An Ode to my Hometown: Rock Bottom

I’ll cut to the chase. This one is rough for me to write. As I wrapped up my last post, I was spiraling out of control. I was deflecting and refusing to look my demons in the face. I was scared. But I was still arrogant.

The drinking had become my escape. I wasn’t an alcoholic in the sense that it is portrayed in movies and television shows. I was drinking 2-3 nights a week, which now seems like a lot. But I was in college, newly 21, and wanted anything to make me feel better.

I ran out of anti-depressants, but the damage had been done. I needed to keep feeding that beast. And at the time, my job was located two blocks from the downtown nightlife scene. Perfect.

I know most of this probably sounds like normal early 20s behavior, but the problem wasn’t the drinking. I don’t particularly like the taste of alcohol. But it was that removal of my mind from reality that I became addicted to. If I was conscious, I wanted to be thinking, doing, being anywhere else, but where I was. And to compound the problems, I was hellbent on trying to figure this out alone.

I was drifting between work, the bars, and home, and I got lost in the haze that had become my life. I was staying busy at work, going to the bars and drinking, and then sleeping, none of which involved me thinking about my own issues. And I existed in this bubble for a couple years.

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom, a drunken night with friends that I decided I needed help. A group of us had gone downtown, my usual spot, and were having a good time. My friends decided they wanted to leave, but I wanted to stay. They left me with someone I had known for a minimal amount of time, and the next thing I knew, I was alone.

No problem, I’ll just go back in and keep drinking. It wasn’t like I had never done it before. But there was an allure. I wanted to meet back up with my friends. And, in a moment of drunken decision making, I tried to drive myself to them.

Now, I was fortunate that night. Not because I made it to the next bar safely, but because I didn’t even make it out of the parking garage. I had started to drive but wasn’t coherent enough to figure out where the exit was. Finally, a security guard stopped me. And to this day, I have no clue how I wasn’t arrested. He took my keys and told me to call my friends.  There’s part of me that wishes I could ask him why that had been his decision. The more substantial piece of me wants to stay as far away from that night as possible.

But my night wasn’t over. I sat against the wall of the parking garage, calling my friends with no answer, drifting in and out of sleep, while getting sick on myself. I was a complete embarrassment. I sat surrounded by those stone walls, thinking about my life to that point, a prisoner in my own mind.

What felt like an entire evening passed before my friend came to pick me up. In reality, it had been a couple hours. And the real twist of it was, I knew I could have called someone else to come to get me, and they would have been there in a heartbeat. Much quicker than what had actually happened. My parents, the woman I was dating at the time, other friends, and family, all could have gotten there ASAP. But I was ashamed. I couldn’t even muster the courage to do the right thing, after doing the wrong thing all night. I was a coward.

I still drank after. Still do. There have been low points and rough days when the willpower hasn’t been there. And nowadays, I can drink without delving into those negative emotions. But I’m careful. I rarely have more than two drinks, because two turns into seven very quickly for me. And I never drink if I’m not in an appropriate mental headspace.

Eventually, I’ll stop drinking altogether. There are social circles, especially in Louisville, where it’s hard to not drink. And I haven’t figured out how to tackle that. I don’t believe this an acceptable excuse, especially given my past, but I’m working on it.

The good news is, this is my rock bottom. Which means from here on out, it’s much happier. There are significant things that happened to pull me out from this stretch in my life, but it took roughly five years to get to where I am. No matter where we come from, we can always be better and do better. But we have to want it for ourselves.

My Favorite Poem

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, and it’s made me revisit my favorite poem. I would argue that it’s what was the initial spark that lead me here.

When I was 12 or 13, I wrote a poem. And it was terrible, like a lot of preteen poetry probably is. But I entered it into an ad that I saw in a magazine, and I had my poem published in a compiled book of poetry. So I guess technically, I am a published poet. And I say that with every ounce of sarcasm in my bones.

But I largely left writing alone after that. It wasn’t going to help me make friends in high school, so why did I need to worry about it?

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and I stumbled upon the first poem that I can recall reading that spoke to me at my core. It’s called “lifedance” by Charles Bukowski.

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I absolutely love this poem. It said things that I felt in a very vulnerable time in my life and made me feel less alone. Bukowski isn’t known for his chipper, upbeat prose, but when you’re buried in the dirt, sometimes you need to see another worm next to you.

the area dividing the brain and the soul
is affected in many ways by
experience-

This is a beautiful way of setting up the remainder of the poem. The duality of our person, both being affected by experiences in our lives.

some lose all mind and become soul:
insane.
some lose all soul and become mind:
intellectual.

At various points in my life, I’ve felt more connected to either of these two lines. I’ve mostly ever felt insane, surrounded by a world that I don’t fit in. To a certain extent, I still feel that way. A black sheep of society that can’t find a real connection with anyone. I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate to the feelings.

some lose both and become:
accepted.

A dark approach to our lives. When you lose your soul and your mind, you become accepted in society. Again, I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate.

This is the first piece of writing that made me feel something. That’s why it’s my favorite poem. Not because it’s sunshine and daisies, or even because it’s representative of my life or anything I’m feeling. But I felt something when I read it. It’s what every writer worth their salt wants to do. It’s what I aspire to.

~

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

Time to Come Clean…

I wrote a poem recently titled “Vulnerable” where I spoke to how much of a strength vulnerability is. But I haven’t been living fully in that truth of vulnerability because I have been hiding my work from people in my life.

So I need to come clean. I’m at a point in my life where I’m finally comfortable with who I am; flaws and imperfections as well as my strengths. And as people have inevitably left and entered my life, I’ve realized that I only want people to be in my life because they know ME.

If someone isn’t comfortable with who I was, who I am and who I am becoming, then they won’t play an important role in my life anyway.

So, this article is for a very small portion of people, and it’s only people who know me in real life. For everyone else, feel free for a brief recap of my last ten months or so.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

For the last ten months, I’ve been writing. For some, it may be considered a lot. For others, it may be chump change. But it’s me.

I’ve talked about my bouts with depression, alcoholism, and relationship struggles. And I’ve talked about what inspires me, what brings me pure joy, and how much I’ve come to love myself FIRST, before trying to bring someone into my once chaotic circle.

I’ve explored basic blogging formats, poetry, my desires to someday write a novel, a book of poetry, and really everything in between. Writing is the purest, simplest way for me to express myself, and it has helped me process trauma in my past, both internal and external.

I’m not a sob story. There are millions upon millions of people who have gone through much worse than I have. But everyone has a story, and I believe that it is all of our jobs to tell ours.

I also adopted a “pen name” (for lack of a more correct term. Liam Silas. Liam is a shortened version of my actual first name, which means “resolute defender”. Silas is a name I chose, meaning “of the forest”. I chose this because I’ve never felt more at home and at peace as I do when surrounded by trees.

As a teenager, my friends and I would have probably referred to someone like who I am now as a hippie. And I have a lot of “hippie” tendencies. But now, I just see myself as “truth”.

I hope my family and friends go back and read what I wrote. Not for views or any selfish reasoning. But for understanding and also, for some opportunities at deeper, more meaningful conversations with them.

To anyone who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, thank you for taking a moment for me. It truly means the world to me that anyone gains anything from my words. I’d love to make a career in writing, and I have some ideas on how to get there.

Until then, I’ll start by just being myself, finally, with the people who know me, have known me, and will know me. Thank you.

~

Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

View at Medium.com

Raw Writers Wanted

I’m noticing something on Medium. And it’s not egregious. It’s not even necessarily a bad thing. But it’s something that doesn’t resonate with me.
 
Medium is a beautiful place that gives voice to anyone. It’s given me a platform to express myself and it has changed my life for the better.
 
That being said, I’m noticing that a lot of people have started to conform their writing to fit into the status quo. I read an article today that was talking about how people who stand out in life don’t conform to society. They blaze their own path and go out of their way to find the unique moments in our lives and turn it into something magical.
 
And I agree with every bit of that. The problem was the way it was written. It came across as very disingenuous and was full of sentences that were saying the same thing in different ways.
 
Before I go further, I want to confess my own sins. I know that I have been guilty of all those things. And I’m not here to be the Medium police or get bent out of shape about someone else’s writing.
 
And all of us are here for different reasons. Some are here primarily to consume. Some are here to gain a following and “make it” as a writer. Some are here to purge thoughts and express themselves in ways that we never felt we could. And none are wrong.
 
So, it really comes down to what you’re here for. If you are here for free, quick self-help guides and people who haven’t figured their own shit out telling you how to get YOUR shit together, perfect. That is a sizable portion of the posts that I come across and good on you. I’ve spent plenty of time reading those same articles.
 
But if you’re here for something that speaks to you. Something that moves you, presses all your right buttons, and takes you in beyond words, well, that’s different. I’m not saying that doesn’t exist on Medium. On the contrary, I’ve found some beautiful, amazing writers on here that I would have never known existed before. That’s the best part about Medium.
 
But these writers typically aren’t pushed in the same way. I’m not sure if it’s the algorithm or maybe I just read so many of the “Top 5 Ways to…” articles at first that I continue to have them pushed into my inbox every morning. Either way, I want more.
 
I want more voice given to writers who word vomit onto the screen. I want more writers who throw things against the wall, hoping something sticks. Writers who write about what moves THEM, in the hopes that they can move someone else. Those articles are where the truth lies.
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