I was always a healthy child, rarely ever even the sniffles or the flu, but from the ages of about 12 to the present day, I essentially used my body as a car crash dummy. Lining up all the different walls I could crash through to prove the resilience of my car, and I must say, it’s pretty fucking resilient. Sturdy and quality engineering if I do say so myself.
I abused hard drugs heavily for more than a decade and in the process, gave myself a stroke at the age of 16. A truly functional junky if ever there was one. I have a degree I have zero recollection taking, and stamps in my passport from countries I don’t even ever remember visiting. Travelled to dangerous off-track places. Trusted strangers. Hitch-hiked. Took every new drug that came my way. Every experience. I’ve skydived. Bungee-jumped. Swam with sharks. Had more concussions than sense. Broke the majority of the bones in my body with my stupid risks, more metal than brains now, as my dad always says.
Starved my body. Then in severe depression and withdrawal gorged on all the magnificence the world has to offer. As much pizza and whiskey as a body can handle! Relations with every sexy person I could. Exposed myself to toxic waste and several wars in the pursuit of my journalistic career, and contracted more parasites than I care to recount. Oh. And I also smoke.
I shouldn’t be alive at all I suppose. But I’ve always felt that what’s the point of living a life of safety and caution when our only guarantee is that we go? Each experience and pain and bliss is a story and a lesson. An opportunity and a chance to adapt. Without risks life is boring. Without pain and sadness, you can never truly understand joy.
I came home after years of an hedonistic and at times almost sadistic odyssey of exploration and found myself with heavy metal poisoning and leukemia, C-PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, persistent cyst-making tapeworms, dormant malaria, multiple and compound fractures that left my body full of arthritis, metal plates, pins, and screws; and autoimmune responses to the multiple treatments I required.
Thing is though, even knowing what I know now. Having gone through all that pain. I’d do it all again. I am the person I am today because of that experience.
I often tell the parable of my two grandfathers. The chain-smoking, hard-living hedonist, who drank and ate to excess; and the simple, clean-living, clean-eating, moderate who hiked two miles each day. Which one do you think died of lung cancer and which is alive today, at a ripe old age, looking 20 years his junior? I’ll give ya a hint. It’s not the hedonist who got cancer.
Whether you live or die isn’t always up to you. If you miss out on living just to extend that life, what’s the fucking point? I’ll continue to drive into the wall and face life head-on, cause even if I die tomorrow, at least I know that I truly lived.
Just putting words to page, as they come.
It’s 8:26 am on a Saturday
and I sit
smoking a joint
and contemplating the world
that this world is not lost,
spun too far downstream
to ever find its way back
endless waterfalls dragging it down
down, and the
keeping it from edging to the
side for a gasp of air.
so full of hate,
is it now impossible to
And the only way
is to expand
It’s not impossible.
But we can’t see it
because we are soo
blinded by the past
by the scars left on our systems
we can’t escape.
We want to love.
We all want love.
But our instinct
of fear takes over.
We can’t love
what we don’t know
because our history has
I saw an age-old friend last night that I haven’t spoken to in over eight years.
A buddy who I used to get drunk and high with when I was a kid and into my early twenties. A buddy who was sort of like a boyfriend at the time, even though we both were somewhat repulsed by each other, and only slept together once or twice. We lived in a small town, and there weren’t many other people our age at the time who wanted to drink beers and snort lines and go dancing. We more or less hung out with each other because we were both lonely and bored and there was nothing better to do. We spent almost every day and many nights together for a long while.
We met at work. He was always a cocky asshole. Still is. It’s kind of what I always liked about him.
It was a strange experience. So much has happened since then. So much has changed. But our conversations still were almost exactly the same.
I told him some of what I’ve been up to over these past eight years.
We’ve both been married and divorced since then. He has kids.
We sat on his porch drinking beer, smoking joints and catching up until the sun went down, then he invited me in for a movie.
I felt the old part of myself come back. The last time we were together was one of the worst periods in my life. I was living in my mother’s basement, broke after coming home from the first wartime with J, who had just broken up with me. I was heartbroken, alone, and down on myself like I had never been. I let this guy use me at the time because I just didn’t care anymore and felt like I didn’t deserve any better.
I don’t feel that way anymore.
It’s funny. He apologized for all of that and told me how bad he felt about it. He hit on me and said that he used to have a problem with me being fat, but he doesn’t anymore. He thinks I’m sexy now. That we should fuck tonight. He tells me that he should have married me 8 years ago. That I used to take care of him like his mama and how he needed a good girl like that. The laundry’s piling up, he says.
I laughed and told him he was always too skinny for my liking, and that still holds. And that I would have never married him. I don’t need no mama’s boy.
He laughed. Good for you girl. I’m a skinny fuck.
We lied in his bed, watching a movie, smoking a joint. And just fell asleep next to each other.
She called me today. I dread her calls. They are all the same. Sometimes she’s more lucid than others, but mostly, she makes very little sense. She was given a year to live four years ago. She spends most of her time in bed and the rest of it playing games on her computer or watching tv in her chair. She takes around 20 pills a day. They cost me a fortune. She can’t get coverage anymore because of a shitty technicality. I was her prime caregiver up until a month ago. I got her out of bed every morning. I got her washed and dressed. I made sure she was fed. I put her to bed at night. I paid all her bills. I did this for over a year. I can’t do it anymore. I need to take care of myself first. So I moved out to a cheap apartment in another city where I could get some respite.
I’ve been reading up on PTSD, she tells me. The reason you are traumatized has to do with something from your childhood.
No, that’s what it says in this article I read. And I was thinking about it. It’s because of your foster sister B. When she first came to live with us, she threatened to light your bed on fire while you were sleeping every night. She tried to light your sheets on fire with you inside them. That’s the reason why you have PTSD. You used to hide out with Dad and I until she fell asleep, remember?
I don’t even know how to respond to her. I’m angry. I’m frustrated, but there is little point in arguing with her. She’s not rational.
No mom, the reason why I have PTSD is because I lived through the war. Ok. It’s not because of B. She has nothing to do with this. Can you not blame my illness on her, please?
No, that’s what this article says R. That’s what it says. It’s because of this unresolved childhood trauma. It’s all B’s fault. She’s the reason you are sick now.
Listen mom, that’s great. Thanks for looking that up for me. Please don’t tell B though. I don’t want to hurt her.
Of course not.
When are you coming home?
Not for a while now mom. I need to be here for a bit.
Why have you abandoned me? You want me to die don’t you?
No mom. I love you. I just need to be here. Isn’t the service I hired taking good care of you?
They come here, but I hate them. You abandoned me because you don’t love me anymore.
No mom. I’m sorry. Listen, I’ve got to go, can we talk tomorrow?
I should just die. You don’t want me here anymore. I’m just a burden for you.
You hate me. It’s because I brought B to our house when you were a child, isn’t it? I did all this to you and now you hate me.
No mom. I just need to be here for a bit.
You stole my cat.
No mom. He’s my cat. He’s with me. He was just living with you temporarily while I was there. I brought him back from overseas. He’s my cat.
You stole my cat.
I’ll bring him home for a visit soon mom. Ok? I’ve got to go.
You stole my cat.