Nothing I did amounted to love

I was selfish, abusive, weak, pathetic, and negative

I never showed I cared or I wanted to help

I never gave enough

I deserve your anger, sadness, frustrations, and pain. I’m was as evil as you remembered. Give it back to me whenever you need to, if it helps. I’m sorry I ever wrapped my hands around your neck. I’m sorry I made you feel terrible about yourself. Write it for me so I can hurt with you. You and I don’t have normal lives, do we? At least, there’s a hope for you now. Good things are coming if you can get past this pain. You leaving was the best thing that happened for you. And I know it sucks, but the best I can do is admit all my wrongs. Sorry.

 

 

Today I sparred for the first time. It wasn’t as violent as I thought it would be. Love taps. But still there’s something about getting smacked in the nose that wakes you up. I wonder why when people fight, there’s an instinct to hit someone in the head. It’s an inherent knowledge that that’s the best way to fuck someone up. I got a few good hits in. Maybe he gave me those few. I threw a few hooks. Twist at the hip. Flex your ass cheek. I’m getting better and stronger. There were moments when you get in the zone. You just move right. You block all the hits. You twist and you send a few back. He’s this Russian guy named Zeez, and by round 2, he came at me with more force. A shot in my stomach took the breath out of me. But all those crunches are paying off. I bounced back. I think life is all about bouncing back.

At my gym, there’s a lot of characters. Dean has this thick accent. Whenever he advises me, he says that’s bet-ah. There’s David who gives me a lot of shit. After a few hundred crunches, he saw me smack my own stomach, hard. I did it to tell myself I can take more pain. He doesn’t hand out compliments, but he gave me one then. Every day, I’m drenched in sweat and it’s the only time I feel at peace lately. I leave the gym after I shower, and I don’t feel afraid anymore. Jerome, Elias, and Eli are regulars and I’m slowly gaining respect. I can feel it as they bump gloves with me now.

I’m not backing down lately. There was a confrontation yesterday. If you have something to say, just say it. We’re both adults. I can’t read your mind. If you want something from me, let’s put it out there because that’s the only way we’ll feel better. I said all this shit. Unrealistic expectations. I thought about myself and how I treated people back then. That’s some weakass shit. Help yourself, and people will help you more.

I don’t regret standing up for myself especially after he called me out in front of everyone What is this really about? It’s important to figure that out with people… I won that round, and I’m a pacifist. I don’t go looking for fights but he wanted to make an example out of me.

Ask a girl out in person. Get in the ring and spar. Tell my boss I want more responsibilities and that I’ll create an event. Everything I set out to do this month, I fucking did it with a day to spare. I feel hollow, but I’m becoming someone I want to become. I have a long way to go. The truth is I’m afraid to leave, even though I know it’s the right path for me. Get back to school. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of a lot of things.

 

 

Family Man

The truth is I don’t want to help my family. I’m stretching myself too thin lately. The idea of being an example for my family enervates me. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to guide them, especially when I’m a mess right now.

I crawled out of bed and wallowed in front of the mirror. You need to start packing and then they’ll follow your example. I nodded. My reflection looked annoyed. He was selfish, but he was true to myself. Nothing but silence for a while. I’ll let them down if I don’t. This is being a man! No, they let you down. They’ve let you down for so long. They didn’t accept you. And now they want you because they’re down. I’ve decided to text my dad saying I won’t be coming back anymore.

I was supposed to meet Tony at Lee’s today. I texted him. My son has a 101 fever, bro. Immediately, I offered to buy medicine or take them to the hospital. No, he said, he’s got it. I wanted to ask him for advice, but in a way, he told me. Family is important. You don’t choose your family but you can choose how you are with them.

I’m a goddamn family man. Even if I don’t always act like it. Even if I shy away from it socially, maybe because of my own loud and terrible thoughts, even if I’d like to think I’m a loner. The truth is I’ve always wanted to feel a part of a family.

The truth is I wish I could just live my own life. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my parents. My sister feels this way too because they never took care of us. And now when we’re supposed to live our lives, when they expect us to find success, we have to divide our time, money, and efforts in raising them up. The worst is after we gave them everything, they don’t follow through. They go back to their old, bad habits. It’s hard not to see my dad’s selfishness as he uses money for our family to revive his dead business. It really does feel like we’re running a marathon with shot feet. Along with mental health shit…

This isn’t to say I’m ungrateful. They did the best they could. It just really sucks to admit it wasn’t enough. My sister and I share the history of being damaged. And maybe that’s why I wanted to reconnect with her. I want to look back to stoicism. My suffering is designed for me. My suffering is meant for me to overcome. On the other side is a greater person.

I began to get angry. Then I had this moment of reflection. Why was I angry about this trivial thing? Why am I such an angry person? Who am I angry at? Am I angry at my mom? No. Was I angry at my dad? Was I even angry with a person in particular? The answer almost came instantly. I’m angry at myself. A calm swept over me. I felt numb. I’m angry with myself. Why? I kept probing. Maybe I never let myself come through enough. Maybe I never paid attention to my own needs. Maybe I allowed myself to become so small and quiet that I felt I didn’t exist. And maybe every time I did something evil, it was because I was repressing all my anger with myself until it had to come out in some terrible shape or form. I am angry at myself. I’m not angry at you. I’m angry that I couldn’t handle or understand why you would do that because I never allowed myself to do that. But it was me who was being inhumane. How could I deny my humanity for so long?

Can anybody find me somebody to love?

No! A disembodied voice, possibly God.

But I’m in a lot of pain. I think I only know how to love. When I wake up, everything feels heavy. I feel like I’m not allowing myself to be myself. I want to act cold to everyone, but it’s not me.

Too bad! You need to figure your own shit out. You need to learn to love yourself. Otherwise you’ll just make someone else miserable.

Am I doomed to be alone? Am I doomed to be in a loveless marriage? I only see two paths before me because they are the paths of my parents.

Hey man, you should stop thinking about that stuff. Let’s just eat a lot of junk food, buy stupid shit we don’t need, and smoke.

Satan?

Shhhhh. It’s cool.

Yeah it is cool. Thanks Satan.

 

 

Dream Escape

If I told you this were a dream, would any of this matter? If I said it were all in my head, then maybe you wouldn’t feel disappointed when you realize none of this is real. Yet it felt really real. To me. This is for me. All for me, none for you. The ravine was dark. The ravine was wet. From the floor up, it was a nightmare. Eyes like blood glared down at me. It’s a moody opening, but I think life’s moody at times. And maybe you’re wondering well why did you begin so moody? I was born moody, boom. So you find me lying down in a moody ravine. It’s raining as well. Why? Because it’s raining outside right now.
And maybe seasonal depression is for real. But we all find ourselves in dark places, in dark times, sometimes. Why are you down here away from everyone else? Because I’m lonely. A dark ravine drenched in rainfall is how I feel! And you might be thinking, fuck this guy, he doesn’t know what I’m thinking. Or you might be thinking, this guy overthinks a lot. Both are true.

You ever catch yourself before the fall? Midst fall? I’m better at catching myself now. A car’s going to hit me. That person will be a total dick. I might swerve and fly off the freeway. Wait a minute. Why the fuck was I thinking about all this stuff anyways? I’m driving to get a donut. But I’m not. I’m in that ravine, remember? Oh yeah there’s a cannibal who wants my tenderloin. I’ve named him Oog because he makes an oog noise when he stalks me. I’m not good with names.

There’s always room for questions. Why a cannibal? Why a ravine? Why me? Well I don’t really know, and truthfully I’m pulling things from my immediate imagination. Or my ass. Because that’s what dreams are. No one ever goes wait a minute I’m in a dream; this is stupid.

Oog is my friend. Well he feels like my friend. As much of a friend as one who tries to kill you. And maybe those are your best friends. Because they love you. And when you love someone, you hate them. Secretly. Or openly. Oog has stalked me for the last few days. I can hear his stomach gurgle. He’s not a good hunter. But I’m not a good human. Perhaps we were destined to follow one another. Go away, Oog. You won’t get to taste my tenderloin tonight. And if you do, I’m taking at least one of your eyeballs. Will it be worth it? Your eye for my tenderloin? I cover myself in sodden leaves and silence my breathing like how I silence my phone at AMC.

Petrified is a word. But I’m not petrified. I’m kind of just existing at the moment. There’s been a lot of back pedaling. But you know what? Life’s all about back pedaling. One moment you think you’re on a path. The next, a giant gorilla named Life has obstructed your path with menacing banana the size of a truck, which he has christened Optimus. And what does Life and Optimus want to do with you. They want to fuck you in the ass. Because Life will fuck you in the ass one way or another. And you might be thinking oh no not me. I’ll never take it up the ass because I’m this or that. Wrong! You might even live a silver spoon life, and I guarantee you’ll still feel like shit at some point in life. So Life and Optimus are leering at you. What do you do?

You back pedal the fuck away. And maybe that’s how I came to be in this ravine. Because I back pedaled off a cliff, and as I came hurling down the mountain I thought of Squidward when he wouldn’t jellyfish with Patrick and Spongebob. There’s probably someone out there in this world who does deep analysis of Spongebob episodes. And that person is me. If only Squidward partook in their merriment, he wouldn’t have to explode. Anyways you want to hear about Oog and my tenderloin.

Oog is a vicious motherfucker. Sure he’s stupid. And sure he lets his stomach gurgle when he’s near prey. But he’s hungry. Give him a break. Since I fell down the mountain, I found myself waddling through the ravine. My leg’s fucked up as in I’m limping with my snapped leg, dragging my exposed femur among decayed, crunchy leaves. A trail of blood and tears. And what do I stumble upon? Dismembered bodies. Limbs and limbs strewn with flies. Skulls crushed between Oog’s powerful hands. There are bodies that still have features of a person. This one was a fat man who never had a chance. This one was a little girl who also never had a chance. This one was a beautiful woman who died right away from falling off the cliff. And why didn’t Oog eat the rest of the bodies especially if he were seriously hungry? Because the tenderloin is like the center of a cinnamon roll, the most delicious part that makes you moan in ecstasy when you take that first bite. Oog is all about that first bite.

I, of all people, have a chance. Why? Because I can’t tell myself I don’t have a chance. Oh sure I don’t believe it. Oh sure, I’ve cried. Oh sure I’ve erupted in anger. But you can’t tell yourself you don’t have a chance because then you end up like that fatman. Or the little girl. And sometimes you simply don’t have a chance like that beautiful woman, whom I’ve named Charlotte. But if you’re struggling, barely getting by, you might as well say you have a chance. I have a chance to escape this ravine. I’m going to drag my limp, broken leg up the cliff and defeat the gorilla and Optimus.

So I’m going back to the cliff. And Oog knows this. He’s been following me. He’s a sadist. He knows I’ll fail. And when I come hurling down the mountain the second time, with my other femur snapped, he’ll be waiting for me.

It’s day 5. I’ve army-crawled my way to the cliff. The rocks are cool to the touch, but when I wrap my hands onto them, they scrap my flesh. Ribbons of blood begin to pour down my arms. Sometimes you have to bear a smaller pain to avoid a greater pain. I don’t want to be eaten by the cannibal. There’s a basic instinct for survival even though I don’t have much to live for. Up, up and away. One hand over the other. My dangling leg is dead weight. I won’t deny I had the urge to lop it off and throw it at Oog. Here, motherfucker. You’re not getting my tenderloin. You can have this decayed piece of me, instead. Isn’t that the biggest fuck you? You give someone something they didn’t want, just dangling the best of yourself in front of their bloodshot eyes.

My hands are slippery with blood. Don’t look down. Don’t look back. Don’t look down. My leg slips, and I almost want to give up. You know dying is always an option. There’s no greater act of agency in this life than taking your own life. I mean, nothing matters after that. Really. Nothing matters. My arms are burning. I imagine lactic acid is the same as battery acid. My femur slams against the rocks. Pain travels up nerves. I can’t take it anymore. I’m not strong. I’m not strong. A bliss fills me head. Let go. Just let go. The fall will kill you. I stare down. The fall will certainly not kill me. I’m only 5 ft high up the fucking cliff side.

What do you do when you’re devoid of any motivation, when you’re robbed of all energy, and you simply want to go to sleep? Eternal sleep, only to wake up and say FUCK I’m still alive. Let go. I let go. The fall is slow. The impact hurts. And Oog is already on me, gnawing at my flesh. I scream in agony. He wraps his Neanderthal hands around my temples. I’ve felt this pain before. I’ve had a migraine before. This is just a migraine x10. I’ve had this thought before –that if humanity returned to some sort of animalistic hierarchy, I wouldn’t survive. I’m like a fucking chicken when all goes to shit and the lions come. A calm sweeps over me. Go ahead. I’m done. He digs into my chest cavity with his hands. I’m already dead. Thump Thump Thump. My poor heart is exposed, pumping with the last bit of vitality. He rips it out and ingest it raw. My face has been crushed and I’m left in that ravine with those who never had a chance. And the last thing I see? His fervor. His hunger.

Little Things

Often I focus on my shortcomings. It really felt like I wasn’t doing well lately. But I want to focus on some good. “Your jabs looked good. You almost looked like a boxer!” My coach yelled. I nodded. This wasn’t a big deal at the moment because I’m there for myself. He usually makes me the butt of his jokes in class. “Alan, you’ll be my greatest project. If I can make a boxer out of you, I can do anything!” Ha ha, it’s actually pretty funny. He has this Boston accent and he always gives me a hard time. I’ve been around guys like him before. You get angry then you lose. You laugh along and you work harder to prove them wrong. Besides, it’s true –I got a long way to go. By the end of the month, it’ll be my first sparring match.

I haven’t gotten a big donation for a few months. The last was a 45,000 donation based on my writing. No joke, three towering pallets of quality school supplies from a NY company, all for the kiddos. There were a few hundreds coming in because of me, but nothing as amazing. Well I was losing hope for this next event. Crickets! Until I got a phone call Friday. This company responded to my letter, bringing 600 pairs of socks for us. I was in high spirits this morning. Then another company responded, saying they’ll have a few hundred articles of clothes for me on Wednesday. And then another promised two vans full of clothes! I left work earlier to head to the fashion district. A streetwear company gave me some great stuff. Maybe luck favors the fool.

My first Tinder date went well. It was a 6 hour date. She noticed my scarred and bloody hands right away. We were honest about ourselves, and she told me she had a great time. But I guess not all things work out. A few days later, I received a text saying she’s not comfortable continuing things with me given my violent past. I wanted to pour my heart out saying I don’t blame her, but I’m trying my best to change. Doesn’t that count for something? But I didn’t. I’m not going to force these things anymore. Sadly and reluctantly, I set up another date with another girl. I made her happy, but she didn’t make me happy. A part of me wants to ask her out again for the sake of my loneliness. But I won’t. I’ve done enough damage to others. At least people want to date me?

My habits oscillate between hedonistic and ascetic. Some days I subsist on cigarettes and coffee. Other days, I eat like shit all day. Whenever the whim of duhhhh that looks good passes me, well, I’m already at the cash register. Why yes, I will take that abomination of a burger. It has three kinds of bacon? My body says no, but I’m the captain! So I sat by the window stuffing that heaping basketball of grease into my unhinged maw. Must have been a beautiful thing to behold.

I’m reading books about domestic abuse and it grinds my stomach up. I was the victim and I was the villain. I wasn’t good enough to stop spreading the pain. I wrapped my hands around your neck just as my mom had wrapped her hands around mine when I was 8. This will haunt me for the rest of my days. But you… you were always stronger than me. You left scarred and hurt, but I know you would never do that to anyone. You were always the best person I knew. I’m sorry I had to be your brush with true evil. If there’s any gem from your time with me, I hope it’s that you know the signs of a psychotic, abusive partner.

For better or worse, I don’t recognize myself sometimes when I stand naked in front of the mirror. I’m a lean turkey with, at long last, abs. I’m tattooed, and I’ll probably be more tattooed in the future. My hands are fucked up. My eyes are bleary and shadowed. My face is more squared and muscular than it’s ever been. How do I love this stupid, wonderful, sad, and kind motherfucker? I have a long way to go…