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Archive for the tag “feelings”

Please May I Have a Coma?

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“Please, may I have a coma?”

 I said that in a conversation with a friend the other day.  There was no correlation to any one thing I remember talking about.  It was just a stand-alone thought.  This sort of thing happens often with me, seeming, usually, completely disconnected from whatever train of thought or flow of conversation I’m having in that moment.  Most people, even those closest to me, miss it.  That instant when my consciousness gets invaded by my subconscious, and my Freudian Slip starts to show.

I used to miss it, too.

But a lot has happened over the last year that, on this day, I didn’t miss it at all.

I, and most of my nearest and dearest, have had a hard year.  I can’t explain why.  I mean, maybe?  The same way people try and explain how a half-a-dozen women in regular near-proximity to each other seemingly sync their periods, or how, when you buy a make and model of car you never really gave much thought to, then it seems like that same car is on every street and in every parking lot everywhere you go. 

The collective unconscious, manifested.

And no, I don’t believe for one minute that, like periods or late-model cars, any of my friends and I wanted our collective shits to happen, but maybe there’s something equally invisible going on that drew us all together before, so that we could be here for each other in the during, and rejoice with each other in the after.  Because that’s why human beings have friends. 

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Now that the end of another November is here, and with it, the end of another National Blog Posting Month, I think it’s time for a re-examination.  Priorities that held this priory together last month, last year, last life, no longer belong in my life.  Things that once felt important, no longer feel that way.  And I’m educated guessing that the same is being said by many of my friends.  But human beings are nothing if not creatures of habit.  One of those habits is holding onto to things we’ve outgrown, or that have outgrown us.  I don’t know what you’ve outgrown but, like a closet full of last decade’s fashion disasters and fat pants, for me, it’s time to make room for something new, or maybe for nothing new at all, but only for what’s most important. 

Because a closet full of winter coats does you no good if you live the rest of your life in the sunshine.

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Okay, but only for a little while.  It’s time to empty out my storage, give away what I won’t be needing, and decide where the sun shines brightest for me.  But don’t worry.  You’re ALL my friends.  And I’ll leave breadcrumbs on the trail, wherever it is I go. 

Thank you for reading my words these last 30 days.  And thank you for allowing me to spend it reading yours.

Till then. 

 

Always,

Bill

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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When an Empath has no Empathy

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I undergo profound changes every November. 

Cataclysmic, visions-of-a-personal-apocalypse life changes.  It’s happened three Novembers in a row now.  Sure, it’s only a blog challenge, but I’m generally blog-challenged, being a poet and not really a blogger at all.  So when November rolls around, it seems like I’m just not allowed to ignore all the seismic emotional upheaval that something of this creative magnitude rips open for 30 days straight.

See, here’s the thing, because you knew there’d be a thing, right?  The thing is, I’m kind of an empath.  Not the ‘I shake your hand and know where you’ve buried the bodies’ kind of empath.  Just the ‘I feel things deeper than most people’ kind. 

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Did you ever see the movie “Species”?  The original, where the government assembled a team of previous strangers with varied skill-sets to capture and/or kill the Escaped Sexy Female Alien Hybrid, on the loose and looking to mate?  Then you remember the soft-spoken empath, played by Academy Award™ winning actor Forest Whitaker.  This version of the B-movie empath wasn’t a psychic, or in touch with the spirit world, or whatever other way B-movies portray the empath.  This version could simply feel what others around him were feeling, and tell you what those feeling meant

I liked that interpretation. 

Because at the roots, it’s the closet I’ve ever come to being introduced to mine. 

And then there’s the downside. 

The thing is, I’m kind of an empath.  Not the ‘I shake your hand and know where you’ve buried the bodies’ kind of empath.  Just the ‘I feel things deeper than most people’ kind. 

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Especially my feelings.

Which in the past, I could ignore for my own sanity’s sake.  But last November, after writing a super-concentrated month’s-worth of feelings, I lost the ability to bury mine.  No more clearly-marked boxes for emotions.  No more handy compartments for feelings to go.  No more mindless default ways to ignore them.  They were, for the first time, all on the same great big plate like a 64-box of crayons melted together in a microwave oven, and it was a fucking mess. 

My fucking mess. 

And I had to choose my path before it killed me.

The title of this post is, “When an Empath has no Empathy”.  It comes from a random thought that popped into my empath head a couple of days ago, about someone from my past, equally gifted with the ability to ‘feel all the feels’ like I do.  A random thought that goes, “What if you were an empath with no empathy?  Wouldn’t that just make you a sociopath?” 

And after reading everything… okay, a few things on Reddit… my non-clinical, non-scientific answer is, “Yeah… I think it would.”

But is that how I want to live the rest of my life?  Just surviving like a spiritual grifter, living off the feelings of others instead of feeling all the feels and helping those who need whatever it is I can do with all the messed up feelings.

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Especially my feelings.

So this November, I was left with a choice.  Do I want to spend the rest of my life finding new ways to shut off all the feelings and face the consequences of knowing and not caring?  Or do I stay on the path, as I suppose was originally intended, and learn how to be who I am?  Feeling, and dealing with my choices.

Like I said, I undergo profound changes every November.

And I can’t wait until December.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

It’s Not About You

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I don’t stockpile blog posts.  I’m not in any way a prolific blogger.  I used to wish I was like that; the Stephen King of blogging, grinding out page after page on any subject that popped into, or fell out of, my head.  And for a short time, about ten years ago, I was heading in that direction, writing online. 

Until a nasty bout of what I thought was writer’s block overtook me, and for the next few months I went from writing a feature column for a website to being an itinerant poet. 

I’ve told the story before, so that’s why the short version this time.  But there is a part I’ve never told, in print or in person, to anyone.

I started writing poetry for the same reason people vaguebook, or subtweet, before there were such things as vaguebooking and subtweeting.  I started writing poetry because all the things I ever wanted to say to others required honesty.  Feature-length, name the names, feel the feels, full disclosure honesty.  And I wasn’t ready for that kind of honesty ten years ago.  Just like I wasn’t ready for it five years ago, or two, or even more recently than that.

Poetry, and I just figured this out last week… I know, late to my own party, again… became a way of purging shit, real, honest shit, without ever having to confront another human being over that shit.  See, I hate confrontation. 

ALL CAPS HATE.

Of course I know what some of you are thinking, “How can a guy who writes the things you write NOT be confrontational?”  And my marginally confrontational answer is, “Have you not read my writing?”  See, I’m both blessed and cursed with a soul.  Not the half-in/half-out, maybe I care/maybe I don’t kind of a soul.  But the all-in/all-out/all-the-time kind of soul.  The soul that can either love you, or burn the bridge you stand on while we’re talking.  So because of that, and because this 100/100 soul can’t hold everything in ALL the time, I started purging all of it through the power of poetry. No names, vague scenarios, love you or burn the bridge you stand on, poetry.

And I am a saner man for it.

So if in the future, before you ask me, “Was that poem about me?” remember to look down and see if you’re standing on a bridge ready to be burned, and know that I probably love you, or I wouldn’t have written the poem in the first place.

And just believe me when I say,

“It’s not about you.”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Final Approach

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“Once we induce, it could be 30 minutes… it could be 3 days.”

At least that’s what the Labor and Delivery nurse said to my daughter when she was asked, “How long…?”  My baby is having a baby, her second, almost 10 years after her first.  I wasn’t in the room with her for my first grandchild, but besides the father, this time my daughter asked me.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Don’t tell the nurses, but I brought a flask of bourbon into the room this morning.  If I’m going to be here for the duration, I have to have some of the comforts of home here with me, right?  Almost 10 years ago, when I was still becoming who I am today, I wouldn’t have had the balls to bring a flask into L&D.  I also wouldn’t have had the balls to write a blog post at the foot of my daughter’s bed while she was beginning to have the contractions that will bring another granddaughter into the world. 

But I’m not that man anymore.

This time around, it seems, everything is different.  My daughter isn’t a kid anymore.  Her life is as stable as any parent could’ve hoped for his child as he was raising her, imperfectly… so fucking imperfectly.

This time around, she trusts me.  And that’s all a dad can hope for from his kid.  Because after all the work and worry of parenting a first-born child… your ‘experimental child’… is done, all that’s left is that she, maybe, loves you as much as you love her.

And being in this room, in this moment, I know better than any other something could ever show me.

And in this room, at this moment now on final approach, I know I am a fortunate man.  Not because I have life figured out, or because I’ve made myself great in the eyes of the world, because I haven’t.  Not even close.  I know that I am a fortunate man because, for one of the rare times since my birth, realize what love is.  I am fortunate in the time between contractions, from the tender looks between my daughter and her man.  In the sound of the fetal heart monitor, filling the room with the presence of new life.  And I am fortunate in the flow of conversation between my daughter and me, which finds its place in the gaps of all that’s happening in this room where Ruby will take her first breaths.  In the randomness of bad jokes, and doing whatever it is my baby girl asks of me. 

This is where my life finds some semblance of completion.  This is where everything, good or bad, from the day of her birth till now, has led.  This is that moment where I know that nothing I have done badly is held against me, and all that matters is now, and the future is alight with promise and purpose and every good thing that could ever be.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Schmo: A Limerick in Two Parts

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There once was a girl

who did not know

the power her smile

had on this schmo 

She’d run swiftly away

from his table most days

making him think

he should go

 

But he’s a schmo, so he kept coming back for more.  And so…

 

There once was a girl

who discovered

the heart that her smile

had uncovered 

So she sat down to stay

at his table one day

learning each felt the same

’bout the other

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Rollercoaster

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Love is a rollercoaster. 

It wasn’t made to go in a

straight line,

and the turns are unexpected. 

Sometimes as you ride,

you can’t breathe,

and you feel like

your bones will break,

and at the worst moments,

you don’t even believe the lap bar

will keep you safe. 

But there is the hand of the one riding next to you. 

Squeezing your hand so tight

you think your fingers will pop,

yet you never want them to ever let go. 

Because it’s in that hand that

you feel the only safety there is. 

Not the safety of the lap bar,

but the safety of love. 

Flying, falling, twisting without warning. 

And with it,

the unbroken knowing that

as they are squeezing your hand,

you are squeezing theirs. 

Neither of you with any

plans for letting go.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Journal

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I journal now.

I have attempted this for going on decades now.  In various forms, under different descriptions, and for uncountable reasons why, I have tried to spend a little time with a notebook and a pen, and tell the invisible just how I was feeling.

And failed.

Every time.

Until now.

I don’t succeed every day.  Just like, with life, I don’t succeed every day.  But now, I try.  I am doing this on the advice of a friend.  Not a close friend, because the advice of close friends, for me, has a way of becoming a message that falls on deaf ears.  Deaf ears that don’t read lips all that well, so the well-meaning of others, just as often, falls.  So, where were we?  Oh yeah, forms, descriptions, and reasons. 

Forms: affirmations, observations, gratitude, grief, self-talk, listening, healing, prayer… just to name a few more than a few.     

Descriptions: meditative, stream of consciousness, automatic writing, biographical, dear fucking diary, poetry and prose.  If I left something out, I’m sorry.  If it meant more, I’m sure I’d still remember it.

Reasons: to get in touch with my feelings, to separate myself from my feelings, to find my true path, to stay off the wrong path, to find myself, to lose myself, to know myself, to find God, to know God, to have God know me.

Yeah, I used to journal to God.  But a long time ago I stopped wanting God to hear what I had to say.  So I stopped journaling to God.

I journal now.

When I used to journal, the many MANY times I tried to journal, I couldn’t write freely, always editing the thoughts in my mind before the words scratched themselves into the page.  I’ve always been a stickler for the way words feel as they lay on your tongue, as you silently read them to yourself, like a whisper with no breath to carry the sound.

C’mon, admit it with me, we ALL do that.  It’s the real reason why people move their lips when they read.  Some people just hide it better, or care much more, than others.  You don’t want to be thought of as simple minded, so you keep your lips pressed together when you read, but your tongue still moves between your teeth and the roof of your mouth, because we ALL love how words FEEL in our mouths.

Anyway, in those days, the words had to read perfect to feel perfect.  So I quit, because the prose ended up being prosaic, and prosaic is just another way of saying “droning self-importance”, and the whole point of journaling was to get past self-importance and discover something more than self, right?

But, bright side, I did become a bloody awful poet, so there’s that.

I journal now.

I don’t know what I will discover, this time.  Will it end up being just another one-man circle jerk of overly-edited thoughts?  So far, no.  I have an actual editor for that now.  One thing I know, so far, is that, where the words used to come out like sawdust, now they come out like blood.  No cuts required.  I even doodle now.  Also in blood.

The world is a different place than it was the last time I tried this, just as my place in it is different.  Recently, my walls came down with a crash, and instead of trying to rebuild walls, I think it’s better if I just write what I find in the rubble and move on.

And no, you will never read my journal.  No one will.  Except maybe God, and then, mostly over my shoulder.

Besides, some of it might be about you.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Open My Mouth

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“Open my mouth with yours”,

he whispered,

before her lips parted,

and she slid her soul inside him.

“I have a dirty mouth”,

she whispered in return.

“Then there will always be truth in your kisses”,

he answered.

Before the distance between them was no more.

 

Worlds colliding. 

Stars born then dying. 

Lights fading. 

Fears abating.

Hunger raging.

Salivating.

Lives in need,

Culminating.

Insanity dissipating.

No more anticipating.

Each the other’s cure.       

 

“Open my mouth with yours”,

she whispered,

before their lips parted,

and their souls were at home inside each other. 

“You have a dirty mouth”,

he whispered in return. 

“Then there will always be truth in my kisses”,

she answered. 

Before the distance between them was no more.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Breathing

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I don’t overshare.

Yes, I have thoughts.  Yes, I have feelings.  No, I don’t put them out there, all heart on my sleeve, for the world at large to see and sift through.  I had that, in no uncertain terms, kicked outta me years and years ago by someone I loved, and that was enough for one lifetime.  Of course now, it’s taken as a sign of unwillingness on my part to be intimate, but whatever.  It’s my sleeve, and I’ll leave it bare if I want to.

A while ago, I mastered the art of Vaguebooking, but was told, in equally certain terms, that behavior like that only alienates folks from getting to know the real me, but for me, it’s easier to speak the truth I know people want to hear, or just say nothing at all.  Again, the feelings are there, I’ve just been conditioned to keep them to myself.

It doesn’t make for many friends or lovers, but I’ve become reconciled with that, believing, until recently, that when it comes to pain in the heart places, less is better.

Yeah, I said “until recently”.

See, I’ve been going through a Fuck Ton of things in the last year, and thought I could poet my way through them.  Thought I could silent my way through them.  Thought I could Vaguebook my way through them.    

I’ve been going through a Fuck Ton of things in the last year, and I had to finally say something.  The only way I know how.

After the fact.

 ***

A friend of mine, a really good friend, recently told me something that, in the moment, froze my bones.  That something was,

“With change comes sacrifice.”

I didn’t say it in that moment, but I truly hated those words.  Things had been changing so rapidly in my life that the last thing I wanted to hear was that, with all this change, I was going to have to “sacrifice” something or somethings I still held onto like a cheap life jacket after the leaky boat sinks.  I was barely hanging on as it was, and NOW comes sacrifice?

***

On a seemingly unrelated note, a few weeks before this, I had begun the practice of spoken affirmations.  Not the kind you might think, but the kind that only I would think to practice.  Notice I did not say positive affirmations.  I began the practice of negative affirmations.  With phrases like,

“I wish I had never met you.”

“I need to get you OFF of me.” 

And most recently,

“You’re somebody else’s problem now”. 

Whenever I began to feel the sink of sadness begin to drag me to the hell of my own dark mind, I would invoke those, and other phrases.  These negative affirmations became my talismans against the feelings that kept me from moving.  They allowed me the freedom of expression that Vaguebooking never could.  They created in me the ability to breathe.  Not in, but out.  And this was important for me to understand, because, in the world of breathing, you learn quickly that your life is only as good as your next breath.  And if you spend your life holding one breath, that breath just might kill you, because you have to breathe out to breathe in the next breath, and the next, and the next.

You have to sacrifice that breath if you ever hope to have another.            

So in my mind, I did.

And shortly after that, I had me a day.  The kind where you wake up one way, and if you just keep breathing, it ends different than you thought it would.

You see, I woke up holding my breath.  Then sometime during that day, I sacrificed that breath for the promise of the next breath, and the next, and the next.  And the words in the picture at the top of this page were that day.  Poeted through.  With the promise that there could be more than just holding my breath, waiting for the next breath to come.

***

Somewhere on Facebook, maybe a little, but not in a way I think will be held against me, I posted these words, and Instagram posts, at the end of that day,

“Today, I wrote myself all the way through a sadness that has hung on me like grave clothes since last fall. These are the trilogy of Instagram posts that were the path for those feelings to find their way out…”

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***

There is no snappy conclusion to this post.  One that ties up all the loose ends of all the thoughts I’ve just unloaded on you who read this.  It’s like life, I guess.  It’s just a series of breaths that keep you going along the way to more life, and the next breath, and the next, and the next.  And now that I’ve finally let go of that one breath I’ve held for so long, sacrificed it for the change to come, I know I’m still breathing. 

And that’s living.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Ray Bradbury, Albert Camus, and Me

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I seriously just had the most amazing experience.

Reading.

First time I can ever remember a story becoming alive to me from the printed page.  Full of colors, and smells, and stars. 

Then, it merged into another story I had read, elsewhere.  Full of heat, and death, and regret. 

And the two stories became what I felt I’ve been living since I don’t know when.

That’s as deep as I’ve been in a while.

And I swear I have smoked no peyote.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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