Hello, old friend

A lot has happened in the what, almost 5 years since I’ve seen you. I could fill you in on the details, but the truth is, if you actually cared, you’d already know. I’ve never really withheld anything from you, you just were never interested in any conversation where you weren’t 100% in control.

I’m not doing well. No point in sugar coating it. I feel a little like George Bailey, always trying to do the right thing, always trying to take care of the people he loves, always underappreciated for the sacrifices he makes, this sick world rotting away all the youthful idealism and endless ambition he had as a young man. I know there’s no guardian angel for me, nor any salvation from my “friends” and family. That’s just the movies.

I needed you years ago. As a friend, as a confidante, as a lover. My life could’ve been so different, with just a little bit of stability, a little bit more credibility as a man, a little more confidence. But you chose to break me down and throw me out with the garbage.

happy father’s day

good ol’ hierarchies. sad that alcohol is on the topmost echelon.

today is father’s day. and i can’t wait for it to end. advil for my headache. a beer for my anxiety. maybe two. dad has an alcohol use disorder. sweet irony. today, i’m barely a drinker. i can control the number of beers. i can steer clear of liquor altogether. i’ve done months here and there and a year of zero alcohol. i feel in control. but there’s that ever-present question mark of whether my life will spiral into alcoholism. i’ve got sixty years to go, and life takes way too many turns. downfalls, especially the grand-canyon-deep ones, will be an invitation to make alcohol my one and only lover. relatives across generations have done it. it’s in our blood.

despite social and religious attempts to glorify us, the human body is first and foremost, a machine. food and drink go in, they’re metabolized, waste goes out, short term energy is expended, long term energy is stored. it is pretty straightforward that some two-legged machines out there just process EtOH more efficiently than others. it’s pretty straightforward to understand that some central nervous systems out there love this substance in particular, despite the destruction excessive consumption brings with it. but let’s go back to father’s day.

life on the homefront hasn’t been great these past few weeks. the average of the last two years has also been shitty. five years, still below average, i presume. nonetheless, i came up with the idea of putting together a father’s day video for my dad. for ~20 years he gifted me a beautiful upbringing, and although the last seven or so haven’t been great, our emotional bank account ain’t yet in the red. and so i invested time, emotional, and mental energy in reaching out to loved ones of his: work colleagues, family, friends. it took the grit of a salesman to stay on top of people. some weren’t particularly enthused to film a <20 s clip for someone whose inebriated behavior had hurt them one or many times in the past few years. but it got done. all thirty videos came in. i’m my own worst critic but honestly, the gift was pretty damn cool: heartfelt father’s day wishes from old and young friends + warm messages of gratitude from his relatives + inspirational background music = kickass gift.

my dad’s losing position in the addiction cycle during the week leading to father’s day, coupled with the fact that my mom and i were collateral damage –again–, made me question the enterprise several times. but my gut told me to keep going. and i’m not a quitter. “worst comes to worst, you can keep the finished product in your back pocket for when dad treats his alcohol use disorder with professionals and stops hurting everyone around him”. but today took some (honestly, to be expected) turns.

i left home in the morning to start the day with a workout. exercise has reliably kept my anxiety at bay. it keeps me off meds. it keeps my alcohol (and other drugs) consumption to a bare minimum. after the workout, i texted him the link to the video. wished him a happy father’s day. told him i’d see him soon at home and we could celebrate.no response. innocent until proven guilty, honestly. neither of us is great with phones. thankfully, gadgets are still working for us and not the other way around.

i got home and mom and dad were about to have breakfast. i hadn’t slept well, but i pushed back the nap to share a meal with them…it’s father’s day, after all.

it took a short exchange to realize that my dad ‘had the sword out’. if you deal with a substance-using loved one, you need no further explanation. if you don’t, ‘having the sword out’ means aggressive and verbally attacking people: those present, others absent, and strangers alike. each and every time, this is very unpleasant to hear: if the world is the circulatory system, this is like snake venom spreading throughout. it is emotionally draining.

he was also under the influence of something. maybe xanax, a benzo he abuses arguably to cope with alcohol withdrawal syndrome and to combat insomnia. or maybe alcohol, an anxiolytic he abuses because he is genetically predisposed, to cope with present-day life and the memories of a tough childhood, and because a long time ago humanity arbitrarily decided it’d be the drug that would be legal and readily available. how much is nature, how much is nurture? jury’s out. i believe it always will be.

the endorphins from the workout let me cope well. we finished breakfast and i proceeded to take the nap. before my date with morpheus, i asked him if he had seen what i texted him. he said no. i was mostly worried about the 25+ loved ones who took time off their busy, uniquely problematic weeks to film a short clip for my dad.

the clock struck 2pm. not a single ‘thank you’, verbal or textual. hug? unfathomable. we don’t gift to be thanked. we gift out of love and affection. but when even the slightest hint of a ‘thank you’ is missing, the void is hard to go unnoticed. and it stings.

at three o’clock or so, i gave up. it had been a ten-day marathon of trying. trying to empathize, trying to help, trying to care for him, trying to love, trying to coexist, trying to keep my temper, trying to be a good son. i needed to take a break for an indefinite amount of time.

it was time for lunch. you’re supposed to share that meal with your dad on father’s day. that’s just how it goes. i was out on the balcony by the kitchen thinking and writing, putting my emotions on paper to emancipate my mind from those enslaving thoughts. my dad came into the kitchen. overhearing a brief exchange with my mom was enough to tell me that he still wasn’t in the right state of mind. i’d had enough unsolicited venom for lunch over the past few weeks. one extra serving? no thanks. i told my mom that i wasn’t hungry, that i’d be eating later. as always, she understood. she’s a saint. then i told her she could also opt out. she opted in. apparently she still had some gas left in the tank.

later on, i found out that my dad started an argument during lunch, blaming my mom for turning me against him. ever since i was little, i’ve had issues following the rules of figures of authority. i’m a grown-ass man these days, having lived on my own for 10+ years. yet, dad clings to the argument that mom (or anyone else) is still making decisions for me. this rigidness of thought is only second to his ego as to why he hasn’t been able to beat his addiction (with the help of professionals and science-driven methods).

after i gave up on lunch and father’s day altogether, the rest of the day went smoother. i went back to my undercurrent of sadness and only experienced it acutely a couple of times: an emotional fatherchildren movie ending, and realizing that my afternoon go-to coffee shop was completely empty because most people were hanging out with their dads in harmony. i was slightly anxious at the coffee shop. for obvious family history reasons, self-medicating with alcohol isn’t usually my first recourse to combat anxiety. but today, i was emotionally drained and my headache wouldn’t go away. so i decided to treat myself to an ice cold one and some jazz at a local bar in my lovely american suburban town.

all things considered, i was in a pretty optimistic mood, decluttering tabs in my browser and catching up on some articles. i was standing at a high-top. foot subtly stomping to the rhythm of great jazz. eye candy to my right: two cute girls wrapped in chic attire. and then, inspiration struck. and i started writing this letter i’ll never send. never waste a good crisis.

happy father’s day!
*this is an unedited first and last draft. just wanted to get it out and move on.

j

dear j,
i’ve known you for three years and i’ll know you for even more to come. there is so much to our story and i need to say it all in order for me to let go of all the pain, sadness and joy you caused me.
you were my first love. the first person that made my heart giddy. you were the first person to make me shit myself mentally. we were young and i didn’t know better. you were just a guy who seemed to actually want to talk to me. it was so exciting to have some sort of romantic interest. we were great friends. we texted everyday, had inside jokes and so many good memories. because of you, i got out of my suicidal thoughts. the joy you caused me, saved me. and then, summer came along and we got out of school. i travelled that summer so we stopped talking for a bit but i knew we would bounce right back the second school starts up again.
and then we were in the same homeroom and you had the glow-up of the century that summer. i swear my jaw dropped when i saw how much you’d changed. unfortunately, we didn’t bounce right back. we were friends but you didn’t seem to have the same feelings for me. and for three months, i stayed friends with you, even though i knew i wanted more.
i remember on november first, i found out some heartbreaking news. through the year that i knew you, i was madly in love with you. i thought we were going somewhere but turns out, you didn’t care. turns out, i twisted myself inside out for you, just to figure out you lied about your feelings for me. apparently, i was just “experience”. you just wanted to see how far i would go for you. you wanted to bend me until i would break. and that night i did.
i remember trembling, shaking and just collapsing next to my doorframe. i had no words and my brain couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. i cried so hard that night. i replayed every smiling moment we had and realized that it was fake. your behaviour around me was fake. you were a stranger that i had fallen in love with. you were a stranger that i ripped myself apart for.
i deleted you out of my social life then. unadded you from every social media account. i wanted nothing to do with you. i was angry and hurt. it was my first heartbreak.
we still had to go to school together which meant i saw you everyday. we didn’t talk though. we didn’t interact at all. i never told you how that felt. when you broke it to me.
but then one day, our english teacher made a seating plan for us and we sat right next to each other. we couldn’t ignore each other anymore and we talked for the first time. we completely dismissed what happened two months ago. it was like a breath of fresh air and i know you felt it too. i know you missed me in your body language. your eyes lit up again. and just like that, we were friends again. we never even talked about what you had done to me. maybe you were embarrassed.
i knew that letting you in again would be a mistake but you, you were worth it. i told myself everyday that you had changed. i believed it!
i was wrong. a year had passed and we weren’t as close anymore. we were on good terms and then we weren’t. i can’t remember what it was but you hurt me. again. and i cried. again. there was so much going on in my life at that time. so much hurt from several different people and to top it off, you hurt me. you apologized. using desperate words to express “how much i meant to you”. i forgave you because you “had changed”.
throughout the year, you started to dislike me. always insulting me, not as a joke anymore. you yelled at me, dismissed me and talked shit about me. i thought you were being funny. but it wasn’t funny. what had gone wrong? what did i do?
i beat myself up about it for the whole time. i asked you if we were still friends. sometimes it was yes and sometimes it was no. i was confused, hurt and sad. but, i still wanted your friendship and company.
and then in march, you went to party and spread dirt all over my reputaion. about how i needed to “grow up” how i was “overreacting” and “jealous”. you humiliated me in front of fifteen people and for why? WHAT DID I DO? where did i go wrong?
my best friend and i confronted you and you told her and i different stories. to her it was more trash talk about me and to me, it was another overrated apology. it seemed so genuine and words can’t explain the feeling i felt when you had done this to me again. you put me in this position. you ASSUMED i would forgive you and everything would go back to the way it was. i wailed. because i wanted to forgive you so bad. i wanted it to be over. i wanted this indecision to end because i thought this time you had changed. for real. i forgave you again.
and when you hurt me again? i couldn’t be surprised. this time there was no apology. there was no me chasing after you, in tears. i knew that this cycle of hurt had to end. it couldn’t go on like this. i was tired, overwhelmed and just done. i was done being used when convenient. i was done being lied to and i was done letting you in.
so when i asked one last time “are we still friends?” and you said no. that was it. i didn’t reply. i left you hanging. for the first time, i had the power in this relationship. even though i wanted you so so bad, i reserved myself. i wasn’t about to be hurt again.
and now, i’m learning to let go. i’m learning to let go of everything you destroyed. my self confidence, self dependancy. i don’t need you. i deserve better. and you will never get me again.
sincerely,
m

ACAB

America. You are the land of monsters. Your monsters carry badges, they have intimidating and awesome titles, they run this shit show. It’s time for change.

Your country, once perceived as amazing, is looking pretty shabby now. Run by giant toddlers with tantrums. Actually, that’s really rude to toddlers. More like rabid, syphalitic wild boar. Again, sorry wild boar…

I’m so tired of watching the news. How many black people are going to be slaughtered in the streets, for just being black? Getting shot 7 times IN THE BACK? Police destroying cameras and footage, what the actual fuck is going on, America??? Something in your water?

What makes me sick is I have always been a police sympathizer. Almost always refusing to believe they were bad, having to hear the other side of the story. Knowing full well of course A FEW were bad, but genuinely thinking most were awesome human beings trying to make their prospective communities a better place. HA! This last couple of months…. jesus christ. I have openly wept more times than I can count….

ACAB. Here’s the thing, I’m sure there are cops who went into it for the right reasons, there definitely are individuals who truly wanted to help, wanted to make the world a better place. The problem, ladies and Gentlemen, you cannot watch atrocity after atrocity, keep your mouth shut, look the other way, plug your ears, hum loudly AND STILL THINK YOU GET TO MAINTAIN A GOOD PERSON PARTICIPATION TROPHY!!! FUCK YOU!!!! Oh, but you’ll lose your job if you say anything??? Well fuck! Why didn’t you say so??? Find another fucking job, go work at Target. Might not be glamorous, or pay as much, but a lot less blood on your hands.

Physically remove that orange nightmare from that building. Start with that.