4.29.2022

[x]The Solace in Mourning.


We measure these deaths and grieve in blocks of time
One day, one month, or one or more years since -
These are tangible, quantifiable things
that we can surpass, overcome, and build upon
 
We weaponize pain to the point of where
We sometimes forget how to heal
We’re mad or sad or frustrated or at a complete loss
Some of us are still stuck in the void we fell into when you left  
 
Yet through your loss we impossibly found hope
And discover that even though our hearts have broken
Even though you’re no longer here -
You can still bring us together just the same
 
For now, we can take comfort in having had you in our lives
With the promise that we’ll see each other again… 
Remembering that without your light having graced our lives
We would all just be left alone in the dark 


(RIP Charlie "Chuck" Cobb - who was lost to us one year ago today)

11.24.2021


[x] The Ghost and The Siren

(A tale of adoration and gratitude)


 

I was all but content in my tunnel vision

To be lost in loss and adrift in this abyss

When a reverse siren pulled me out and into her light

Rescuing me to the point of making me want to save myself

 

I just wish I had met her before my heart had failed me so

Before I let the darkness take me

Back when I could shed my skin

Back before my love had become so Goddamned doomed

 

Now I haunt this girl of many places

Enthralled by the wildness in her spirit

Watching every single day as she becomes more exceptional

While I grow domesticated and mundane

 

I am a wise man made but a fool

In the space of her presence and glow

Stammering my words and gestures

In a vain attempt to simply stay in her graces

 

How can I be sad in a world in which she exists?

Even though I know she’ll never be mine

I’m still better every day that my muse bothers to accept my affections

Just happy to be smitten and other words I never thought I would need again

 

My siren haunted me in a million places

Even before I knew her name

And now that I do - my favorite thing in the world right now

Is the fact that she knows mine as well 


Notes - Art - "Siren's Song" by https://www.leviathanartworks.com/ (Flipped)

Companion Song - "Even Though Our Love Is Doomed" By Garbage - Album - Strange Little Birds




7.03.2021

A field guide to what the fuck is wrong with Johnny’s concept of love – a recollection of a relationship that did not quite break me, but ultimately led me to fail myself. 

 

“I'm not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I'm going to tell it the way I remember it.” — Great Expectations

 

I am not the hero of this story.  I know most people consider themselves the heroes of their own lives, a protagonist despite the antagonist that is life itself.  I am guilty of this as well.  But in this instance, I would consider myself the villain in certain parts.  I am not proud of a lot of the things you are about to read, but I can only speak my truth and hope you will forgive me in the same way I am trying to forgive myself.  Parts of this story are sad, dark, and truly pathetic on my end.  Please do not mistake the weakness I am about to describe for the person I am today, because that person is dead and buried.  I guess that would make this a bit of a séance. 

 

Truth be told, while I have shared bits and pieces of this to people as necessary, I have never laid this whole thing out whole publicly.  Note – I’m writing this in different parts so there is the possibility of events being slightly out of order. 

 

Most of my core group of friends has turned over in the past 5 years or so, so other than my lifelong friends (most of whom I left behind in Michigan) – you might have wondered why the number of relationships I have been in has been small and not very impactful. 

 

The reason I am writing this is because I need to give these feelings away.  I need to let this pain go and I need to forgive myself and try to salvage the rest of my life.  While I have never lost the capacity to love people, the ability for me to form a romantic connection with others has severely diminished.  I still hold out hope that the right person could fix this in me, but with every passing day I feel more and more like that ship has sailed.

 

Please do not hold anything you read against me – I have long moved on from this and I am a much different person now than I was back then.

 

The story begins easily enough.  Boy meets Girl.  A boy and a girl live in a house.  She just happened to live in the room next door.  I will spare you the details of everything else in that orbit, because the other people who lived in that house are inconsequential when looking at the big picture.  Boy loved Girl.  I am sure you can guess which person I am. 

 

Full disclosure, I was aware even when this began that this person was seeing another person.  However, I guess I had anticipated that our love would win the day and fate would bring us together.  We spent most of our time together*, grocery shopped, she taught me how to cook, we would go out to theme parks, we slept in the same bed, etc.  Even my poetry at the time was uncharacteristically positive.  We did all the things that boyfriends and girlfriends do.  I introduced her to my family, and I did whatever I could to impress and endear myself to hers.   Even at the time it was all a blur, much less trying to remember the specifics over a decade ago.

 

Anyway, I loved this girl in a deep way that I had never loved someone before.  I wanted to marry this person, I wanted to father children with her.  As I had gotten older the desire to be a husband and father had started to take hold, and I was in love and lost in the domestic bliss of sharing a household with someone.  I have always wanted, and still do to this day – someone to simply come home to.  I doubt that will ever change.

 

*So, on the weekends, I would watch her pack a bag to go fuck another man. 

 

Let that set in.  Yeah, it does feel even a little messed up to type that out.  The saddest part is that at the time I was fine with it.  Yes, it hurt, and yes, it kept me up at night – but I had convinced myself this was just something we had to get through to be together.  I want to put a pin in this moment to talk about later.  Yes – this is where it should have ended on my end, but I was too weak to leave, and she never cut me loose.  This was just a pre-existing condition of whatever type of relationship we had at the time.  When you love someone, they are all you can see – not the literal dozens of red flags that are waving at you in between.  I felt like I should have known better but I did not.  So yeah, sad and pathetic.  This went on for months, maybe the better part of a year?  I hate looking back on that version of me, because just like you I am screaming “JUST LEAVE”.  I could not.  You might be asking yourself why in the hell I would bother with a person who was capable of such things, but in all honesty looking back we both had accepted the other’s cards on the table.  I just happen to be holding one queen, while she had a full house of Jacks.  There is no logical explanation I could offer in retrospect.  This is what I had signed up for. 

 

It was not until she woke me up in the middle of the night fucking another man in the room next door – did I finally I snap out of it.  Pretty pathetic, right?  That is what it took – and it was not even over.  The pain was the worst thing that I had felt in my entire life.  I guess it is a little different when it hits home.  Literally.  The hurt absolutely shook me to my core.  I was emotionally battered and bruised, and it took me a very long time to move on from that.   I was not even mad at HER, I was just mad at myself for being so weak that I ended up in the situation to begin with.  I was so much of a mess that I almost gave up on Florida entirely and moved back to Michigan.  Sad, weak, and pathetic me. 

 

I want to stop for a second to say something.  While I know that there are truly evil and malicious people in the world, most of us are just trying to do the best we can to get by in our lives.  We vilify our exes and failed relationships because that is the easy way out.  I am good and they are evil – something all your friends and family can relate to.  The truth is, not everyone is meant to be together, and it truly sucks when you are the person who is left behind.  She was just living her best life, and I must take some of the blame for not having the strength to walk away.  I am not bitter about what happened.  I do not fault her – save for one small thing that I learned much later on in life.  There was a quick and dirty fix to this – but I will come back to that towards the end.

 

At this point, we had both moved on to different relationships, her with the human version of my alarm clock, and me with a girl who was “Unsafe”, and then another girl who was “Safe”.  A kind of peace settled in our distractions, but there was still a part of me that loved her.  Even after all of that.  Soon enough, we both moved into different apartments that somehow ended up near each other.  We had maintained a friendship and would do dinner once every week-ish.  I was still hurt but I had a little solace in the life I was starting to branching out on my own.  Every time I would see her those diminished feelings would run like subtitles in our conversations, but for the most part there was peace in the land.  I continued to write to work through my own pain, and she would read them.  She even called me out a few times, but I had emotional and relationship alibis that I could use to explain the words away.  Yeah, I was still writing about her, but as a more of a method of escape than wanting to be with her.  This is where things get a little dark.  Buckle up and try not to judge me.

 

“And when my prayers to God were met with indifference - I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance” – Hamilton – “Hurricane”

 

This is the part that I am not proud of.  At some point the human alarm clock dumped her.  It absolutely ruined her, too.  What was our friendly dinners quickly became sob sessions of how hurt she was.  She was vulnerable in a way that I had never seen before.  Now SHE was broken.  I hate that I am going to say this – but I absolutely reveled in it.  I will never forgive the monster I became when I would spend time with her to “Comfort” her.  She was a train wreck that I could not look away from.  At this point, my poetry was on fire and LETHAL.  It became an addiction to spend time with her.  I slept like a god damned baby.  She never even knew. 

 

However, even that leveled off after a very short time.  Looking back, maybe our collective hurt had just cancelled itself out.  More time went by, and I think even after all of that we had a basis to be friends.  Which sounds crazy. 

 

One night, we were at one of her friend’s houses having dinner and a dog needed to get walked – so her and decided to take it out and got to talk a bit about what had led us to here.  In the most cinematic part of this story, she alluded to trying to be with me again (Even though I was with someone).  I grabbed her, kissed her, and told her she had fucked things up with me, and that was never going to happen.  Go me, I guess. 

 

Somehow, even after all of this, she still held some diminished sway over me, and I knew it.  That needed to cease.  One night, I was invited to dinner to meet her new boyfriend.  I stepped outside myself and saw the cycle starting to repeat itself.  I did not want to be puppy anymore, nor did I want to be a monster again.  At this point, all I could do was turn off all my emotions for a while and pull myself out of the situation.  This worked, but came at a great and lasting expense to my heart.  I said no, and that was that.  I have only spoken to her once since then when we crossed paths at a theme park years later.  We even hugged. 

 

Ultimately, I got what I deserved.  The pilot light in me had gone out.  I have been trying to shake that darkness ever since, and find my way back to being someone that actually produces light – instead of feeding on it from others.  I hate that I was even capable of some of the things that I felt while this was going on.  Whoever I was at that time was not the person I am now.

 

I no longer love this person, nor am I bitter to what happened between us.  I wish her no ill will whatsoever.  We have not spoken in a very long time and doubt we will ever have occasion to speak again.  I afford her the same indifference I would any other Human that I do not have a connection to.  I hope she stays blissful in her ignorance of me even writing this, and there are only a few of you reading that might piece together who I am even referring to.  Most of you did not know me back then.  The point of this is not vengeance, because neither of us are the same people we were back then.  Everything happens for a reason, and I hope this cautionary tale benefits someone out there. 

 

As the title suggests, this did not break me.  This did not ruin relationships or my view of them.  On the contrary, I have always been fascinated and appreciative of all the people who get to meet their person.  I cannot really explain it, but I can see those invisible bonds between people.  I love everyone in my life, and I love it even more when the people I love find love.  It seems like most of my friends have found their person, while I have been entertaining less and less opportunities to be with someone. 

 

For the rest of us that have been left behind in this regard – love is an absolute bloodbath.  It is a messy thing that does nothing but build us up just high enough to make it really hurt when you fall.  A vicious cycle of highs and lows that compound our already existing lack of self esteem and abandonment issues.  Being in love with someone is awesome, and I hope it happens for me again someday.  I’m just not holding my breath anymore.


 

Unfortunately, I do not have the patience to date anymore.  I have become dominant and assertive in the other aspects of my life – professionally, financially, and emotionally. 

 

Which brings us to now.  Recently, I spent a lot of time with someone only to break it off when that spark did not manifest on my end.  She is an amazing person.  As much as I tried to force myself, and as much as it makes a logical sense to be with her, she deserves better that what I could give her at this point.  She offered to be friends, but I know what it is like to be on the other side of loving someone who does not love you back.  You always feel like even that miniscule chance is still there.  Maybe if you do or say the right thing, that will be the key that will magically unlock the eternal love that they did not even know they had for you!  For what it’s worth, I am sorry for being the bad guy.

 

Back to that pin from earlier… This is the one small thing that I wish that person had done – be the fucking bad guy.  Make the other person understand that this is something that is never going to happen and sever that connection even as friends if necessary.  Break that person’s heart for their greater good.  Rip out their goddamn heart and show it to them if you must.  Human beings have a much better chance of rising from their own ashes – rather than escaping the mental and emotional limbo that you are going to leave them in for huge chunks of their lives by keeping them around.  Stop being so fucking polite all the time and save them from themselves.  If your friendship is not based upon actual FRIENDSHIP and you are aware of this – they are probably treading water and all you are doing is watching them drown. 

 

Epilogue:

 

Out of all the “Love of my life” women, out of all of the “Meant to be together” people – there is only one woman left whom I truly love.  She must know this by now, but I doubt I am on her radar.  The romantic in me is still convinced it was love at first site, as cliché as that is to say out loud – but I will never forget the moment I first laid eyes on her.  I’ll never forget our first conversation.  She is the best human being I know and a mirror image of myself.  She was able to rise above the pain as high as it has brought me low.  I admire her for that.  Today, she has become more of an ideal to me at this point that I would not want to sully with pursuit.  If you are reading this, please know that I love you and at this point I wish I could have been better for you sooner.

4.04.2021


[x]Pilot Light of Me.


Can you love me for what I've become?  Love me for what I said I would not become?

a black hole devouring the light of everyone circling my orbit

eternally star-crossed living in the aftermath of Romeo and Juliet

forever a plague 

on all 

of your houses


somewhere in between laying with monsters 

and the staring contest with the void

when I wasn't caring to look and blinked

the pilot light of me quietly... went... out


maybe it was the guilt in reveling in watching the person who hurt me burn long ago

or maybe it was when my heart failed, replaced with the bitter cold of logic

everything has become binary in a one or a zero, a pass or a fail

benevolence replaced with leverage in the artificial intelligence of my heart


so I now suffer imposter syndrome of being utterly forgettable

seemingly missing the signal fire that we all have to remind each other that we exist

and when you feel like no one can find you anymore

every day becomes a desperate fight for relevancy


I grab onto anyone's light

so hard and violent that most of the time it  ends up burning me

so hard that I fall in love with all of you so easily

as I continue to chase what never becomes more than a shadowplay


thus any light that you think you see in me

is probably your own reflecting in my eyes

trust me - there is nothing but a vast abyss within me

so much that I've convinced myself that if I cut myself it would just bleed black


I'm a thing that has traveled so far past broken

that I've become lost and weary in the dark

hoping that someday one of you, any of you - that I need so much to live

can help light the way back to me



11.11.2017

[x]Hummingbird.

I saw the vibration in her soul
before I even knew her name
Of all the birds that were in my sky 
it was her assertion that made her prominent

As much as I like the idea of her being a pet
she is not one to be kept
Though it hurts me to see her caged
it might pain me worse to see her freed

I appreciate how delicate 
she is in my hands
While never letting her catch me
looking at her perch

Even in the the midst of being victims
of each other's cycles
There are fleeting moments 
where she's almost mine

So what am I to do 
when I'm not sure my heart is beating any more 
But I'm pretty convinced
hers could beat fast enough for the both of us

I like to think I'm clever
in the way I scatter my words
She just has a way of drawing it out of me
while I'm just trying not to get any ink on her

12.31.2016

[x]Year in Review 2016.

Theme in three parts:

"Motion Picture Soundtrack" by Radiohead



Part 1 - Tendrils


I think you're crazy, maybe.

When I last left off in 2015 I was living in an apartment that I didn't want to be in, and hadn't wanted to be in for a year.  I had put in an offer, which was accepted - on a house but was waiting for it to play out.  Ana had me on the ropes.  These factors played out into the first part of 2016 simultaneously, and I will do my best to describe them in some coherent order.  The Ana part played out throughout the year, but it needs to be condensed into its own part.

The Apartment - I was only in the apartment about 5 weeks into 2016.  Though it feels like years ago.  Mike and I weren't the friends we used to be, and will probably never be again.  I had lived with him in some capacity for the vast majority of my time down here in Florida in 3 apartments and 2 houses.  I like to think of it as overexposure, but the truth of it is I had changed, and thus we grew apart.  We barely hung out socially.  Most of my friends were his friends originally, and I don't really see the ones I like.  Some I miss, some I do not.  His vision of this place never met my expectations, but I will be forever thankful for everything he helped me with.  I'll never forget deciding to move down here on a whim while talking to him on the phone when I was back in Michigan.  He said I would thrive down here, and to be honest I finally and thankfully have.  I'll just leave it at that and wish him the best.

The House - Things got a little tangled up in the house.  This was one of the most stressful times of my entire life, and I barely slept for weeks, my mind racing at night with all of the competing possibilities.  I was saving money like crazy.  My Realtor, Sean Ferguson was awesome, and really helped me not freak out (too much)  It was held up in probate court for months and months, and mercifully the owner(s) let me rent the place on the cheap (It was just sitting vacant) while we waited for everything to be resolved.  At this time my mom came down and really helped me get set up.  It's funny how many things you don't realize you need for a house.  I had the keys to the house, but with the way everything played out we were dealing with an empty house.  Thanks mom!  She's the reason I have matching plates/cups/etc.  Courtney was also a big help in approving my vision/color scheme.  I moved in on February 9th.  I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling that I had when the movers pulled away, and left me alone in a house filled with boxes and furniture.  I finally closed around Memorial Day and have been a first time homeowner ever since.

Ana - She had come almost out of nowhere at the end of the previous year.  I say that because I was on cruise control with everything going on.  Looking back at the review from last year, I was really smitten with her.  I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but some time around x-mas she pulled back from me.  Maybe we were talking too much, I guess I'll never know.  I just thought it was nice to have someone to say good morning and goodnight to - and text throughout the day.  I don't recall doing anything at the time that wasn't reciprocated.  In the initial part of us hanging out in a non-professional manner (She used to work at one of the locations I taught at) - I was in a very pessimistic place when it came to the prospect of a relationship, or even a new friendship for that matter.  I had no faith in her, or me, or whatever us could be whatsoever. That is when something changed on my end.  I wanted to be a better person for her, but then soon realized that I just wanted to be a better person in general.  I don't think she ever fully realized what that in itself meant.  

I still don't know what happened.  I have always been pretty thoughtful when it comes to gifts, and the holidays are more and more important to me (probably because I am typically alone during them).  I bought her four things I though she would like and would find useful.  A blanket that was her favorite color because she was always cold, a backup batter charger (also in her favorite color) because she did not have one, a small stuffed penguin, and a larger stuffed penguin.  I also wrote a letter to describe the reason behind the gifts, with the intention of showing appreciation.  Look, I'm an unapologetic and hopeless romantic.  Maybe it was the effort or gesture, though I specifically told her not to read too much into it.  Not that I'm keeping score, but I'm still waiting on my gift that she said she had ordered...  :)

And then, poof, she was gone.  I don't remember the specifics (Out of sight, out of mind) - but our communication tapered off significantly.  It got really awkward teaching where she worked, and I pondered asking for another assignment.  I put the bare minimum of social effort when I was there, and ducked in and out as fast as possible.  Things came to a head after I stopped talking to her altogether - about a month went by and she sent me a text and asked if we were done talking.  So I let her have it over that (in text where I am sure all of the context was lost).  Though sure enough I'm dumb and a sucker for beautiful girls, and sure enough we agreed to meet and talk.  That was a really hard conversation for me.  It hurt.  One of last things said on my part was "You leave me vulnerable enough to be disappointed" which sums up our entire history.  See the poem "Kevlar Sleeves" (This has actually become one of my favorites, go figure.).

I don't remember what the exact combinations of words were, but she said something (Almost verbatim) that I had said to someone in a previous relationship when I was having difficulty with it. This utterly disarmed me at the time, and I would be a hypocrite if I wouldn't give her the benefit of the though doubt (and there was a lot of it) that I had hoped to receive in the past. 

I told her that night in a phone call after that if she ever disappeared on me again - I wouldn't be able to handle it and it would be done.

We talked and saw each other sparingly, but nothing ever came of it.  She got another job in the fall, and I expressed my doubt that would hinder communication.  She didn't seem too concerned at the time.  I deleted her phone number from my phone to the cut the hands off of temptation.  When she changed jobs she was no longer on my work Skype.  So with no excuse to talk and without me trying to sustain communication - she disappeared again.  

The last time I saw her was in early October during hurricane Matthew.  I had a really good time that night, with her and some mutual friends.  She's fun to be around and I like who I am when I'm with her.  However, that was almost three months ago, and sadly I now see how much of a priority I truly was to her.    I see her pop up on Facebook messenger every once in a while, but I cannot bring myself to unfriend her.

TL:DR



These are binary days, and the existence of every one's DNA comes in 1's and 0's.

If anything it was not a total loss, as part of this package came with new friends, Thom and Ash, whom I love dearly.  They (and their family) have been great to me.  I don't have a lot of friends anymore so I value them greatly.  

Part 2 - Fortress of Solitude


Help me get back where I belong


Where was I.  The house...  Soon after my mom went back to Michigan, my father came down and stayed with me for about 6 weeks.  If you are unfamiliar, my parents are divorced.  When I was young my sister and I would spend weekends out with him.  In my 20's that gave way to the occasional meetup, doing a lunch or dinner here and there.  I had never really "Hung out" with my father, man to man.  I had a really good time, and we got along great.  He's awesome when it comes to handyman stuff - way beyond what I could accomplish on my own.  One of big things when I first moved in was to make everything as energy efficient as possible.  Got a Google NEST (Which I love) - installed all LED lights in the house.  Swapped out the kitchen appliances, put in a new water heater and ceiling fans.  He got up to all kinds of stuff.  Wish I had a ton of $$$ to pay him but I at the very least supplied the food (and the beer).  He got to hang out with his Grand-dog Cody for the first time too.  Hopefully he can make it back in 2017 and we can get into phase 2 - remodeling the kitchen.  I am looking forward to it.  

I never realized the scope of how similar we are in some things, and how different we are in others.  We have a similar sense of humor, but our dispositions are different.  Black Cloud Tribe!  I am hoping next year we can get out and do a bit more.

As hard as the first part of the year was, the middle part was just about as difficult.

After my father left the loneliness set in.  I knew it would take some getting used to, but it hit me really hard.  Everything was fun and exciting when I had first moved in, but after that wore off I was coming home every day to an empty house.  I had Cody, of course, who is a great listener.  

When you live alone you are socially responsible for yourself.  If you don't feel like going out or talking to anyone, so be it. There is no one around to talk to or make plans with.

A wave of sadness and despair just crashed over me every day.  On the way home from work I would be fighting back tears, and finally give in when I entered my front door.  I didn't have anyone.  Part of of me thought that if I didn't interact on Facebook or text anyone, people would forget that I was even alive.  No one called or texted to check on me.  I don't have a lot of friends anymore.  So was this it?  

That was really hard.  One night I was having a nervous breakdown in the middle of the night and I was crying so hard I was hyperventilating.  I couldn't breathe.

Something stepped in.  I don't know how to describe it.  It wasn't really a voice in my head, more of like a thought or an impulse.  It just said STOP.  My lungs filled with air (It felt like a paper bag being inflated in my chest) and momentarily - I felt at peace.

I am not a religious person.  Maybe that was God.  Maybe it was just my psyche triggering a survival mechanism.  Maybe I just passed out momentarily.  

The despair has been gone since.  Yes I still get sad and I still deal with depression every day, but that sense of having no hope has been gone.  

Thank you for that...

This is where another set of simultaneous series of unfortunate events shook my year up.  These might be slightly out of order as they were a blur.  

Lindsay - We were hanging out every once in a while.  One night at dinner she sprung on me that she was moving to England, which left me in shock.  We had dated years ago, and due to the circumstances of our breakup, we were still able to hang out as friends (Though, in truth I knew I still had some unresolved feelings for her).  She said she was going to move in and live with a friend (and his family) while she was getting established.  I even made a few jokes about that - surprisingly and unbeknownst to me how close I was to the mark in reality.  The last time I saw her was in June, and she moved in July.  

I turns out that she had been engaged since March, and had got married in November.  Obviously you don't just up and get engaged in a long distance relationship, so who knows how long this had been going on.   Lindsay is not a malevolent person in any way, shape, or form, but FFS - she could have said something.

It's funny how no one is ever malicious, but someone always ends up getting hurt.

To me - not telling the truth and lying are essentially the same thing.  I really wish people stop trying to spare my feelings in the future.  I'm tough, I can take it. 

Don't get me wrong, I am happy for her.  This was a dream of hers for a long time and I hope she finds success and happiness over there.  But I'm the one left holding the bag.  We're done.  She is blocked on FB, and I deleted her number.  She made a cameo in my life, and now she only exists in my past.  

These are binary days, after all.

There's just a difference in missing someone as a friend, and missing someone you still have feelings for.  That's a lot of wasted emotion, and people wonder why I have a limited capacity these days.

Terry - Terry was the previous manager on my team.  We had worked together for years, and had become friends beyond work.  He was my first and only mentor.  About halfway through last year, my team went through a program following the "5 dysfunctions of a team".  The point of whole thing is to identify issues that a team has to bring everyone together.  I hit the program in stride, and found a voice that I hadn't had before.  I loved it.

I'm still not sure about the specifics, but during the program it soon came to light that Terry and the team were not on the same page.  I don't know if he was asked to step down as manager (and still be part of the team) or what, but soon after he left the company.  

I let a little time go by and reached out to him.  I needed answers because of the way my mind works.  Obviously the company wasn't going to give me the specifics, but I wanted to at least figure out the general outline of what happened.  Needless to say more time went by and I still had no idea.  I just don't do well without closure.  I need a end point to move on (See Ana and Lindsay sections above).

In August we had the the Florida Realtor Expo, and this was our first major event without him (He had been replaced).  Though he was still in our thoughts (Did I mention that my team is like my second family?).  Over a lunch one day, one of my team mentioned that he had unfriended them on Facebook.  It absolutely broke my heart to see that was the case with me as well.  After all the times that I had bailed him out with work, the gestures I made in friendship afterward, etc. etc. etc.  I was simply tossed aside with the rest of them.

So this put me in a funk at work for a few months afterward.  Someone had moved my cheese.  I was so used to the the status quo and how everything worked, and it took me a while to find my legs under me again.  In retrospect I think I was using him as a crutch and a safety blanket.  In the time since his departure, my self-confidence at work has improved greatly.  Now I feel valued and I see my impact, whereas when he was leading the team I always felt like I was failing.  That's not on him, though, that is 100% on me. 

Terry did reach out via my company email to wish me a happy birthday and happy Thanksgiving, but I never responded.  It's for the best.  

At this point I've had enough of being cast aside.  People need to stop taking me for granted.  



Part 3 - The Count of Johnny Bronto




Stop sending letters
Letters always get burned
It's not like the movies

They fed us on little white lies



The last third of the year is when things picked up. We started to get closer to haunt season.




Courtney decided that she did not have time to do the show again this season. Though I would pitch ideas here and there leading up to the time of pre-production, she would ho-hum about it and wouldn't commit to doing another season. I changed the color scheme and cleaned up the branding. I don't think she was ever interested in doing a Season 2. She insisted this was "My Show" though I always thought of it as 50/50. We had created it together.

I get it, she had just started a new 9-5 job with a commute. I just wish she wouldn't have waited until the last absolute second to give me a definite yes/no. She actually stopped talking to me completely over the summer, thinking I was going to be mad if she didn't do the show again. I was honestly more mad about the lack of communication. When she finally gave me an answer, it was getting close to the wire. I was on the fence about doing the show again, and almost threw in the towel completely. Eric Dodson (Whom we had met prior to season 1 at the time he was with The Shallow Grave) has always supported the show and really pushed me to do another season.

Things started to come together. In the span of one week, my friend Keagan (Grimm Gutter) delivered the intro (which is amazeballs), Ashley volunteered to co-host, and I got the new animated intro. I put a lot of effort into the design of the show, and it was leaps and bounds better than the first season. The business cards were awesome too.

The haunt season was incredible. I did pretty much everything you can do - Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream, The Shallow Grave, Chamber of Terror, Catharsis, Mortem Manor, Scream-A-Geddon, and The Vault of Souls. It was really expensive, but worth it. Most of my friends only do HHN and I really want to create awareness for the other haunts. I'm looking forward to having new stuff to do in 2017.

The networking was amazing, and I made great connections with some of the owners. I love haunt people, the are the best. I also met some new friends. (You know who you are and thanks for coming into my life).

The viewership was down a bit this year. I am not the social media and marketing guru that Courtney was, but Ashley and I did our best. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Once again I am not 100% sure if I am going to do another season. One, I'm bored with the format, and I don't want to just rehash and review everything all over again. I want it to be more of a show based on segments and bits. So we'll see how that goes. I'm going to need help.

Another thing worth mentioning was the few days that I had Milo.  I've always wanted a second dog so Cody would have someone to hang out with.  Unfortunately it didn't work out (My schedule doesn't lend itself to having a puppy), but I had fallen in love with the little guy.  It broke my heart to have to give him back, but I am sure he is in a better situation than I could have given him.




So that brings us to now...

For the first time in as long as I can remember I am not in love. I am not smitten or pining over anyone. Sure I have my crushes (I always do), but I don't have anyone on my dance card as of this second. That's a first for me on NYE in a long time.

Creative-wise, I didn't write much this year. I did collect all of my poems into one document that I want to self-publish. I've never been able to sit down and write - pretty much everything I've written has torn itself out of me. I guess maybe it's a good thing that I don't NEED to write like a used to. Things still bounce around in my head, but they are few and far between. I think it's a good thing, though I miss the poetry community. I want to go the meetups still but I feel like I would be a sham. I am not sure I would fit in with them anymore.

Health-wise, I've been sick since Haunt Season ended in early November. It comes and goes but I finally went to the doctor and I am hoping this prescription wipes out this flu/cold. I didn't quite diet or exercise/go to the gym as I had planned this year. I don't do well with constant transition and stress, which was pretty much 2016.

I miss my friends. There are some people who I've drifted away from, and didn't really mean to. I'm sorry about that. Once I put myself back together I want to reconnect with some people. Eva, Tony, Keagan, Amber, the Arnold ladies - that whole crew, Tarl, Jennifer, Mark, Andrea, etc. There are a ton of people that I would like to try and see more.

There are a few people that I met (at random) that I'm quite fond of. I met Katie right before HHN and was the only scareactor that I "Knew" to visit. She's about as benevolent as she is as my IQ and I drop dead beautiful. It actually took me aback a moment when I met her - I don't meet a lot of people these days that are genuinely well-meaning. She really does stand out.

I also met Brittany the last night of HHN (again at random) - who I feel like I share a kinship with but I can't really put my finger on as to why. I like her personality. We just clicked, but I feel like she could click with anyone.

Some people just have a spark in them that I value. I need to be with people who want me there. I am really looking forward to Melissa moving back here as well in the spring.

I just want a crew of people to do things with.

The Job - Work is going really well. I'm married to my job. The new manager Tamara is great, and we came up through the company together. I got a promotion and a raise which really helped. She looks out for my well being even when I refuse to do so. I love my company so much. I wouldn't be who I am today without it. am really looking forward to my 5 year anniversary as a trainer in February, and my 6 year anniversary in April.

This year was a crazy year in the world, but I am humble and thankful for everything in my life.


So - I've been working on my year end review for a few days now. This is probably one of the longest ones I've done, but I feel as though it is necessary to account for these things.


New Year's Resolutions for 2017 

1.  Put myself back together - fix this body, mind, and heart.

2.  Reconnect with friends.

3.  Don't spend next NYE alone like I will this year and have for most years down here in FL.

4.  Make Casa-De-Bronto even better.  

5.  Kick even more ass at work.

6.  Be a better person and find better people to be in my life.

7.06.2016

[x]Kevlar Sleeves.

in the dark i was and am invincible
left to my own device and vices
she found me not exactly broken or fixed
but in this perpetual state of functional melancholy

every time she cracks the door light pours in
and it's another muse inviting me out of solitary
i can't help myself when it comes to her beauty
my heart has always been a moth when it comes to a flame

yet i can't leave the house anymore
without wearing a bulletproof vest
so here i am rolling up my sleeves again around you
simply so my heart cannot be seen upon them

she never sees the extra decade in my eyes
even though i fault her for having more sand left in her hourglass
even when the combination of her words can disarm me
Pavlov still dictates that i can only reciprocate her priority

every time i see her it's nothing but sadness in the spite of hope
when she's here I'm crushed in the very timing of it all
and every time she disappears
she leaves me just vulnerable enough to be disappointed

5.08.2016

[x]CPR on Ghosts.

spreading my love so thin and far
so little over so many for so long
and leaving nothing for myself
it's no wonder that i don't love anything anymore
it has been so long since i've had someone
that it's no longer about the ones that got away
it's about the ones that are left
and the one that i've pieced together
out of so many loose plot threads that refuse to end
woven together around me somehow adding up to a person
when you're so lonely
you're never too old for an imaginary friend
so i keep rearranging all of the puzzle pieces 
of the good memories
cobbled together like a frankenstein's monster
so part of them can live on
this is me breathing life into it
like performing CPR on a ghost
and screaming don't go 
don't you dare go 
don't leave me
because i need you so much - you're all that i have

4.13.2016

[x]Reign and Throne.

self exiled in this progress of obscurity
i once was found but now i am lost
with recluse abandon
these days i'm struggling to reign in my own heart 

every villain is simply the hero of their own story
and i make no mistake in knowing full well 
that the kingdom of my life
was built upon the throne of my sins

still i'm thankful for all i've been given
but doing better with what i've taken
this empire is everything i could ever want
yet nothing and nowhere just the same

when there's no one left to fight you conquer by default
and i am alone and scared with only dull words and weapons left
wondering what good is a crown is
when there is no one there to see you wear it

1.01.2016

[x] Year in Review 2015

Theme song - "You are Free" by Joseph Arthur (Album - Nuclear Daydream)

 

There were so many ups and downs in the last 365 days of my life.  It ended up being a great year in the second half.

First part of the year was a downer.  I am not going to hash out the specifics here, but I had a falling out in my living situation which rippled throughout the year.  I'll leave it at that.  In the first few months of 2015 I almost bought a house, but it all fell through when I wasn't happy with the inspection results.  I have never pursued home ownership before, I was not prepared financially, nor informed on the process to make a sound decision.  It was a pretty big bummer, but it all worked out for the best.  Everything happens for a reason.

Another downer in the first part of the year was a relationship with one of my ex's.  I still had feelings for her, which made it hard to hang out.  She was planning on moving out of state for the first half of the year, which made it harder and harder on me, to point of a breakdown.  Part of me still wishes she would have left, but we've settled as friends and I am okay with that now.  It's weird sitting across from someone that you used to love, because most of the time when relationships end - the contact with them does as well.

Work was rewarding but really hard in most of 2015, with my commute out to the Sarasota/Manatee area.  It's the better part of 2 hours ONE WAY, and I was making that trip several times a week.  Many nights were spent in hotels away from home, but it came with the job at the time.  It was really hard, and contributed to a instances of me being completely burned out.  It was a situation that couldn't be helped based on our coverage, and now it is so much better.  I now teach in Winter Haven, Lakeland, and Tampa for the most part, which are all 45-60 minutes away.

Needless to say, the first part of the year was a complete wash.  I was a mess.

At about the midpoint of the year, my perception about my job had changed.  When I first started as a Trainer for the MFRMLS in February 2013, I carried around a lot of arrogance.  I wanted to be the best trainer on the team and it was all about ME.  After a while I lost interest in that, and received much more fulfillment being part of a TEAM.  In a short span we lost about half the training team, and had to replace them.  I really liked stepping in to make sure the new team members had everything they needed, and tried to help them as much as I could.  I get so much more satisfaction from the TEAM doing well than any personal recognition.  I am nothing without them.  Maybe this is me growing up a bit, but there is things in my career that are bigger than myself.  Nowadays they are like my second family.

I absolutely love my job, my team, and my company.  It has changed my life so much and I will forever continue to be thankful for the opportunities it provides.

The second half is where things really started to get interesting...

Socially I've mostly been on my own this year, which I am okay with because it forced me to get out of the house.  I also cut loose a lot of the anchors in my life.  I used to keep people around just for the sake of having some sort of connection.  I started deleting phone numbers, unfriending people, etc.  I went back to my old motto - "If someone isn't adding something to your life, they are just subtracting" which has served me well.

In late summer, my friend Courtney and I decided to start HauntScene.  We were both huge fans of Halloween Horror Nights (We met at the 2013 version).    After a lengthy period of picking the name (That was the hardest part) - we got the website and social media up and running.  The live portion was called HauntScene Radio, which ended up running throughout the season for 10 episodes.  We had some audio issues in the first episode, but after that it went pretty smoothly.  It was stressful at times, but we ended up doing pretty much every haunt in central Florida.  We met all kinds of great people from the various haunts.  Eric, Robbi, Dan, Mike, etc.  - all awesome people.


It was a learning process, but every week seemed better than the last.  I designed the layout and graphics, and produced the show live.  All of our episodes can be found on our youtube channel.  Considering that we started from nothing, I would consider the show a success.  The scope of the show was WAY beyond anything I had been involved with previously.  We have a decent amount of fans/followers/likes and I am hoping that we can continue for season 2 in the fall of 2016.  

The haunts season was amazing in September/October.  Halloween Horror Nights 25 was EPIC.  I went every single night that I could go on my pass and the employee preview.  So that was 25 nights I spent at universal, and we also went out on 5 nights to do other various haunts.  So in a span of 45 days, I was out 30 of them.  We met all kinds of people and had a lot of fun.

Soon after we wrapped up with the infamous "Drunk Edition" season finale, it took a week or two to get back into the normal operating schedule of my life.

In the last part of the year I took a quick trip home to Michigan the week after my birthday, which is also the week before Thanksgiving.  It was really nice to see my family.

It was right around this time that I starting hanging out with Ana.



She works at one of the associations that I teach at.  I have no idea at this point if anything in going to come of it, but we've been hanging out for the last few months.  Early on I realized how much of a downer I was (I guess you never seen how hopeless you carry yourself until you are bouncing it off of another person).  She made me want to be a better person.  Hell, it was a victory for me to WANT TO want to be a better person.  She deserves better than who I've been.  So I've been so much better.  SO MUCH BETTER, and I am thankful to her for being that catalyst for that.

She's so beautiful, and has me smitten in a way that I no longer thought was possible.  She has put color back into my life.  Ana has made me start to focus on the positive.  I say this, but I have mitigated expectations as far as the prospect of a relationship.  Especially with the last few days, I have no idea where any of it is headed, but I value her friendship.  If she just came into my life just to snap me out of cruise control, I will still be forever thankful.  I miss you, Ana.

I've always been at my best when I have a beautiful woman to inspire me (Or destroy me).

I have spent so long just existing in the past 5-6 years, not really living.  I feel alive.

In early December, I started shopping for a house again (My lease is up in March 2016).  Sean Ferguson (My awesome realtor) found one in Davenport that is going to save me an hour on my commute a day, is centrally located, and most importantly - that I can afford.  I am really excited about this and I will hopefully be closing on February 3rd, and moving out of this place soon after.  I am much better prepared both financially and intellectually this time around, and so far everything is looking good.  Loan is approved, inspection was good, I have settled on the insurance.  Now I am just waiting for a few things to wrap this up.  I am really looking forward to moving and being beholden to no one.



Notes -

RIP - Scott Weiland died on December 3rd, which kind of hit me really hard.


The reason I bring this up is that he was my favorite frontman/singer.  Thankfully I got to see him live with Stone Temple Pilots, then later on Velvet Revolver, and finally with his own band in the last year or so.  Fun fact - the only time I have ever sang karaoke live was doing "Sour Girl" by STP.

From what I've read it doesn't seem like he was necessarily a good person or father, but creatively he will always be one of my favorites.  We all have our demons and I can relate to him channeling some of that creatively.  I hope he finds some peace in wherever he is now.

Resolutions for 2016 

#1 - Lose Weight.  Not having the desire to cook at all in the apartment and being on the go so much took its toll.  That will change when I am in my own place.  I want to start eating better and taking better care of myself.  I think Courtney being around will help, she has done a great job with it.

#2 - Be Positive - I have really made a conscious effort to improve my outlook, and it has affected me greatly in the last few months.  I've recently gotten a promotion, and I want good things to continue.

#3 -  Take the next step - 2015 ended up being a year of preparation.  I saved some money, I changed my perceptions on life.  I am hoping to build on the end of this year going into next.  I'm ready to move on.  I've been ready to move on for years.

#4 - Do something creatively.  I only wrote ONE thing in all of 2015.  Maybe I've lost the ability to write, or I just haven't been inspired.  Maybe creatively I just changed gears from doom and gloom poetry to something else.  I'm not used to drawing on anything but strife. 

I would love to get involved in another show of some sort talking movies and shows, because I truly do miss it.  I guess we'll see what the future brings.

In closing - really all I want at this point is for things to just settle down.  Maybe I am getting older, but stability is key - and maybe some peace and quiet.  Here's to an amazing 2016.