I had no one to talk to about my feelings.  I had no recourse but to suffer alone.  And there is no meaning in such suffering.  I simply endure it with no wisdom or benefit, just the crippling injury it does to my psyche.

It's a distressing realization to have to face the fact that one is a loser.  That one's life will never amount to anything or be worth anything to others.  That one will simply endure suffering until injury or illness, infirmity and death.  It makes one resent hope as the bitterest pill.