I’m thinking about doing a series on light and dark.

figures and silhouette.
illumination and shadows.
facts and secrets.
day and night.
the beauty you can see and the beauty you can’t.

because it’s fascinating, light and darkness.

terrifying and inviting and fascinating.

Wow. What a fantastic night. I can just scroll through all of this hurt and misery and I can understand it so much better now. I just - I had this thought yesterday and I let it slip away, didn’t go on and jot it down. But it came back to me today. To declare that I no longer believe in “ordinary.” When it comes to human beings. What is the ordinary human being??? I’ve always maintained this, said that we are all special, important, here for a reason. But for some strange reason, I’ve never really believed it when it came to myself. Not 100%. And this is coming to me after about a week or so of just realizations tumbling one after the other. But this is different. It feels different. 

This idea of the “ordinary” - it’d have to be based upon what someone deems average. A standard, baseline human being. With standard experiences and accomplishments and circumstances and qualities. And we don’t belong on a scale. Cannot possibly be put upon one and compared. Of one kind, but one of a kind. That’s the human being. And by whose standards? Whose grand scale of human grading? And why should their expectations be the ones that we measure ourselves against? 

No, here is no ordinary. We are all unique. We are all extraordinary. One of a kind in the midst of all humankind. That’s the nature of the thing. 

It’s just weird because my whole life I’ve had this crippling fear of being ordinary, but by whose standards? It’s like a child being afraid of the monsters underneath their bed. Every night their mom or dad can turn on the light, can show them. See, there’s nothing here. And the child can believe it for the time being, feel alright about themselves. But the next night, the monsters are back. Until eventually, with time, the child comes to realize that there never were anymore monsters. And they call off their nightly search - usually without even realizing that they’ve given up on the monsters. 

It’s like that. Every once in a while believing that I am enough, I am okay, we are all purposeful, that I am good. And then forgetting. Leaving myself out of the equation again. This fear of being ordinary sitting in the back of my mind. Underneath my bed. But ordinary how? By whose invisible measuring tape? 

It doesn’t exist. Not for me. Not anymore. 

I’m not racing against any clock. I’m not running out of time on my way to be anything that anyone (in my mind everyone) is expecting me to be. There’s no baseline. There’s no script I ought to be following. And I knew this, I did.

Tonight, I just woke up and internalized it for the first time. 

Those automatic thoughts that cripple me and choke me up all stem from this fear of what I expect other people to expect of me. That I’d be considered somehow not up to snuff, or simply ordinary based on their expectations. All of them pretty much being that I am less than. I expect everyone to think that I am inferior.  And when something happens that is the least bit out of line, or not according to plan, or not “ideal,” then I freeze up and I can’t function and I panic. Because I’m proving them right. I’m ordinarily insufficient. And even if it was something that seems trivial, I couldn’t ever get past that automatic feeling.

And now I know that that automatic feeling was the fear that I was failing. According to some scale I’d never seen. Some approval that I believed I needed. Some expectation I just wasn’t meeting. Because I’ve always wanted to be extraordinary, to exceed expectations. Since I was little, I’d been getting slips of paper that said I was doing just that. And somewhere along the way, it became the norm. To just exceed those expectations wherever I went. Until I got to the point where I wasn’t exactly sure what the expectations were but was still certain that I wasn’t anywhere near meeting the mark. Judging myself prematurely. 

But that’s just it. I’m not proving or disproving anything. And those expectations held by that invisible hand - they just don’t exist. 

The only ones that matter are my own. The bars that I set for myself. The responsibilities I accept. People will have expectations of me. But they are not my own. They don’t have to be. And they certainly don’t define me. 

And it is the most freeing thing I can think of. To take myself off of that invisible scale, the one that I suppose society and anxiety created together in my mind. It means a lot of things. It means that I don’t have to panic. It means that I am not failing. It means that I no longer have to resort to escapist behaviors in order to deal. Escape from what? There’s nothing to escape from. Ordinary doesn’t exist. I’m not on some path to mediocrity. I am extraordinary because I am. Phenomenal because I breathe. A singularity on the face of the planet. And I have such a grasp on things that you cannot ever comprehend fully, because the way that I operate and view this world does not depend upon your quantification system. You can attempt to recreate my lens, but you can never have the thing itself. And because I am an individual, you cannot rate or compare me to anything or anyone else.

You cannot equate that which you cannot define. Which you cannot fully know. 

And whether I’m acknowledged as such by friends and strangers and institutions or I am secretly extraordinary in a way that only I am privy to for as long as I live - it doesn’t change the truth, does it? Whether my being and perspective is praised or dismissed as I move on from here, it simply doesn’t matter. As long as I remain strong in my conviction that I have something worth offering and remember that I must be worth something due to my being here at all - well, that’s all that matters. Self-definition is the only definition that truly matters in life because it is the only definition that is wholly true. My truth guides my actions. And it is the only scale I step onto- regardless of where I am or whose company I am in. 

And those who understand that, try to understand me and see me for what I am. Well then they make up all the rest. 

There are no monsters underneath my bed. 

And so, I mean - fuck. 

I’m taking my kicks where I can find them. 

To hell with whoever wants to judge me for any of it. 

So, earlier today my mom walks into the kitchen looking for something to dry her hands and she goes 

"There’s no more paper towels?" And I kind of freeze. Because she’s not talking to me, right? But I know what this means. Everything that’s said in this house has a double meaning right now. So when my mom repeats the question, I can hear the sadness all wading through her tone. You know? And she doesn’t really have to say what she says next out loud, but she does anyway. 

"Well, it’s just like everything else. There’s no more anything in this house." And she says it in a tone that’s supposed to be joking, but it’s too fucking sad to come across that way. Her attempt at jest just sort of made it worse. Sadder. 

Now. 

I can’t really begin to describe how sad the whole thing was. It happened fairly quickly, over the course of about 30 seconds give or take a few. But I could feel my mom’s disappointment and shame and guilt and fucking sadness, you know? It was almost tangible. Has been for the past couple of weeks. Shit. Month. Thanksgiving was a quick reprieve, but not really. 

I wake up in this house and can almost taste how sad it is. When I breathe in the air is sort of thick with it. And there’s nowhere to go. Nowhere to escape it. So, I sort of sit here and I cocoon myself in these stories I wear as an armor and I try to make myself as comfortable as I can. It’s just dificult trying to fight off my inside sadness when it’s beating down on me from the outside, too. 

I feel like a burden here, nine times out of ten. I can’t help it. I know for a fact that it’d be easier for my mother if I weren’t here. If I was elsewhere. But there’s nowhere else to go, seeing as how my grandma is gone and my brother is down south. And anyway, I’ve got a standing appt. down the road on Tuesdays, and I can’t miss it. So, I’m sort of stuck here. 

I know she thinks I’m sort of a miserable, sorry git. But I’m trying. I feel like she’s not really trying anymore. These past couple of days she’s sort of just given up is what. Like - the other day we’re sitting on the couch and she’s stressing because she couldn’t go to her doctor’s appointment and she can’t pick up her medicine and she said something in the middle of her speaking like “I’m gonna die like this - no medicine, no check-up, no nothing.” And my sister and I just froze. I couldn’t look at her. I just looked up and paused. I’m assuming my sister did the same. It was stock-still silent. And my mom just goes “what? oh. i’m sorry.” with that same false light-hearted tone from today with the paper towels and I know and my sister knows that she was fucking serious as all get out. 

Like - too fucking soon, Mommy. Too fucking soon for you to be losing your shit. I get it - times are fucking hard. I get that. But you can’t be a suicidal mess. I honestly feel like she might be. I haven’t asked, but I mean - like recognizes like. The woman went to bed yesterday and she had a cigarette and a glass of wine for dinner after not eating all day. She’s a diabetic. -__- 

Okay. 

And honestly, when she said there was “no more anything” here - I got it. No more happiness. Or hope. Or sense of direction. None of it, money aside. So, it’s just been a really rough time. I’m sort of only just keeping my head above water. 

Like, I’m trying not to asphyxiate on the sadness, but I might just drown in it. 

This is sort of the least conducive place for a recovery of any kind. It really is. This is fucking madness. Sigh. 

How am I supposed to come and lean on any of these people if they aren’t standing on their own two feet? 

And then people wonder why I’ve kept all of my issues to myself. 

I’m not the only one in this house that needs therapy. I’m really not. 

So, I cry a lot. However, I don’t think I cry more than the average person (although the past few months might skew those figures a bit). 

Point is, when I cry, I usually end up crying to a soundtrack. The tears start falling and, if circumstances allow for it, I usually put on a song. Sometimes it’s to cheer me up if I’m crying over something petty. If it’s angry tears. Sometimes it’s to make it a little worse - like putting on Adele when you’re crying over love lost that you’ve never had to lose in the first place.

Or sometimes, sometimes you put on the song that’s going to pat you on the back as you cry. Hold you when no one else is there to do it for you. The song that you let in to wipe your tears when you’re too embarrassed to let anyone else. The one that knows exactly what you need and how you feel and will sort of cradle you to sleep and blanket you in understanding. Whether it’s the sound or the lyrics or both - that song can do you more good than it feels like anyone else can. Maybe because you think no one’s up to the task. Nobody cares enough. Maybe because you’re a little weak and can’t bring yourself to ask, even if they were. Maybe just because of that innate relationship that music has with the soul, I don’t know. Maybe pressing play is just easier and mp3s ask less questions. I’ve had a more than a few of those songs over the years. Who hasn’t?

I’m thinking of like Details in the FabricBe Here Now, fuck, Hey Jude, There is a Light That Never Goes Out, Salty Eyes, Be Mine!, Nothing Even Matters, Count On Me, Lover You Should’ve Come Over, Stand By Me, Give Me Love, Love Will Tear Us Apart, Mr. Tambourine Man, Stop This Train, or Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Make You Feel My Love, or Aqui Estoy Yo, or Cleanse SongGravity Rides Everything, anything you know? There have been so, so many songs that have done that for me. And any song I could put on that list, dozens of them, I’ve sort of cataloged and saved for the appropriate rainy day. And I dust them off without thinking about it - it’s automatic. This song for this feeling.

They’re the titles to emotions I can’t quite put my finger on.

And somehow my body just knows to put that particular track on.

But anyway. 

This is the song I’ve been crying to lately. When I get the mean reds, or everything sort of seems like it’s kind of caving in on me and I can’t speak - this is the audio file I turn to nine times out of ten. At least for the past few weeks. 

And I think it’s important to put here. Just because…well, it’s important to me. And I don’t think that I’m going to forget it, later on, but I might not remember how it felt exactly. It might not mean as much to me later as it does right now. Like Asleep doesn’t mean the same exact thing to me now as it did in 7th grade. 

Hopefully, the reason I turn to this song is eradicated in the near future. And I can turn to it for other reasons. And count that as a victory. Until then, I’ll be a snot-nosed something or the other with a wet pillowcase and a watery smile and this song. 

And it’s not okay. But it will be. 

It’s all just so much worse once you know what’s happening and you’re powerless to stop it. I can see the steps of the cycle and I can’t not keep form.

I’ve got the family I’ve got by default. 

I’ve made the friends I’ve made by default. Been adopted, more like. All my life. So, really - just have been gifted with kindhearted souls that are willing to deal with me on a regular basis. 

And I have ended up like this by default. Some sort of crazy half-wit that used to be something, once upon a time. 

I don’t really get what good can possibly come next. And all of these admissions to no one are sort of tearworthy, I guess.

But what use is crying? 

I’m sort of nothing when everything I amount to is sort of spread out all over the place or dead or whatever. And that’s not going to change. 

But people allowing me things by default - that’s certainly going to change. Already has. And I fucked up in school because well - I wasn’t ready for it to. I needed some kindhearted person to see me and go "oh, this poor fuck" and take me in and show me grace or pity and make me feel like something

I’m as pitiful as can fucking be. I really am. 

And I’m crying anyway. Ugh. Fuck all. 

I’m certifiably nuts. 

This is bananas. And like - who can you even tell? 

Like really, really tell? Because you are indeed crazy and all anyone is gonna say is going to be exactly that. 

God - I’m an unstable mess. 

I don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel here. Like how does one become un-crazy? 

I get anxious. I run away. I get sad about it. I run a little further. I realize there’s nowhere to go and then I get a little sadder and then it’s all a dead end and I kind of want to kill myself. 

How do you stop that from happening? And the answer can’t be “stop it where it starts” because the entire thing takes off running. 

There’s nowhere to go. 

I can dream about quaint little French villages or quiet little Italian towns or Chianti and Tuscan sun but the sun is selfsame no matter where it happens to be shining and so are you. 

It’s not where I am, it’s who I am. 

I’ve fallen to a wanderlust that can only be stayed via the detailing of your body with my lips. 

A cartographer’s kiss. 

First rough sketches, hands skimming plains of sun-warm skin. Adjusting to climate and the lay of the land across a pure white sky. Pressing the heel of my hand to the hill of your hips, causing rise to markers with the pressure from my lips. 

Measuring out the distances between places of interest. Marking them for future reference, and all the while scaling you down to these landmark spaces. Taking note of just how they light up the whole. Compass rose at your center that outshines the brightest of stars. 

But you…you are a constellation. 

So, I have set myself to filling in your finer details. Cataloging the route your pulse takes to make it back home. Passages revealing themselves with a nearly-there touch; betraying themselves with the hint of my breath, the hitch of yours. 

I want to walk your paths with everything I am above the knee. 

And to draw, with pencil, the most detailed map there is to be had. Neatlines to rivers, caverns to castles. Pushing and watching you sink into that white horizon, tracing then erasing every golden line and curve of your construction.

Only to traverse them again and again, sketching away with all of my senses in a vain attempt to commit to memory an everchanging landscape. 

Think about all of the things that happen in New York City on a daily basis. All of the decisions that are made by people you’ll never meet and whose faces you don’t recognize that have such an enormous impact on the world. Things happen in New York that change the world. 

That’s where people go when they want to change the world. 

Why would you want to be anywhere else? Live anywhere else?

There’s Paris, there’s London, Tokyo. Los Angeles. All lovely in their own right. But none of those cities is New York City.