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Of letting yourself go…in a bad way

Life is one amazing journey. Through the troubles, surprises, and successes we learn more about ourselves than any time prior to the now. So why, through these amazing experiences, is one still capable of letting all the success and pleasant surprises go, only to stand once again amongst a fist full of troubles? To be in the center of letting yourself go…in a bad way.

We have our goals and dreams in life that we pursue. All with flickers of hope that spawn creativity and inspiration. Though while through such we experience moments of despair and willingness to give up hope, once drove us to limits we’d never experienced. I write this post because I have a friend, remaining anonymous, who is an aspiring actor. He spent decent money to get himself in shape, amazing head-shots, and willingly gave time to local theater and independent film projects attempting to make his name. Day and night he worked, sometimes until five in the morning when he’d call to ask me if a certain sentence made sense or to simply feel out my emotional response to a reading. Most were amazing, others needed only slight improvement, but he continued to work. He followed his dream with a determination that I envied myself. His dream also brought him to the west coast, Los Angeles in particular.

I met up with him today, though he seemed busy. He just got off work and wished to do some manscaping before his boyfriend got home for the night. Always handsome, and always a good friend, I still blushed as he stripped to nothing to begin the process of trimming his chest and pubes. But as he did so, I noticed a great change in him. He no longer had a six-pack, which he bragged about constantly in the past. His hair wasn’t done, and his room in his apartment, which is in a great location by the way, was in near shambles. I turned away from him as the sight of an ass appeared and began looking around his apartment. There at his desk were old playbills, framed, on the wall, action shots of him on stage, and a notebook nearly opened with the amount of bills and unopened envelopes stuffed inside. Scattered around his desk were nearly fifteen 24oz. cans of Coors Lite and plates littered with Pizza Hut to-go packets of cheese and crushed pepper.

I began identifying a man that turned into a different version of himself. A man who became so obsessed with his boyfriend’s life he forgot what he was doing, and where he was going. I eventually touched on it with him after he showered and dressed a bit. He informed me that though his boyfriend made great money, his own bills were going untouched as the server position he held barely covered his half of the rent.

“I spend my days as a housewife then go into work around five,” he told me.

“Well,” I said looking specifically at the beer cans and the dirty plates, “not a very good one.” We laughed before he offered me a glass of beer which I happily accepted. It was a good time getting to meet up with him, reminiscing and finding out more of what’s happening in each others lives; both fallen in love, both happier than ever, and the part I didn’t tell him, both letting go of ourselves.

I found it true, and this incident proves none the other, that often advice to others is intended for the giver’s ear. Maybe we’ve seen ourselves in a similar situation, or currently are, but some tidbit of said suggestions can apply to one’s own life. I drove home from my visit with three hours to think about what happened to him and look at myself as well. I knew I always had a love for long drives, alone. It provides just enough distraction so as not to go off on a ridiculous tangent, but also enough quiet to provide the mind with an atmosphere conducive to self-reflection.

Change for the better takes longer than changes for the worse, it’s designed that way. Everyday conscious action reinforced with positive change results in a habit or thought pattern that will stand firm even when beginning to drift. Each day is a new day, each minute a new minute, taking advantage of this will yield greater results within ourselves. Finding a buddy to help along this journey is a great route as well, even if it is a blog or video blog.

Goals, determination, and clear understanding of our dreams will pull us from the times we begin to slide, if only we remind ourselves of them, then take action to achieve them. Letting go happens but it’s up to us to not let it happen and change the patterns that sneak their way into our lives affecting them as such.  Remember you are you, people love you for it, you should love you for it too.

 

 

Therapy 2

Both Chad and Greg had a full day to think about the night prior. Chad had gone to work only moments before Greg left for work. All day at the office Chad had replayed the night prior. What was Greg getting at? There was no resolve. Instead the idea toiled at his mind. It flipped it, then slapped it, and asked, who’s your daddy! Work was short of miserable.

Getting home in a mood that was quite unlike any that he’d been in before Chad went quickly for more beer. Sitting on the deck he stared seriously into the moon. Trying to sway his mind away from the issue discussed previously he opened yet another beer.

Enter Greg.

“Can we get past this?” Greg sincerely asked. Chad considered him for a moment. Had he had the day Chad had? Or was this a ploy to get past what was his fault and move on without feeling any guilt, remorse, or emotion.

“We can,” Chad responded intelligently. On his fourth beer by the time Greg got home, the shattered beer bottles nearly spelled out disaster.

“Good. So how was your day?” Greg asked. His manner was that of somebody who had no clue what was going on. Someone that came in on the last part of a joke.

“Miserable.” Chad wanted to let it go. He yearned for this to be something of the past.

“Great!” Greg laughed. He took a swig of his own beer, then swayed his crossed legs momentarily. “So nothing ever changes with you.” He said passive aggressively.

“Nope.” Chad proclaimed,” At least you know I’m dependable.” He looked at Greg grudgingly. How dare he! Thought Chad.

“Yup, miserable as always.” Greg mulled.

“Only because of you.” Chad retorted quickly. It wasn’t the most responsible response. Nor was it really what he was thinking.

“Okay. With that I think I’m going inside.”

“No you’re not!” Chad voiced strongly.

“I think I’m going to sleep on the couch.”

“No you’re not!” Chad said again. This was how it always went. Chad would have feelings, and yet Greg wanted to treat them as if they were inconvenient. He wanted to show that he was strong. He wanted to show that no one had an impact on how he would live his life. “That will only make things worse.”

“I thought you said we could get past this.”

“I did!” Chad’s frustration was building. He had to talk his way through things. He couldn’t just let go of something. Scientific about his method, there always had to be a reason for everything.

“Sooo….”

“Oh my God, forget it Greg! You’ll never listen to me!”

“Okay, on that I’m going to bed. On the couch.”

“Fine! Do what you will. That’s how you want it anyway!”

“True.” Greg smiled. Although the love of his life was clearly upset, this was a point he had to make. At no point was there ever going to be somebody that told him what to do.

It will never end,  Thought Chad. Greg since, stood and went inside. The silence quickly surrounded Chad. It was suffocating. The cigarette he was smoking increased his heart rate, and constricted his chest. The beer he was drinking force thoughts of other options quickly. The blackness soared from the core of his mind into the every part of his being. He sleeps on the couch, he’s dead! thought Chad. The negativity pulsated through the beer he practically chugged. The nauseating feeling, only urged him to drink further. Now anger crept into each extremity, each crevice, and by far every pore. He could hear the couch jostling around. Only beer, alcohol, or other mind altering substance could help him now. Greg had Xanax that he could steal. Going against everything he had argued about in the past, he opened the pill container dumped a single pill out, and consumed it with as much alcohol as could be handled. He soon passed out, calm as could be, at peace.

Therapy 1

“I am just concerned that you don’t want to see the therapist any more.” Chad stated.

“It’s not something I want to do right now.” Greg responded. “I don’t want to do something I forced into in the first place.”

The anger in Chad began to rise. Slowly he could feel the chemicals firing in his mind. The beer helped to slow the process, but added the element of confusion when in such a profound situation.  Forced! Never forced. Encouraged! Where was this coming from?

“You were never forced.” Chad said.

Greg responded with a deep exhale and dropped his head to look at Chad. Both men were smoking a cigarette on the deck. A small flame from a tiki torch supplied the light that played trickily among their faces. The air, though cold, was far from the first thought the men thought of.

“Please,” Greg begged. “When’s the last time anything I did was good enough for you?” He placed his hand atop the glass that held the wine he swirled not moments earlier.

“You always do good for me.” Chad responded. He watched the intent of Greg carefully. There had to be a root to the problem. Only seconds earlier they were talking about the issues the landlord might have had with them.

“I haven’t heard anything good.”

“I always tell you.”

“You can’t use words like always, because you don’t always tell me I’m good.”

“Okay,” it was about the only word that Chad could get out. Always was a strong word. There have been a lot of things that have irritated him to the point of vocalizing the dissent. Many things in the past few weeks. But why this? Why would Greg stop going now?

“That’s it?” Greg maundered. The puff he took from the cigarette showed he already changed his mode. This was not going to be about his problems. He heard too much about “his problems“. The smack of his lips, followed with the plume of smoke revealed a side of him Chad knew to carefully walk around. “All of this, for ‘okay‘?” He plunged the cigarette into the ash tray.

Chad considered this side of Greg. It was the menacing side that harbored a small portion of his beloved Partner. It saddled itself comfortably into his psyche. When something was about to be his fault, this would come out.

“Look,” Chad began. Greg sat back taking another drawl of the cigarette. He smiled knowing nothing Chad had to say would be able to affect him now. “All I know is that you weren’t forced, and that…”

“ta!”

“…and that I didn’t know where to go with what you were telling me at the time, so I suggested help.” Chad looked sadly at him. Remembering the conversation that initiated the therapy came a night after witnessing a horrid outburst, followed with a vicious attack. Chad hadn’t suffered any bruises from that night. He was too quick to restrain Greg, however, wondering what would have happened if he didn’t restrain him. It made him think. It made him worry. Greg blamed the entire episode on Depression. Then revealed how the night prior he seriously considered running off the guardrail on the bridge and plummeting to his death. “I don’t do well with that kind of stuff.”

Greg looked concerned for only a moment. “Then you said help, or you leave.”

*****               **********                  **************              ***********************       ********************************

I did. I said it then, and now unfortunately, I may have to say it again. Not forced. Not ever forced. Encouraged.

 

Thank you for Reading

Caleb A. Mertz

I’m not asking for too much

It’s not often that someone reports on the down side of writing. I don’t mean the bad associations, but the artist’s pain that usually coincides with the writing. I have often found myself locked (literally) into a room with all but the light coming from my computer, pitched into darkness. Albeit the sun hasn’t decided to shine on this day. It makes me feel a bit better. When I can’t talk things out I can always express them in some sort of writing. When I can’t read others work because of my anxiety, at least I know I can write it out.

Often, just with any other artists work, pain, worry, anxiety, depression, and other horrible feelings circle around writing. I only hope that the writer has a way of letting this all out into the words artfully scratched across the screen.

Happy Writing,

Caleb A. Mertz

Adversary : Discouragement

There are only a few things that come across my mind while I’m sitting in front of my computer. Many of them involve my plot to take over the world through literature. Another involves me owning an empire of five different restaurants, and the last is just getting my latest novel represented. All of these things are grandiose things that take time and serious effort along with a strong willed back bone, yet discouragement shows up yet again.

The past year of my life has been guarded by work, and more work.  I’ve blogged about this before. Then I ask myself, “why, a whole year later, am I still making no sales and in no better situation than I was then?” BOOM Discouraged! I sit at this damn computer and research all day long. I read other’s blogs, information about marketing, get caught up in crappy sites that try downloading viruses, and by the end of the day there’s little to show for the hours I “wasted” away.

I sit back in what some may call a wake of disappointment, or a self depreciating stare, or maybe even a slight trickling into the bottomless depths of depression. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to get out and do something. I had to go and see friends, listen to music, smell the fresh air, be surrounded by family, drink a glass of wine with my brother, drink another with my sister-in-law, then a third by myself. I kicked off my socks, rank with the smell of the gym from earlier in the day, and dawned a fresh pair before I made way to my car. I drove, in rush hour traffic, along 22, nearly falling asleep before the split decisions that I used to love came into play.

I diverged from the highway and sped along little side roads. Every curve yielding a surprise I hoped wouldn’t be fatal. My windows were down and the sun was nearly gone by the time I had found Nazareth. Here I slowly careened past moms house to see no one was home. I then breezed past my brother’s house to see that there wasn’t a single light on. Then without skipping a beat I drove through the old roads that I used to triumph over. Roads where memories were made of my friends and I driving in my old pontiac without a care in the world. The breezed pattered past my ears while I inhaled the cigarette that had a refreshed taste to it out here in the sticks. I thought about stopping at some of my old stops, but continued to drive past them.

In my driving I had found what I thought had been lost. I once drove to clear my mind, but with the rising gas prices back in ’08 I had to stop. Now today I drove and felt good about everything around me. I watched stars pass my window and the mysterious moving light, which in years before I would have thought to be a UFO. I came home as somebody I thought I had lost only a few hours prior. So, thank you, car ride. You helped me overcome my worst adversary, discouragement.

Thank you,

Caleb Mertz