What a Waster

What a waster: he’s in shambles but the smile is a convincing lie to passersby, the depths of it all hidden behind jaded eyes. Feet hitting the pavement, broken shoes, ears tuned to the city, to centuries of joy mixed with grief inherent in every ancient surface. Mourning the lost connections, pondering the misdirections, daydreaming of a time when it was all so much simpler – just two voices mingling in the darkness, falling in and out of bed, laughing because what else can you do when it’s all gone to shit?

Cars drive by, a siren wails in the distance, and tired, red-rimmed eyes trace the cracks in ancient bricks. Boy, you wreck everything you touch. Why not try building something for a change?

Grief

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The thing they don’t tell you about grief is that it’s like poison coursing through your veins or a wound that never quite heals. One moment you’re moving forward, dogged determination propelling each step; the next, grief strikes back with a vengeance, often triggered by nothing in particular. Grief is the sudden, sharp ache in your chest; the inexplicable weight on your soul, pulling you down to the depths of despair even on the brightest of days; it’s the way you grit your teeth suddenly, struggling to comprehend and control the conflicting feelings inside of you; it’s the tears you’re suddenly blinking back in the midst of a raucous crowd, with nobody the wiser – and you used to cry once a year, right? Grief is that unexpected ambush when a certain song plays on the radio, the threat of having to pull over as your eyes fill with tears, preventing you from seeing the road ahead of you. Grief is avoiding certain songs – or even a particular artist – altogether, knowing that the┬ályrics will evoke treacherous tears.

Grief is the worst kind of bogeyman, lurking in the darkest corners of your heart and rearing its ugly head when you least expect it.

A New Beginning

I was 32 when my life fell apart before my eyes.

The love of my life – the woman I believed to be my soulmate, the woman who told me repeatedly that she “didn’t believe in divorce” – suddenly asked me for a divorce. This was non-negotiable and it marked the beginning of the end of the life that I had known. It wasn’t a perfect life, by any means; I had been struggling with worsening medical issues and spent some time feeling crippled by depression. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, my spouse was also depressed. She had always struggled to communicate with me. She felt that she had been trying to communicate with me, but whatever she was doing simply wasn’t enough. Stressed out by the increasing pressures of her job, she began to take her frustrations out on me.

The worst part – aside from her decision to walk away without any attempt at reconciliation – was being told that we “were not equals.” She had been saying that for awhile and it had contributed to my depression and loss of self-esteem. Months later, she told me that she “could see how that sounded bad” and hurt me. That aside, the abrupt change in her behavior was terrifying. The kind-hearted, sweet, honest woman that I had fallen in love with was suddenly cruel and spiteful; she lied about almost everything, continuing to do so even when she had been caught in the act. She went out and refused to come home; she ignored texts and phone calls; she turned our neighbor – an already mentally unstable individual – against me, causing me a great deal of stress and anxiety. I am not exaggerating when I say that this individual was – is – mentally unstable; a young veteran, his personal weapons had been confiscated by the VA because they were afraid that he would harm someone else. He, in turn, proceeded to whisper wild rumors about me to other neighbors; my wife did nothing to stop him, even when his harassment crossed lines and entered dangerous territory.

The woman who had been my partner in crime, my hero, stood by and did nothing. This was to become the new normal, and I watched with fearful eyes as my once bright and colorful world faded to shades of gray.

There is so much that I want to say about this experience. I’m sure there will many blog posts written on the subject. It has been a deeply traumatic experience for me, and that’s putting it mildly. My faith in the possibility of having a monogamous partner has been shattered. 2016 was supposed to be the year that we put a down payment on a starter home and focused on starting a family together.

I dreamed of the children we would have, the life that we would build together; she dreamed of alcohol and pretty girls who were not me.

After a brief period of homelessness, during which I was also responsible for the well-being of Skippyjon (chihuahua) and Swayze (tabby cat), I wound up with my parents. I turned 33 years old on June 6, 2016, and I once again living with my parents. Words can’t begin to describe how depressing and devastating that has been for me.

Having lost the love of my life, returned to a place that I despised, and facing some difficult decisions relative to my health, I opted to focus on doing what I do best: writing. I have written almost non-stop since my wife forced me out of our apartment and onto the streets. I wrote when I was on the road, my trusty 2004 Toyota Corolla – aptly named Bling – carrying me, my “children”, and whatever possessions I could fit as we bounced aimlessly from place to place. I wrote when I drove across the flat plains of Texas, gazing quietly at a longhorn steer in the distance. I wrote when I hunkered down in cold, windy New Mexico, the apparent stomping grounds for so many hitchhikers. I continued to write even as I set up a “base of operations” with my parents, feeling isolated and hopeless. Let me tell you, it’s bad enough to have lost so much; it’s even worse when you’re stuck in a losing situation and feeling completely, utterly hopeless.

Due to my health issues, I am currently pursuing disability. It’s been humbling, as I am not the kind of person who likes to rely upon anyone else for their survival. However, I’ve come to realize that I need to take care of myself by any means necessary. If all goes well, this will be temporary and I will be able to return the “favor” tenfold. Unfortunately, disability is a lengthy process, leaving me in quite a predicament. Idle hands leave me alone with my thoughts; I’ve found myself struggling with heartbreak and depression.

Again, I’ve turned to writing. This simple act has guided me through the darkest, most difficult days. I may be clumsy in terms of verbal communication, but the written word has truly become a balm for my weary, aching soul. I have attempted some WordPress blogs in the past. Over time, I lost interest or became distracted by other things that were happening in my life. This time feels different. I want it to be different.

In terms of a theme, I don’t think that I have one. Much like my own life, this blog is going to be somewhat aimless, drifting from place to place in search of a home. I wanted another outlet for my words, a place for my voice to be shared and heard. Whatever I choose to talk about, I hope to meet some interesting people along the way. If I manage to help one or two folks, then so much the better.

Given everything that I’ve endured in my life, I suppose that it would be easy to become bitter and hateful. On the contrary, I’m even more firm in my belief that the world could use a lot more love and kindness.

So, to anyone reading this: it’s nice to meet you. I hope that you’ll stick around. This blog is about me: my life, my interests, my attempt(s) to heal a very broken heart, and – most of all – my search for a place to call “home” in the absence of her embrace.