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The June Gloom

When I lived in Los Angeles, most mornings in June we would all wake up to intense overcast and cloud cover.  It would burn off by the late afternoon when the sun came out, and it’s called the June Gloom because it happens during that month when the summer first starts, and the sky looks like how I feel right now.  Gloomy.

This June has been a tough month for me.  Asking around you would hear about how I broke my cell phone and had to buy a new one, how I got swept up in someone else’s eyes, then I crashed back down to earth with a sick cat who was dying of two health issues at once. Money has been hemorrhaging out of my bank account, two has became one, and my cat’s condition has worsened and she barely has been eating the last two days.

I could wait a week to put her down, but what would that accomplish?  I think sometimes we try to extend the life of a dying pet for our own self worth.  We want to feel like we did everything we can for this animal, but sometimes the best thing to do is to let them decide when it’s time to go.  Dapple let me know that yesterday.

It’s all happening so fast and all at once in the month of June.  Now, I don’t live in L.A. anymore, but I’ll be damnded if it doesn’t feel like the June Gloom followed me from Hollywood this whole fucking month.  I want to be pissed off and angry but there is no one or no thing to actually put the blame on.  It’s just life, and it’s telling me that I guess I’m strong enough to handle all these things, otherwise I don’t think they would be happening.

I found an album in my iTunes that I hadn’t listened to since I bought it.  In fact I don’t remember buying it, but life always seems to find a way to communicate to me through music when I need it most:

Am I the only one I know

Waging wars behind my face

and above my throat?

Shadows scream that I’m alone.

But I know we’ve made it this far, kid.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It’s called “Migraine” by twenty one pilots.  Kind of fitting for me right now. No, I don’t have a headache to go with the pain, but there is a dull numbness  I feel just thinking about how certain events in June have caused to shape my life in a way that is so very different from a few weeks ago. Although, maybe I’m not alone since this hasn’t been a good month for a lot of my friends either.  Maybe that June Gloom is going around.

That song sticks in my head for a reason. Regardless, I’ve made it this far, and if I remember correctly my posts from last summer were filled with confusion and doubt, and ups and down, and code words and paralell lines that I walked on so crookedly, and God I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. Yet for some reason, now I am well aware, and you don’t have to tell me twice, that I am better off than I was last June.

Keeping in mind that pain and loss are involved in every single thing that has bummed me out this month, I still can say that I’m in a better place than last year.  I certainly didn’t think to look at it that way, and even though I feel like life has been beating me down this month, I have to remember that this time last year, it was ME doing it to myself.  At least I learned from my mistakes.

This has been brought to you by one of the June Gloomers of the world.  We are the  people who know that love dares you to change your way of caring about ourselves.   We know that sometimes there truly is a last dance, and that nothing stays the same forever.

We also sometimes feel good about the struggles we live though and who we have become through our experiences, and we hope and pray that it can only get better by the end of the week when July rolls around.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Picture courtesy of a really nice June evening at Golden Gardens in Seattle.  The sun does comes out sometimes)

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I Probably Look Like A Douchebag

I fell asleep alcohol free around 10pm last night. I didn’t take any sleeping pill, and I didn’t even have a cigarette before I went to bed. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night sweating, possibly because my body had to detox a little bit from the last few weeks, or possibly because the temperature in my bedroom fluctuates between a cool chill, and a warm breeze throughout the night. I still haven’t figured that part out, but regardless I did something good for me yesterday, yet still kinda douchey. I bought a vape pen.

I’m well aware that smoking is a terrible habit and nothing good will come from it if I continue to smoke other than coughing and black lung, but in the past year I decided that I eventually want to get married and raise a family one day, and I feel like it’s my best interest to be alive longer so that these things can actually happen. So in a effort to make myself a better person and stay on this planet long enough to see my future son and or daughter graduate high school, I had to buy this…

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I didn’t pick the color, but I don’t see this as a fashion statement either so who the fuck cares what color it is? A few years ago I quit smoking for about two months with the help of one of these, but I think it got lost in the move, so I was convinced by the Middle Eastern guy who runs the smoke shop on 99 that this is the cheapest and most effective way to accomplish what I want. I don’t know if this is going to work again so much as it is going to make me look like toolbag taking a puff from a magic wand, but I’m going to give it a chance and try again to quit, and this time I think I have a little more will power.

I get easily distracted with stuff in my life and even though I have never been diagnosed with ADD, I feel like its definitely possible that I could have ADD, so perhaps what I need to do is focus on something all day every day like NOT smoking and really give it a shot.

Sure, I wish it was as simple and just quitting cold turkey, and maybe in a week or so I’ll be able to do that. I just don’t want to turn into a grouchy mess that no one wants to be around. Ideally, I would take a weeks vacation to some tropical island and not bring any cigarettes and just relax at the beach and sip on a few cocktails while I was quitting, but then I woke up, and realized I can’t afford that right now, so me sucking on an electric pipe like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland is the next best thing.

Wish me luck.

 

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That Time I Avoided Getting A DUI

I have been drinking alcohol a lot lately. Pretty much every day after work and on my days off I enjoy one or two or sometimes three or four alcoholic drinks. Within the last week, I have started to notice some negative repercussions and have come to the realization that I need to take a break, at least for a few days because even though I DO love to drink, I love myself a little more to know when to take it easy.

I started drinking late in my life. When I was 27 and living in L.A. I found out that the way to socialize with friends and the way to date women and get to know them was to be able to share a drink here and there and chat about life. It worked for a little bit, until that one time when I went out to dinner with an older woman, and she ended up having to drive me back to her apartment until I could sober up and drive myself home because I had reached my limit of three glasses of wine, which is now just another Tuesday night.

How embarrassing was that?  Needless to say my low tolerance and adolescent behavior when I was drunk was probably a turn off and led to less dates until the point when she eventually decided to stop seeing me. Years went by and I was able to get a hold on my social drinking and since then I have been very conscientious about it, have built up my tolerance, and haven’t made any dumb decisions when I was drunk…..well, maybe just a few last year and earlier this month, but for the most part I’m a fun drunk to be around.

Fast forward to the last month or so, I’ve been going through a somewhat difficult time. My job is stressful, my gf and I love to drink when we go out, and my cat has gotten really sick and I can tell that the end is near for her. I would start drinking before work at lunch and then go into work and just feel kind of shitty once I became less inebriated. All these personal issues and this alcoholic diet has started to make me moody, lazy, a little bit dramatic, and has left me feeling a lot less productive. In the past week I have noticed my tongue has been coated every day, my appetite has almost disappeared, and my apartment has been a mess. These are not good things to have happen, and I can’t continue this way.

But what really woke me up was when this happened yesterday afternoon.  I had had a few drinks on my patio, but wanted to go out to this video store on Roosevelt to rent a movie.  (Yes, there are a few video stores left in Seattle surprisingly)  I got into my car and started driving but hadn’t gotten very far when I realized I had left my wallet at home.  I turned the car around and headed back to my apartment, ran upstairs and grabbed my ID and on my way back down to the car a conversation from the night before popped into my head.  All I remember thinking was how we were talking about how someone almost got a DUI, otherwise known as a “duey” I just kept hearing the phrase “don’t get a duey” in my head. The words stopped me in my tracks in the hallway on the way back down to my car, and I decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea if I drove anywhere including to this video store, so  I parked my car back in my spot and went upstairs.  I think it’s the most responsible decision I have made in awhile.

Look, I enjoy drinking alcohol, but I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t get mean, or am unable to live my life, or allow it to have a negative effect on me, but waking up three times in the middle of the night in a cold sweat all last week has led me to believe that my body is trying to tell me to take it easy for a little bit, and I have to listen to what it’s telling me, just like I listened to that voice inside my head yesterday afternoon.

I’m starting a three day cleanse today, however I won’t be drinking a gross concoction of honey, cayenne pepper and water any time soon. I just want to take the next three days off from alcohol and get myself back into a healthy lifestyle of working out, eating right, and going into work with the idea of being there to make money and not let the shit get to me.

Even though I am off today, I still feel like it’s a good time to start. My Monday included a diet of a four cheese pizza, and about four Manhattans, just to even out the numbers, but by the time I avoided a possible DUI,  I ended up sobering up, taking a Melatonin at 9:45 last night, and slept until 7am this morning. I think I needed it. I know I need to take some time off from the bottle, so here I am. I’m going to try and post something everyday for the next three days so

A. I can feel like I’m being held responsible for my life, and

B. I know that I’m not going through it alone.

Today I woke up, made coffee, and cleaned my entire apartment. I’m going to work out, go see a movie, and eat something healthy for lunch, and when I come back to my place and I see how nice it looks, I can only hope that it will motivate me to be as clean and alcohol free on the inside, as it is on the outside. Day one starts now.

Happy

I had trouble sleeping last night

It was because of something I heard

Something that made me sad

Something that I have no control over

I just want to be

the perfect example

I just want to be

the most supportive

I just want to be

who I would want me to be,

If I were in that situation

I just want you to be

happy.

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Don’t Be An Idiot

Sometimes I get these thoughts in my head that are detrimental to my otherwise positive outlook. It’s an old habit of never really believing that everything is going to be ok, as if there is some magic switch that turns on and off the good luck and wonderful things I have in my life that make me happy.

Funny thing is, there IS such a magic switch. It’s that annoying part of my brain that sometimes thinks like an idiot, and even though I have been off REAL drugs for quite some time, when I catch myself thinking that way, I feel like it’s my brain…. on drugs. (enter egg in a frying pan)

I always know things will work out for me, but the process of getting there is occasionally a mixture of positive thinking combined with a tepid level of creating troublesome scenarios in my head that may never even happen. Duh.

For example, before I moved into my new apartment, I dramatized about them not accepting the fake letter I made from my old job in L.A. saying I was still currently employed so I could prove my employment, when in fact, I was unemployed. Or how about the classic case of when someone says I love you to me and I’ll always be there for you, and then when I’m not with that person, a part of my brain starts to doubt it. Or sometimes when I feel my wrist getting sore from constantly pouring drinks at work, I imagine me having to take some time off from bartending and I worry I will lose money.

These are all prime examples of a stupid and idiotic way to think, and guess what, I know I’m not an idiot, so why think like one?

The good news is I am now more able to catch myself when I have those thoughts, and immediately I tell myself not to think that way. Not to be a slave to my fleeting emotions. Not to get caught up in what isn’t really happening, but instead live in the moment.

I’ve been saying that line for over fifteen years, yet in the last week I have had two different people suggest to me that I follow those words during this time. Live in the moment.

It’s pretty easy to say that, but what does it really mean?  I guess for me to live that way, I need to define what those four words are really suggesting.

When I find myself thinking unwarranted negative thoughts, I’m going to look up and see what’s right in front of me, and appreciate it. When I’m driving or riding the bus to work, instead of letting my mind wonder, I’m going to put on a song that makes me feel like the confident man I am, and I won’t be ashamed even if my voice cracks when I sing along. When I miss my girl,  I ‘ll text her “I miss you” cause if she were there, I wouldn’t be so lovesick. And when I’m thinking about my future, I might want to remember that it’s a direct cause of the present, and that I should live in the moment, and not focus on what is yet to come.

Everything that has come into my life these past three months has happened so fast, I’m only now able to catch up and make sense of it all. It’s a juggling act that started when I took a huge risk for the third time and chose to change everything outside my proverbial window. Part of, if not all of the reasons why I’m writing this is to remind myself I lived in the moment for the last three months, it sure seemed to work out, and I’m currently reaping the benefits yet recently I feel like I was stuck in a mental blockade. I was resorting to idiotic ways of thinking and that doesn’t feel like me at all.

Maybe I need some therapy, or maybe I need to re-read some of the things I wrote a few months ago when I was confident as fuck. THAT guy would say to me  “Hey dude,….you got this, and there is no way that getting what you want is a bad thing, unless you flip that stupid fucking switch and try to sabotage yourself.”

I can’t let that happen. This is a challenge, and one that I’m ready for.

So I choose to turn off the negative and flip the switch in my brain back to an assured polished smart ass, instead of a weak and paranoid dumbass. This is good. My life is good. This is what I have, and this is what I want, because this is who I am now.  That’s living in the moment.

Every day of my life I must remember to look up, let go, and listen to the sounds and sights of the world that are right in front of my face. I need to stop focusing on what isn’t really happening, and instead pay attention and nurture what I actually have.  That’s the best advice I can give to myself. To me, that’s living in the moment, and the opposite of acting like an idiot, which is what we all should strive to do in our lives.

“Whenever I’m about to do something I ask myself, would an idiot do that? And if they would, I do NOT do that thing.”

– Dwight K. Schrute

 

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Sick Of Being Sick

I’ve had my cat for 14 years.  In some ways, I think that means she’s been with me for almost all of my adult life meaning that I mentally became an adult around the age of 25. She’s been a really amazing companion and a great pet, aside from being a little mouthy and complainy.  I wonder where she got those traits from?  Sadly, I have noticed her losing weight and showing signs of age.   I knew it in my heart that she was getting sick, but I just didn’t know for sure yet.

My thoughts were confirmed today when I got the report from the vet.  Dapple has hyperthyroidism, and her kidneys are failing her.  She only weighs 4 pounds, half of what she should weigh, and although it’s treatable, there is no guarantee that the medicine will work, or if she’ll take to it naturally.  The doctor told me it’s tricky and that one illness has to be treated before the other but again, there is no guarantee that it will work.

I always knew this day was going to come, and I guess I must be ready for it if it’s here right now, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t fucked me up a little bit in the head the last few days wondering and worrying about what the results might be.  Now I know.

Five years ago my ex’s cat Jose got sick, and we did everything we could to keep him alive including having him go through a costly surgery that we hoped and prayed would yield a good result.  Jose died the day after the surgery, and it was probably one of the saddest days of my life.

I remember coming home from the vets after seeing him after he passed. I put on the song “Breathe Me” by Sia and I sat in my bedroom and cried for an hour.  In the days that past I would still hear the jingle of this little bell he used to play with as if he was still there in the apartment, haunting it with his presence.  The last few days of his life were probably some of the most stressful and painful for him, and I vowed I would never put an animal through that kind of torture.  It drained me, and it killed him.  I remember I had just moved into a new apartment in Hollywood when he died, and here I am in a new apartment in Seattle finding the irony in this deja vu.

Things have been  going really well for me lately.  I have a good job that sometimes frustrates me but is lucrative enough to keep me there. I have an amazing girlfriend who has patiently put up with my drama as I try to learn not to make the same mistakes I did in other relationships, and I love the city I live in, and I have some friends that are also co-workers who like and respect me, even though I sometimes freak out when I get stressed in the well.  And now, there’s this.

Dapple has been there for me through everything.  She always runs to the door when I come home, she always likes to “make bread” on my stomach by kneading it when I feel down, and she always called me out and let me know I was fucking up by pooping in the hallway back when I was addicted. She never held a grudge, and she is always happy to see me.

I don’t know where to go from here, but I know that this is beginning of the end of her life, and all I really want for her is to live it out as painless and stress free as possible. She deserves it. I’ve been down this road before and whether the course of action is treatment, or just making her as comfortable as possible these next few months I’m going to do what I feel is best for her.  I just wish I knew what that was right now.

I paid $20 at the shelter to adopt Dapple when I lived in Las Vegas, yet they say money can’t buy love?  Well, considering everything she has put up with and done for me over the last 14 years if that’s not a prime example of unconditional love, then I don’t know what is.