The Secret Order of Things

It’s been two years since my last blog post. It’s been over a year since I had a laptop. It’s been longer than that since I felt I had anything to say. Before I get into the usual movie reviews, dissecting the current state of pro-wrestling, or discussing this nightmare election season we find ourselves in here in America; I’d like to give a recap of these last few years. Not so much because I think I owe anyone an explanation for my absence or anyone even cares for that matter, sometimes you have to look back and reflect before you can move on.

I’m sitting here writing this after just after my 39th birthday. For the last few years I have been through a few things. Nothing more than most people, the problem was I did not handle it well. I guess I have to go back to the beginning of the end of who I was. In 2012 I came back to Atlanta, Georgia from the West Coast. I felt defeated, broken, and worthless. I reacted the way I had always reacted to defeat since I was a teenager. I drank, drank, and drank some more. It’s been said that a winner is not judged by how they handle victory, but how they handle defeat. I curled up into a little ball and prayed for death. Death did not come for me though. Instead it took one of my best friends and man I considered a little brother. I did not handle this well either. Death was not done with just Matt.

A few months before his death I became involved with a woman. Part of what I was going through after my break-up/divorce, was I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything to anyone. I was selling weed and getting fired from my job for stealing chicken. I felt like a scumbag and I was going to be the biggest scum bag I could be. So one night while enjoying cocktails at my favorite local gentleman’s club a young lady caught my eye. She brought me home with her and well, didn’t take me home for a few days. It wasn’t that cut a dry though. She was a mother of three and for anyone who knows me I had always been against the idea of sleeping with breeders. I made light of it, but it was a real thing for me. I had always harbored deep resentment for men my mother dated when I was a young boy. I hated them all and felt they had no right to touch my mother or come into my life and tell me what to do. I was a horrible brat and caused my mother much pain. I was insufferable and did whatever I could to drive a wedge between her and whomever she happened to date until she reunited with my father in an attempt to give me some type of guidance. It did not go well. I resented my father even more than mothers’ suitors. We butted heads and eventually I left them to live with my grandmother. In doing so I left my poor mother with an asshole who beat her and mistreated her until she too had to return to my grandmothers. The guilt from that has plagued me and I dealt with it by refusing to sleep with anyone’s mother.

A weird way to process that, but it’s what I did. This woman however was also soon to become a grandmother. My saying was “I’m an asshole-not a motherfucker!”, I had been repeating that phrase for over a decade at this point. Yet here was a woman who wanted to sleep with me and I wanted to sleep with, so I formulated that her impeding grand-motherhood gave me an out. I even went as far as to text my roommate and verify this was an acceptable loophole. After she gave me the thumbs up I dove head long into a relationship that would reinforce my original viewpoint. Little did I know at the time what I was getting myself into. She was dealing with a series of events that left her in a rather dark place. Her young daughter becoming pregnant was just the tip of the iceberg. I learned all this rather quickly.

There were more than an ample amount of red flags warning me that this was a bad situation and I was only going to make it worse. I found a job shortly after we began our affair, but I wanted to continue to supplement my income with marijuana. I found the hours at my new gig too demanding to spend all my time sitting in a strip club at the bottom of an abandoned hotel slinging twenty dollar sacks of weed. She however felt she had all the time in the world to do that for me. I seized the opportunity and put her to work. This was just one of the many, many mistakes I was to make. She worked from home as some kind of computer consultant but was required to go into her office at least a few times a week. After a few months she was out of a job. Now to be fare I found out not long after we hooked up that she had a pretty bad cocaine habit and it was in fact way worse than I knew about at the time. Once she quit working the drugs came into play big time. It was around this time that I lost my little brother Matt. I had also moved onto another job and had more free time to spend, so distraught over the loss of my friend and reeling with guilt for not being there for him more when he needed me. I dove head long into drugs as well. Not cocaine mind you but she could through her constant hanging out in bars and strip clubs while I was at work, could procure all manner of intoxicants. I preferred mushrooms, ecstasy and any other kind of psychedelics.

Soon she was bringing me jars of pills and shrooms to keep me happy. I had lost interest in the physical aspect of relationship after I discovered just how bad her addictions were. I should have ended things then; I did make several half-ass attempts but my greed got the better of me. She was doing all the leg work for me when it came to my business and I was reaping all the benefits plus free drugs. I spent a few months in a haze, it wasn’t very long but it was too long. I was dying inside. I took a trip back out to the West Coast in hopes of seeing my ex and maybe feeling something again. It was a bust she was in Mexico during the time and I only saw her briefly. She offered no comfort and I left even more dejected than I arrived. Yet I knew things couldn’t go on with this woman, this grandmother to be! I felt like I was ruining her life. I wasn’t in love with her. I was scared of her and scared for her most of the time. She had sent two of her children away to live with their father and was planning on shipping the third away as soon as she gave birth. We were both spiraling out of control. Neither of us was going to get any better as long as we kept feeding into the others depression. And that’s all we were doing to sad people masking our sadness with drugs and alcohol and not dealing with anything. So after much deliberation I ended it after I returned from my dismal trip.

This is when things really got bad. She became obsessed with ruining me. She cut off my ability to sell weed at the usual spot. She railed against me to anyone who would listen making me a pariah in a place where I once felt most at home. Though to me she would send endless text begging me to come back to her while alternately damning my very existence. To make matters worse in the midst of all this I was arrested which effectively ended my extracurricular activities. This was actually fine by me. Not the getting arrested but I was tired of being a petty drug dealer. It was consuming too much of my time for not nearly enough loot. I also used this as an opportunity to withdraw from our little strip club community. I got a second job, I stopped going out. Partially because I had no time with two gigs, but partially because I didn’t want to deal with her or the mess that I had help make. I walled myself up in my room and focused solely on Grand Theft Auto V. It became my world. I wanted nothing to do with anything else. Inside the game I was free and I was happy. There was no drama that pulling out an Uzi sub machine gun or dropping a tank out of the sky couldn’t solve.

My ex used to say that I would never amount to anything because I had too many distractions. I had everything I needed and therefore felt unmotivated. GTA was just another distraction, another way to hide from reality and mask my pain. I was beating myself up inside over all the mistakes I had made. Over the loss of my friend, the loss of my relationship out West. My grandfather died during all of this too. All though we weren’t very close it saddened me that I never got to see him during his final years and the last time we spoke was my grandmother’s funeral where I was not very kind to him. I had a lot of things I needed to process and I thought long and hard about them as I ran through a fictional computer generated version of LA laying waste to pre-teen narcissist online. It was a grim time and I thought one I would stay in forever.

Of course I kept all of this inside and simply threw myself into more drinking and fawning over my new romantic interest. As we grew closer I kept this shame to myself, in hindsight I should have opened up more, explained the shit I was feeling inside, but I didn’t I just let it fester inside. Around this time, I had begun more earnest communication with my ex out in California. No talks of rekindling our love, just talking as two people who used to be friends at one point. Though in the back of my mind I still held a candle of hope. A candle that would not eventually burn out so much and be thrown on the floor to light the whole house on fire.

Before we get to that part I want to touch on those six months I spent alone in my room, sitting in the dark lost in an imaginary world. I spent that time thinking. A lot. I thought about the mistakes I had made, not just in California but throughout my life. I thought about all the decisions that had led me to that point. I thought about all the times I chose to run rather than stay and fight. All the times I should have went left and I went right. I thought about all the times I should have zagged when I zigged. I was beating myself up because I felt like a failure. I had felt like a failure since I returned. Now it was compounded, I was 36 and busted with weed like a teenager. I had done nothing in over a year and now I thought I was under the belief that I was going to be on probation and stuck here unable to anything else. I was feeling trapped and I was trapping myself. Building up a wall, brick by brick, higher and higher each day. I worked 7, 8, sometimes 16 days in a row. I would go 3, 4, days without showering or brushing my teeth. It was then I upped my self-medication to two gallons of whiskey a week at home, not counting whatever I could consume at my two jobs. I was not well. I looked like a grizzled old street urchin. I wanted my outside to match how I felt inside. I felt like a worthless bum, so I wanted to look like one. I grew a patchwork beard more white than gray. The bags formed under my eyes because despite my grueling work schedule I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t forgive myself for not being there when Lil Matt needed me. I couldn’t forgive myself for ruining my relationship and being sent back to the South.

I wasn’t some blubbering mess though. I knew my problems weren’t as big as some peoples. I know many more people all around me were dealing with much worse things feeling regret for the first time in their lives. When I did go out I was still my usual gregarious/obnoxious self. I was still loud and rude and an asshole at work. When I did go out I tried my best to smile and be fun, but I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling like myself. I was in a dark place and I wasn’t happy with myself. At the time I don’t even think I was aware of how depressed I was. I was paralyzed by fear, guilt and regret, and it was eating me alive. It wasn’t the loneliness, that I could handle. I spent enough time alone in the dark. During my first stint behind bars I spent 45 days in and 34 of those days were in solitary confinement. When I went to prison I spent 3 of my eight months in the hole. When my mother died I held up in my grandmother’s basement for three months. I was better than okay with being by myself I was great at it. I wasn’t looking for someone new to love, I didn’t think I was even worthy of someone new to love.

At first it was the perfect set up. Someone that didn’t have to see me every day. Someone who wouldn’t get annoyed by my presence, or grow bored with my company. Someone who would miss me. We talked through text and on the phone for months. I went back for Christmas and we held up in a cheap motel for days. She came to visit a few months later, and the love grew. A real romance blossomed, but in the back of my mind the fear, guilt and regret were still eating at me. The demons in my head said that I couldn’t be happy, and I believed them. I felt the need to keep her at a distance was for the best. After all the last person who cared about me wound up dead. The person before that didn’t even want to live on the same side of the country as me. I was still awaiting my day in court for a petty driving without a license and simple possession charge. Even though I worked two jobs I had no money saved up. I couldn’t drive. My two front teeth were chipped, and my belly was way too big. I didn’t have anything to offer. I still felt worthless. I still felt like I wasn’t enough. There were cracks in my wall but it was still standing tall enough I couldn’t see out. I was still buried under my depression and I couldn’t see a way out. She wanted me to return to the place that gave birth to me, but I couldn’t do it. I kept thinking about how if I returned now I would return the same way I did to Atlanta-as a failure. I would see my nieces and my sisters and they would know that I went out into the world and accomplished nothing. I made it all the way to California and didn’t do a goddamn thing.

In 2011 I spent two months in LA hanging around an old friend from North Carolina. Her husband and all her friends are comedians. After I left I watched as they became more and more well known to the point they had their own show on television. People I met starred in movies, to shows, commercials. While I sat in the dark jerking off and feeling sorry for myself. I should have been motivated, but instead I withdrew even further. I saw my looks, my youth slipping away. All the answers I thought I had turned out to be wrong. Anyone who tried to follow in my footsteps did not end well. I had dug this whole for myself, I had no one to blame, no outside forces to scapegoat. I had the time, I had means (at one point), but instead I chose to squander it and fall deeper and deeper into darkness. How could someone love me. How could I be worthy of care or compassion. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. So I made excuses, I made obstacles that made things worse. I went out west to visit my ex when I should have gone home.

I spent a week in the desert with my former lover and her current one. A decision that I will regret for some time. As a result of my fool’s errand I learned the devastating truth as to why I was cast aside in 2012. The woman who had preoccupied my thoughts for the previous two years, who’s love I felt unworthy of, the woman who I had spent a great deal of time preoccupied with wondering where I went wrong, had in fact been unfaithful to me. She had betrayed my trust. And worse than that had allowed me to sit in darkness blaming myself for two years. I lost it even more to say the least. I allowed this new knowledge to push me even further down the wrong path. Everything I had felt for the last several years seemed like a lie. I had blamed my own shortcomings and it wasn’t just me who had failed. I had my suspicions but now that it was confirmed I was devastated. In the meantime, I was damaging any chances that my new romance could be salvaged. What was worse that I was cast aside because I wasn’t good enough or because I wasn’t just enough. I was losing my mind that I had already lost. “How do you lose something that’s lost?”, you say. This is the secret order of things, how one little lie can spiral a life out of control and send a person down a dark road with no end in sight.

It didn’t take me very long to rationalize it all. To accept the fact that I had cheated on nearly every woman I had ever been with and who had ever cared about me. I knew I was no better. In fact, I was worse. I felt I deserved it. Even though I had spent my entire life believing that nobody deserved anything. I always believed you got what you got. That’s why playing cards always made so much sense to me and I took to it so quickly. You play the hand your dealt and try to make the best of it. If you get delta a bum hand you wait until the next round and hope for better cards. The problem I was having was I was too preoccupied about my last hand that I missed the good cards I was just dealt. This can be a problem when your heads not in the game. You lose one round and you keep losing until you’re out. This is what I was dealing with. My mind couldn’t focus on what was in front of me, all I could see was the past. I felt like the years I once looked back upon fondly were nothing but lies, a fiction I created in my head. Now with this new information I was looking back and seeing all the signs. So when I did stop and turn around I saw nothing but new signs that said I shouldn’t go that way. Whether or not they were there or not was up for debate. I couldn’t see straight for the life of me. Nothing was true anymore and nothing was permitted. Paralyzed again. How was I going to get out of this? How was I going to escape this trap that I made mostly myself? it wasn’t my ex’s fault? I had time to let go and I didn’t I stayed with this thing until it ate me up and then once I was almost free I poked the bear with a stick again and paid for it. I know I’m confusing my metaphors again. The whiskey is getting to me and the sun is coming up. How this all ends I may never no. there are no happy endings in real life, there are simply endings.

After a few months of wallowing, I realized I would have to let all of this go. I would have to let everything go. I was hurting people because I was hurting, and until I was able to get over all of this and move forward I was no good for anybody. I want to run away, I want to run to a beach and live in anonymity, I want to be free of all this. But, you know the old saying about wishing in one had! These past few years have been difficult but they haven’t been all bad. I’ve had some good times with all three of these women, plus a few more. I’ve had some good times with friends, seen some incredible bands, been back and forth to the West Coast a few times and seen some things I will never forget. I have a lot of work left to do on myself, I still have things I would like to accomplish. The goal is to not completely give up and abandon all hope. I’ve come dangerously close over the last few years. The state of the world has not helped, but more on that later. 2017 is right around the corner, we’re moving forward regardless. I ended up dealing with my 2013 arrest by getting my license for the first time in my life at age 38. I’ve went down to one job and the lightened work load has given me more peace of mine. I was burning the candle at both ends for too long. I’m slowly trying to crawl out of this pit. I didn’t get here over night so I don’t think I’ll be getting out that soon either. It took years to shake the things prison did to my mind and some of that still lingers. Now that I’m able to share my writing and my thoughts again I can release some of the things I’ve been keeping inside. I truly missed this feeling. Typing all this out has been cathartic, let’s hope it’s not two years before my next post!

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