0

Let’s Be Sorry For Everything

Sandy and Derek were sitting in their bedroom on the bed, legs crossed, a bottle of vodka on the table behind Derek and each with a shot glass in their hands. Sandy had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, while Derek was pouring a little bit of vodka in their respective glasses.

“So, the idea of this is to forgive ourselves, eachother or someone else for something with each shot,” Derek said, “That way we can stop being so damn angry about every little thing in our lives.”

“Okay,” Sandy said, holding her glass to eye level, looking through the clear liquid, “And if someone starts to veer things into a direction the other doesn’t want to go, then they can just veto that.”

“Sure, that sounds fair,” Derek said. Sandy threw her head back and took her shot, then wiped her mouth on her arm and exhaled, shaking her head a little. She finally looked at Derek and grimaced.

“Ugh, I forgot how sick Vodka makes me,” she said softly, “I’m really sorry that I made things hard when we were first getting together. I’m sorry if I made you so uncertain about me, yourself or anything else. You don’t deserve that.”

Derek smiled and took his shot, then gave a gross look on his face, nearly gagging, “Oh jesus, you weren’t kidding, that shit is tough. Ugh. Alright, well, I’m sorry if I ever get on you for complaining. You have every right to be upset, because shit sucks for us. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you can’t speak your mind.”

Sandy nearly blushed, feeling so lucky to have him, as he poured them another set of shots. Sandy pushed her bangs from her eyes and stretched her legs out, resting her feet in his lap, looking around their bedroom.

“I think I wanna redecorate,” Sandy said, “This place is lacking any sort of personality lately. I think we need to do something about it.”

“I’m good with that idea,” Derek said, as he finished pouring and started massaging Sandy’s feet while she took her next shot. She hissed through her teeth and shook her head a little.

“Well,” she began, “I guess I’m sorry for Reggie. When I was in college, I took this class about feminine representation in literature, specifically when written by straight guys, and how they’re rarely heroines and when they are heroines they’re overly sexualized because that’s the only way they can see us. Anyway, there was this girl named Regina, or Reggie, who sat in the class a few seats down from me. We started talking, we became friends and went to parties and stuff together since we didn’t wanna go alone, even though once there we usually just made fun of the people there. I guess she wanted to get to know me cause she was gay and one night she suggested we make out, just for something to do.”

“And?” Derek asked.

“…well, we did. We did…more…than just make out. Point is, the next day she completely blacked me out, like it’d never happened. So, for someone to make the claim that only men can see women as objects is an unfair subjection, because let me tell you, some women are just as predatory. Made me feel sick with myself, and so I just went and hooked up with multiple girls that year, so I guess I apologize to myself too for putting myself through that,” Sandy said, sighing and looking at her empty glass, “…I’m glad you never do that to me.”

“Of course not,” Derek said, “Bottoms up.”

He threw his head back and took his drink, exhaling afterwards, and then squinting. He finally opened his eyes, looked at Sandy and felt tears swell up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for…” Derek started, but he couldn’t figure out the words he wanted to use. After a few moments of pause and reflect, he finally managed to say, “I’m just sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who’s ever had to put up with me. My parents, any friends…you, most of all.”

“Ditto,” Sandy said, “We’ve been kind of bad for eachother, but at least we recognize that, and we know it’s wrong, yet inevitably a part of being in a relationship, and we try to fix it, unlike other people our age who simply say if someone treats you bad once or disagrees with anything you say then you should dump them immediately. Ridiculous. That isn’t a relationship. That’s narcissism. There’s a difference between straight up abuse and disagreement.”

“Right, right,” Derek said, chewing on his bottom lip, “I’m going to get another bottle from the corner store, this one barely had any left in it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As he got off the bed, he leaned down and stroked her cheek with his fingers, then grabbed his jacket, pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. Sandy laid on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eventually, she got off the bed, got her laptop out and started doing some research. She eventually wound up with a phone number, which she plopped into her cell and dialed.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four-

“Hello?” a voice asked, “Carter residence.”

“…Reggie Carter?” Sandy asked, wondering if this was a bad idea.

“Yes? Who wants to know?” Reggie asked.

“I, uh, I’m…Sandy Price, we…we went to college together and-”

“Sandy?” Reggie asked, her voice staying the same deadpan it had been since she’d answered, “Good lordy, what’re you doing calling me this late, or, at all?”

“My…boyfriend, guyfriend, whatever, we’re sitting around and just talking about things we’re sorry for and…and I thought about you. I thought about, like, the time we spent in school together and shit and how like, I don’t know, how we hung out and hooked up and I felt-”

“I am really sorry if I made you feel bad,” Reggie said, interrupting her, “I…I don’t like stopping people from speaking but I need you to know that, I feel really bad about it. You have to understand, my family was really close minded and conservative and I could never discuss anything about how I felt to anyone, so to find someone who…who I guess was kind of like me, it felt freeing in a way, you know? But I know I essentially came off as predatory and like I used you to figure myself out and I apologize if that’s messed with you over the years because that was not my overall intention one bit. I was just really focused on figuring me out after all those closed off years living at home.”

“I understand,” Sandy said, “I really do, like, god, living with my mother…she still doesn’t even understand who I am and why I’m not just like her, ya know. It’s so goddamned frustrating.”

Reggie giggled and sighed, “Sandy, I’ve thought about calling you, I really have. I just figured you didn’t want anyone drudging up shit from that point in time, like maybe you were just trying to black it all out or whatever, but I’m really glad that that isn’t the case.”

“What’re you doing up so late anyway?”

“Well it’s not like it’s a school night or anything,” Reggie replied, laughing, “No, my wife works nights so I sleep alone most of the time. I was just reading when you called.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Not really, symptoms of illnesses.”

“Are you a doctor?” Sandy asked.

“I’m sick,” Reggie said, stopping Sandy in her tracks, “I…uh…I guess about a year ago I had headaches and my hair started to come out a little, and I felt really nauseous, and I found out I have leukemia. It’s not life threatening just yet, so don’t worry, but it is…it’s scary, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I…I’m so sorry,” Sandy whispered, “I had no idea, obviously. I hope you’ll be okay.”

“Listen, why don’t we meet for lunch or something next week, and we can catch up more? I’m really tired these days, as you can imagine. I will call you tomorrow and we can set up a date or something,” Reggie said, and Sandy told her that would be fine. As they said their goodbyes and hung up both ends, Derek came back into the room with a bag. He dumped it on the bed, and out spilled another vodka bottle, a baby ruth and a horse racing magazine. Sandy held the phone to her chest, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed.

“…if I ever get sick, leave me, ok?” Sandy asked, “Don’t…don’t try and be all noble or whatever, just go. I don’t want to put you through that and have yet something else I’d need to apologize for in hell.”

“I like that you recognize you’re likely not going to heaven,” Derek said, smiling as he opened the bottle, “That’s nice, modesty is important in a friend.”

“There’s too damn much to apologize for,” Sandy said, sitting at the end of the bed, “I…we can have an entire drinking game dedicated to saying ‘I’m sorry’ but in the end, I’m going to just keep adding onto that list, having more things to be sorry for, and there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to get through them all by the time I die, that’s for sure. So, don’t become one of those people. If something happens to me, just leave and go about your life, because the last thing I need in addition to dying is also to hurt you.”

“That sounds fair enough,” Derek said, “…and you’re right, there’s too much to apologize for. That’s the problem with mistakes, it’s not something you do once or twice in your life. It’s something you continue to do forever. You will always make mistakes. They might not even be big mistakes, like hurting someone you shouldn’t have or whatever, but just little things, like parking in a handicapped spot and then someone else comes along who needs it. Mistakes make up the majority of our time here on earth. Memories are often just the things we’ve deemed good because they’re the things we didn’t make mistakes in. That’s why we remember them. We filter out the bad stuff so we can have nice things to look back on. But…when it gets down to it, the thing we do most in life is fuck up, and I guess that’s okay, because at least we know we’re not the only ones doing it. Everyone does it. That’s some level of solidarity, I suppose.”

Sandy reached for the bottle and took a long drink from it before handing it back to him. Derek unwrapped his candy bar and broke it in half, handing one half to her and then eating the other himself. Sandy filled her shot glass again and drank it.

“I’m sorry we decided to play this,” she said.

“Yeah, me too.”

0

How To Fail So You’ll Succeed

People often get irritated with me for continually saying that I suck, that I hate my work, that I’ll never be successful or that I don’t wanna do what I do anymore, but what they fail to realize (somehow, even after I tell them this) is that I need to externalize the internal in order to continue going. I need to believe I’m bad so I can continue to prove myself wrong with each new success.

By belittling myself to myself, by telling myself that I’ll never reach my own standards, all it does is make me feel incredible when I do reach those standards, when I do reach even a small piece of success. That drive is what keeps me going. If I don’t say these things, that hatred sits inside of me and festers into a horrid bubble of pure rage, and then I never get anything done. That’s way more unhealthy. I succeed because I believe I can’t.

Now that isn’t to say there aren’t times I really do believe what comes out of my mouth, because believe me, there are, and it’s a lot of the time too. Being touched by failure for the majority of your life, outside of career and inside career, really makes you feel pretty fucking terrible about your chances with success. That being said, more often than not do I use it as a way to continue to push myself towards the goals I wish to achieve with my work, and my life in general. Negativity is a bad copying mechanism? Bitch, please. It’s my only coping mechanism.

My entire life I’ve been told by people that I will never succeed. By my peers, even some people in my family at one time or another, and yes, you eventually start to believe a little bit of that, or all of it, in some peoples cases. But for me, spite thrives my craving for success. You wanna tell me how much I suck? We’ll see how much I suck when I’m happy and successful and you’re bitter that you’re still suck in that loveless marriage or in the same crappy job you claim you hate but can’t leave to chase whatever dreams you might’ve once had. Guess what. Dreams don’t go away with age. You will always have your dreams, so stop saying you can’t go after them after a certain age. THAT’S real negativity.

You hate me for achieving my goals? You hate me for even attempting to? Go try and achieve your own. Be happy. Tell yourself you can’t, and then do it, and prove yourself wrong. Be a successful failure. “Fake it ’til you make it”? No. Fail it, then nail it.

Own your sadness.

0

So She Made Planets

She can create planets on a whim.

She’s had this ability for as long as she can remember. She can recall the first time she made a star, while playing outside one soft summer afternoon, at her daycare, waiting for her mother to come and pick her up. Everyone acts like it’s something special, but it isn’t, not once you’ve done a hundred thousand times, it becomes just as mundane as any other talent or skill. She can remember sitting with some other kids during lunchtime in elementary school, wowing them with her abilities to be able to create meteors from thin air. She became a magic trick; something kids asked for at their birthday parties, something adults used when out of town family members dropped in and wanted an experience. But she didn’t mind, she liked the attention, and she liked showing off her abilities.

There’s no life on her planets. They’re barren and cold, desolate, uninhabitable. All of these things are small, no bigger than a softball, but still, they’re hers, and she loves them. She spent a lot of her teenage girls in her bedroom, record player on repeat, laying on her back on the floor, just reaching up into the air above her face and creating entire galaxies. A black hole here, a milky way there, a star system, an asteroid field, you name it and she’d make it. She could entertain herself for hours with this. As with all novelties though, it faded with time. Life overtakes hobbies. The things that make you happiest fall by the wayside, even if they’re magical and not mundane in the slightest. She had to study. She had to date. She had to graduate, get into college and get a job. Not because she wanted any of this, but because everyone told her to.

“Making stars isn’t going to guarantee you a future,” they’d tell her, “People want real work skills.”

Resume after resume, essay after essay, lecture after lecture…spending countless, sleepless nights in the school library, trying to finish that paper due the following morning and instead finding herself blipping whole new worlds into creation in the palm of her hand, with the flip of her wrist. It got to the point where it didn’t bring her happiness, because it wasn’t what was “supposed” to bring her happiness. Marriage. A family. A career. Those were what happiness was to be reserved for. Not making stars. Not making planets. After a while, she’d spend all day long at work, come home and go to sleep. Go out with friends. Go out on dates. Soon she never made stars at all.

And then one day, she found she just didn’t want to, and this upset her even more. How could something so special, something so many people had, at one point in time, fawned over her for and told her was unique, was a gift, become so…so boring and unwanted? Even to the person who controlled said gift? Nothing lasted. People came and went. Jobs began and ended. Now she just sits on her bedside, in the dark, in her pajamas, repeatedly making planets and stars and meteors for the sake of doing something, anything at all, and not feeling totally and completely useless.

And then one night, she made a planet, and it was inhabited. This had never happened before. The people on it, they appreciated their existence, they thanked her graciously, they’d needed her to be. She was useful. Important. They enjoyed what she’d given them. They enjoyed her. She was loved. She created another and another and another, filling her bedroom over the following weeks with tiny, inhabited planets, and finally accepting this was who she was. She wasn’t like all the other people. She could do things they couldn’t do. She could make planets.

So she made planets.

And she was fine with that.

0

I Have Nothing Left To Say

I have nothing left to say, and this devastates me.

I have no more original thoughts of anything creative to say. I can’t create. I can’t dream. What does a “creative” person do when they can no longer create? They stop being, honestly, which is what’s happened to me. I just sort of….am, now. I sit and listen to music, I eat, I take care of the house. I just do things to fill the time in my day that used to go to creating art, and this is just….it’s soul crushing. I have nothing left inside of me that scratches to get out. That doesn’t let itself go until I vomit it up into some form of artistic expression. I don’t know how to exist like this, and I don’t want to exist like this.

But creativity isn’t something you can force, either, so a lot of it’s just sitting around and waiting for something to inspire me. For something to come to me, and for me to go, “Yeah, that’s okay, I’ll make that!”. I’m lost. I’m completely empty and cold and don’t know what to do anymore. I think sometimes some people are meant to give up on what they thought they were “meant” to do, a sort of realization that destiny isn’t a real thing and that no, you just sort of lied to yourself for a few good years and now the magic is gone and it’s time to grow up and realize you need to join the ‘real world’. What does one do when that happens? I think often they go mad, or become so depressed that they often kill themselves.

While I’m not in the market to die anytime soon, which is a step in the right direction, I suppose, it’s still not where I want to be. I don’t enjoy anything. I don’t enjoy creation and I don’t enjoy existing without creating. Where does that leave me? It often leaves me laying in my bed or on the couch and just staring at the ceiling or the wall. It leaves me empty. I have no desire to participate with other human beings, and I barely had any energy or willingness to even type this entry, let alone come up with something to type about. And how cliche is this? “Oh, waaah, I can’t create, I’m too depressed to create, guess I’ll talk about my depression!”

Now I’m nothing but a trope.

I started this blog with the intent on figuring out things about myself, but what happens when it turns out you have nothing inside of you worth learning about? When you’re just not that interesting? I don’t know, and I’m afraid to find out. Perhaps there’s nothing inside of me worthy of getting out, of being seen, of being heard. Art. Writing. These are the only things I know how to do. It’s how I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, for the last 15 years to make a living, and now even I’m realizing I have nothing worth listening to or looking at. At least people who read these blog posts are disappointed in short bursts once or twice a month, I’m disappointed in long stretches of time every single day because I’m stuck with me, and stuck with my failure.

Whatever. Who cares. Nobody cares when I have something to say, so why would anyone care when I have nothing to say. Sorry.

I’m really sorry.

0

To Breakfast, Or Not To Breakfast, That Is The Question

How did we, as a species, arbitrarily come to agreement that breakfast consisted of eggs.

It’s amazing that we as a species could ever agree on anything, even something so insignificantly meaningless as breakfast, but somehow it just became a common, unspoken agreement. Eggs are breakfast food. We can’t even agree on big things like world peace or simply not murdering one another because someone parked funny. I was thinking about this while making eggs this morning, which is a rare feat for me as I never eat breakfast or use the stove. But standing there, staring down at these eggs hissing in the skillet, it just sort of dawned on me that we unanimously found eggs acceptable as the true breakfast food. That’s right. Breakfast gave me an existential crisis.

Across the world, there’s a million differing opinions ending in harassment, murder, pain, suffering, oppression and yet somehow, we all agree that breakfast consists of certain foods. If only we could apply that same sort of agreement to literally anything that matters. If only simple arguments or disagreements in relationships, places of work or family matters could be boiled down to the universal law we’ve assigned to breakfast food. My parents had me, despite my father being a raging alcoholic at the time and on and off of drugs, all while senselessly beating my mother. He eventually told me he’d come see me, and always left me alone on the weekends, either not showing up at all, or taking me to his place and then passing out for hours. My mother was addicted to pain medication at times, drank a bit and told me that there was something wrong with me, that I should just “try harder” to fit in, and at one point told me I should probably just kill myself already.

This is how my parents treated me. These people were my parents. People who’re supposed to love and protect the children they knowingly have of their own volition, and yet this is how they treated me. We can’t abide by the simple universal truth that parents should just unconditionally love their children, no matter who they end up being, even if they disagree with the life choices their children make.

Yet we can all agree that eggs are a breakfast food.

But I suppose the world can’t be that simple, can it. It has to be complex, otherwise it’d be devoid of meaning. Foreign policy and marital problems can’t be solved by something as simple as hashbrowns. But wouldn’t it be nice if it could be? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just took a step back, realized we all, at one point or another in time, accepted that eggs are a breakfast food and go, “Hey…we all agreed on this. We can get along.” They say peace is impossible. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it is hard. Yet, we’ve shown time and time again that we do have the capacity to get along, to agree on things, to follow a certain line of thinking where we’re all okay with the outcome. If only it could be applied to everything really important.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I’m starting to think it might be a lot more important than that.

0

This Is My Jam

When I was a little girl, every year in elementary school at the end of the year, they piled us into the auditorium like cattle, made us sit on the floor and watch a video presentation of photos and video clips and such taken over the course of the year of the kids, and along with the video was the song “Forever Young”. Every single year they did this, every single year we heard “Forever Young”.

Do you really want to live forever?

That’s an actual lyric from this song they played to kids in elementary schools. To be honest, I doubt a lot of kids wouldn’t take any note of that, but being who I am, I did, and it fucked with me. I had family members die when I was still in elementary school, it’s true, but I don’t think it was until having that hammered home in my head every fucking year that I truly became self aware of mortality. Ever since then, I’ve had a problem accepting that I will die, and once I had that realization, the realization that we all die anyway no matter what, I hit an even bigger realization: Why bother living at all. Hello suicidal tendencies, thanks Alphaville.

And with there being so many songs out there about mortality, about life and death and sadness and existence, why the fuck was it the quintessential 80s prom slow dance anthem that made me question life as I knew it? The real issue is that once you hit that peak, there’s no going back either. That’s one oopsie you can’t unwhoopsie. As if a kid doesn’t have enough problems leading into adolescence, I hardly doubt nihilism is something they also should have to deal with. I had a lot on my plate as it was; being autistic, keeping my sexuality a secret and being somewhat ashamed of it, and great now I have to wonder about the meaning of life itself on top of it. Great. Book reports? Fuck book reports. Existentialism is where it was at.

But…there’s shockingly an upside to being that self aware, especially that young. It really puts everything into perspective, makes you realize you need to make the most of the time that you have, if you want it to mean a damn thing once you are gone. For me, that meant writing as much as I could and creating as much art as I could. Something to leave behind. Something that meant something to someone. Something that meant anything to anyone. The way I saw it, the only things that lasted were the things we created to last, so we needed to leave behind as much as we could for others to remember. Or, you know, remember at least until the sun explodes and literally everything dies, but still.

Existence, it’s…a weird thing, honestly.

People literally tell you that life is a gift. That it’s precious. They often tell you this while they’re eating an animal. Life is only precious if it fits their idea of what life is and who deserves it. Not that I’m any sort of animal activist, but still. They tell you that you’re so lucky to be here at this point in time in history. Really? A planet plagued with overpopulation, with war and famine and injustice and hatred and greed? I’m lucky, huh? I guess we are, because it allows us to create art mocking these things. It allows us to write songs that speak out against these things. Songs that enlighten us and change our frame of mind. Songs about being young forever. Yeah, I would like to be forever young, actually. When you’re young everything is fresh and new and exciting, not stale and cold like when you’re older. Maybe that’s the point of the song. To recognize how jaded you can become. To push the truth that to survive, you need to stay forever young, even if only at heart, because otherwise you risk becoming cynical and spiteful and cruel. Being forever young allows you to deal with things with a childlike innocence, a view of the world where everyone isn’t just painted black and white but with every color in the crayon box. People say kids are inherently evil. People say that hatred is taught. I think I’ve stated before that I think love is the one that’s taught, because you have to teach kids not to hit and to share, but that doesn’t mean kids are entirely evil in general.

Kids should get more credit than they’re given for seeing the world a lot more clearly than any adult really does. A national tragedy happens and all the adults look for meaning, search for reasoning, ask “why did this happen” and mourn for years. A tragedy happens and a kid says, “Well…that sucks. Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.” Is it because they simply don’t understand the enormous ramifications? Possibly. But they say ignorance is bliss, so maybe there’s something to that.

People say Bob Dylan is a spokesperson for the world. People say John Lennon was a lover for the world. We’re all allowed to have our opinions, but honestly, Alphaville are the true heroes.

Do I want to be forever young?

Yes. And I will flourish because of it.