Self Love Is True Love

2 years ago in the early hours of my 20th birthday, my last relationship went down like the Lusitania. Not the first time I’ve been dumped but it was my first real heartbreak and haven’t been serious with anyone since.

Not that I haven’t tried. I’ve stayed out at bars and parties long after I wanted to leave. Went along with blind dates that friends have set up that never work out. Joined countless dating websites and gave just about everyone who sent me a message a chance, even if I wasn’t particularly interested, because settling seemed better than the alternative.

I’m not looking to settle down with anyone any time soon, necessarily. But I seek substance and authenticity. Someone to call when the fact that I’m a mere dust speck in the cosmic sense becomes to great to bear and I need to know someone other than my parents gives a shit. To laugh at their cheesy jokes and have them wipe away salty tears leaking from my eyes. Someone to share new thoughts, perspectives and lifestyles with me that I didn’t know were possible. We’d even argue well and grow together and evolve into people greater than we’d ever be had we never met.

Fat chance. We live in the age of “Send me nudes” and the dreaded Hit It & Quit It, and my best chances of something right now is to be someone’s “side piece”.

I’ve known that for a while and since the breakup, I more or less gave in to the system of things. I had a good relationship and after having a taste of that honey, I was on the hunt for the whole beehive. The past 18orso months have been a series of reckless hookups, illadvised flings, and misadventures that my conscious has been working hard to convert into repressed memories. And for what? The chance to spend time with someone, orgasm, get dressed & leave all while pretending not to hear my soul crying softly in the background?

So for the past few months I’ve stopped looking and ceased giving into sexual desires of any kind to center myself.

Something happens the first time you masturbate after a particularly long dry spell. Once the wave of pleasure flows throughout your body, you sit back and your mind goes blank from ecstasy and then realize…. YOU made yourself feel that wonderful. No one else involved and no one watching you impatiently as you gather your clothes up off the hardwood floor. There’s a lot of power in doing something good for yourself. It makes you wonder what else you’re capable of doing on your own & ponder why you’ve ever searched outwardly for something you could do yourself.

If there is a hole in your heart, no amount of penises or vaginas you try to cram into it will fill the void. A healthy relationship isn’t finding your other half. It’s 2 whole pieces coming together and meeting in the middle, like a venn diagram.

I may not find anyone tomorrow, next week, this year, or any time soon. But no one else is needed as long as I’ve got me.

And I’m enough.

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How Do You Act Your Age?

I’ve only been 22 for a few days and don’t feel much different from 21, which felt suspiciously reminiscent of 19 and 20, which were only a slight contrast against 17 and 18.

What makes a matured adult?

Settling on a job you don’t like to earn green paper with no true value? Trading in flavored malt beverages for bitter red wine only consumed with dinner, followed by 2 glasses of ice water and warm milk to get to sleep without fear of a headache? Doing away with illegal drugs and only getting high off prescription drugs when you hurt your back? Squat out a few tots and watch them grow and destroy your furniture?

Or maybe maturity is simply reaching a certain age. I still laugh at fart jokes just as hard as I did at the age of 5. Am I more or less mature because of it?

Everyone’s truth is different. So why are we all being pigeonholed into an identical concept of maturity?

The notso closet conspiracy theorist in me says that the very statement “Act your age” is our way of calling out behavior that deviates from the conditioned status quo, the cog in the big machine that’s slowing down production for the rest of us, as we try to reach a singular consciousness.

Or perhaps there’s a secret Life’s Little Book of Absolute Fact that I’ve yet to read.

Time Warp Tickers. Nevermind…

It’s been said that you can get much higher off drugs than with them.

One day I swallowed 2 blotter acid strips chased with a blast of hash on the way to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I wore black fishnets, a formfitting dark and white striped top, and a leather jacket with matching combat boots. Battle Armor for the new Millennia.

My dilated eyeballs popped out right of my skull from the bright light of the auditorium. Garish lizards fluttered by, twirling their rainbow tutus and speaking in an unidentifiable lispy tongue. There is no way to describe The Fear I felt once the light fell and the darkness was broken by a giant crimson pair of luscious lips cooing about the upcoming extraterrestrial takeover. A group of freaks to my right roared enthusiastically as a young topless lass swayed to the ethereal voice filling the theater to my left. I was right in the middle of a freak preapocalyptic free for all.

Seconds or hours went by and the ominous lips had gone away, replaced by a wild series of flamboyant images and events I could not process. Time had moved on but I had not. After a seemingly impromptu dance sequence, I stood up in my chair and screamed:

“GODDAMN IT MAN, JUST TELL ME ABOUT THE FUCKING FORBIDDEN PLANET!!!”

Truly, a perverted perspective totally missed by those coddled in the saccharine arms of sobriety. Or…..? I looked out at the room filled with pairs of eyes staring back at me. The odd one out, no easy feat in such a crowd.

My legs felt rubbery as I slumped back down into my seat and all of eyes blinked and returned their attention back to the giant flashing screen, the brief flight of lunacy already forgiven, perhaps even forgotten.

A druggie can learn to cope with things like seeing a glowing red pair of disembodied lips revealing a prophecy of doom or a giant mechanized dragon stomping down an intersection spewing oil on bystanders and breathing fire on the asphalt.

Does the Freak take the Drug or does the Drug make the Freak?

Where to turn when the world appears grey after having one’s stimulus levels elevated to astronomical proportions.

Jesus! The pros and cons of dabbling in the dark arts.

Omission Accomplished

When the voodoo goblins shoot hoodoo in your face and everyday feels like a contrived déjà vu that you don’t do so well… Oh, what the hell.

This isn’t reality! This is science fiction, goddamn it! Do Not Be Alarmed. These are minor glitches&bugs in an otherwise perfect system. Your PreApproved Virus Protection Softare is dealing with the matter. Your regularly scheduled program of anger and noise will resume momentarily. These bastards voted for the Bush Administration and killed Michael Jackson. Anonymity is shrinking and the puppeteers are doing a pisspoor job of hiding their strings.

A pebble thrown into a backyard pond. Or are these ripples of cosmic proportions?

It’ll start early one morning, awakened by a rattle & hum and the buzz of a stinging rain. Peel back the curtains and see pigs flattening flowerbeds and leavng giant hoofprint indentations in the pavement with their ironshoes. Press your hand against the window and watch as time appears to freeze, the event horizon lying just beyond your fingertips shielded behind a thin layer of cold glass.

What’s happening on the Other Side defies all rationality and our species hasn’t evolved long enough to know the answers.
When you hear your train a-comin’ will you board peacefully or be dragged along kicking & pleading?

Words Of Advice:  
Bite your first, step into the void and give it a big hug.
Then firmly plant a knife in its back, for precautionary measures.

Sowing The Wild Seeds of Unrest

Another lengthy work shift filled with false smiles and undercompensated labor ends and it’s closing time. I had been busting my tail, as usual, all day and knew I exceeded my sales expectations set by the managerial Overlords and would remain on their good graces for another day.

The last customers exit and the doors are locked behind them. The Manager On Duty presses a few buttons on his phone and his voice rings throughout the store on the intercom system. “Okay, everyone! Let’s all meet at the customer service desk for our nightly meeting.”

Me & the rest of the staff drop what ever project we were working on in preparation for the closing recovery period. The faster we fix & clean up what the feral public mussed up and make the store look as good as new, the faster we can get home. The nightly meeting is little more than a 5 minute unwanted & unneeded interruption. One coworker, an older woman with a curled grey Lana Turner-like hairdo, speedwalks out of the breakroom, quickly clocks out at the terminal, and makes a break for the door before the meeting starts. We all hate how she ducks out on obligations like this but she’s been with the company for over 15 years and earns the same pay we do. We don’t object.

The MOD prints reports off the register and walks up to the desk. “Good job today, everyone. We brought in $17,400.58, smashing our plan of $12,000. A special acknowledgement to you,” he turns to me and gives me a huge grin, “who had the highest customer appreciation [a shallow term used to replace ‘upsell’] conversation rate. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!” I pull my lips upward into something I hope resembles a smile and tune out as he continues to ramble on about upcoming events and other store news.

The meeting breaks and we all return to doing recovery. I walk up to one of my favorite coworkers, a deliciously sardonic lass who gives obnoxious customers a blank stare that never fails to make me laugh.

“Do we make more money if the store makes plan?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” she asks while dusting off a shelf.

“I mean, if the store reaches its goals and we upsell like we’re supposed to and achieve all the sales goals we’re supposed to, do we get bonuses or anything?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“So what’s the incentive? Why should I give a shit about whether or not the company makes as much money as it wants to if my check looks the same either way? Why do they even tell us about it at the meetings if it barely affects us?”

She pauses for a moment, both hands frozen in position on product while she took in my inquiry. Then turns to me and says, “That’s a good fucking question.”

She walks away and I watch as she goes from one coworker to another, whispering something in their ear. The coworkers shrug their shoulders and nod in agreement to whatever she’s saying & look down at their uncompleted tasks as she leaves, noticeably less enthusiastic.

“Excellent…” I whisper as I tent my fingers together. “Soon, my pretties, soon.”

Like Smoke. I Know We’re No Good.

As I watch the news (by which I mean scroll twitter feeds and read up on status updates from friends on subjects mainstream media doesn’t have the ovaries to touch) I can’t help but feel. Feel that there is a concealed mathematical equation that determines that value of a human life that only a select handfew of people are privileged enough to see. An equation that was secretly drilled into our heads through questionable cockamamie Common Core lessons and gilded handmedown generational morals.

How else do you justify our fellow citizens, beings you frequently break bread with, doing everything in their warped psyche to justify the murders & persecution of persons who look like the faces standing next to themselves? How souls can sling mud at those who look just like them for not playing into laughably asinine respectability politics? How people have continuously treated each other horribly throughout the ages based on nothing more than ignorance & misdirected loathing?

& worst yet, there appears to be no end in sight. In time I have no doubt that the situation in Gaza will be forgotten like the horrors we started in Iraq, Afghanistan, and much of the Middle East. The full blown civil war in Ferguson, MO will be overlooked like the Trayvon Martins, Michael Dunns, and Renisha McBrides & thousands of other cases before them. Our trans&queer brothers/sisters/nonbinarysiblings will continue to be slain in cold blood without any media attention. And the vicious cycle will repeat itself.

Many revolutions in history (and certainly every one that I’ve been a part of) has failed and will continue to fail, while the Undeniable Evil grows more powerful by the second.

I hear often that I’m “too negative” and should be more optimistic.

Most of my heroes are dead and the human race may very well be on the verge of a catastrophic meltdown long overdue. Someone tell me how to be an optimist about this.

Because I’ve run out of ideas.

Operation Tricky Dicky, Part V

Today. August 8th. I clocked out at 12:59pm and ran like the wind to my car, going 80mph on the highway. I couldn’t get to the mayor’s headquarters fast enough.

I got off at the West Broad St exit and made my way down Marconi Blvd, slowing down a bit as I got closer to the office building, looking up at streetlights & traffic corners but saw no cameras. I parked in a spot on the opposite side of the street in front of the building and fed quarters into the meter.

He was on the short walkway on top of the first flight of stairs leading up to the front doors, sitting in a tattered lawn chair with the State of Ohio flag covering the back, the 2pointed ends flapping in the summer breeze. He had several signs in his hands:

1984 : 2014

BIG BROTHER IS HERE

QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

THE PEOPLE DESERVE THE TRUTH

that were written in a heavy black permanent markered script on cardboard slabs attached to thin tree branches. Underneath the chair was an unidentifiable auburn canister and the black suitcase.

His face lit up when he saw me walking up the stairs. “Aww shit, I didn’t think you would actually show! Good to see ya.”

I didn’t say anything at first. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to see once I got there but there he was, looking like every stereotypical crazy bum you’ve ever seen depicted in the media. “How, uhh… how long have you been out here?” I asked hesitantly.

“About an hour or so. Haven’t been met with much resistance, or any for that matter. People have been walking by, going about their day to day. A few folks stopped to take my picture on their phones but that’s about it. But now that you’re here…” He gently set the signs down on the ground and grabbed the suitcase. “We can get this party started.”

He laid the case on its side and kneeled down in front of it and started to open the latches. I immediately started to sweat. I barely slept a wink the night before, hypothesizing what was inside. Maybe it’s a incriminating papertrail thought buried by the administration and police force? Maybe it’s photos and videos he saved that would flip the city upside down? A bomb was still a likely possibility.

He opened the case and I halfexpected a luminous golden light to shine out. He reached inside and pulled out a megaphone.

A fucking megaphone.

“Of all the things in the world…. Why in the fresh hell did you decided bury THAT?” I asked.

“I knew THEY would try to take everything from me. But I refused to be silenced…” He held the megaphone in his arms as it were a newborn baby. “And people tend to listen to you when you have one of these. Without it, all rebels would just look like raving lunatics.”

“So what now?” I asked.

“Now? The Dawn begins.”

He hopped to his feet and turned to face the street. Cars were driving by. People were walking along, even walking in and out of the office. We were practically invisible. I watched his face as he surveyed our surroundings with the intensity of a redtailed hawk hunting live prey. The point is to thoroughly terrify these bastards… It’s necessary that they learn to fear every sunrise until the next August 8th…” he muttered under his breath, more to himself than anything else.

He then turned away and picked up the signs, leaned 1 against the chair, and walked the other 3 back to where I was standing at the foot of the steps. “Pick 2”, he instructed. I picked The Truth & Latin Phrase signs and held them in each hand. He held the Big Brother Sign high above his head and clicked on the megaphone.

“CITIZENS OF COLUMBUS,” his gruff voice boomed across the street. “OUR CITY IS GOVERNED UNDER A STRONG ARM OF DECEPTION, FALSE TRUTHS AND FABRICATION! OUR COUNTRY IS NO DIFFERENT! EVERY POLITICAL AND PSEUDOPOWER STRUCTURE YOU HOLD DEAR IS BRINGING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR OWN DEATH!”

Well. He certainly is direct, I remember thinking at the time.

“DO NOT BE LED INTO TEMPTATION BY FALSE PROPHETS WITH VAGUE PROMISES OF PROSPERITY THEY HAVE HAVE NO INTENTIONS OF FULFILLING. REJECT THE MUSHY BABYFOOD OF BULLSHIT SPOON FED TO YOU SINCE BIRTH. REBUKE THE NOTION THAT YOU HAVE NO POWER. WE GREATLY OUTNUMBER THEM.”

People were beginning to take notice. A few passerbys stopped along the sidewalk to watch the spectacle that was beginning to unfold. I glanced back at the office building and saw curtains pulled back and faces peering out windows.

“DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO DRAMATIZE AND PROFIT OFF OF OUR STRUGGLES ANY LONGER. STOP RUNNING INTO WALLS AS YOU BLINDLY RACE THROUGH THE TANGLED LABYRINTH IN SEARCH OF CHEESE THAT ISN’T THERE. STOP BLEACHING THEIR BROWNSTAINED TOILET BOWLS WHILE THEY TIP YOU WITH POCKET CHANGE. WHY WAIT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION TO CHANGE WHAT WE CAN CHANGE RIGHT NOW?”

Cars were slowing down on the street. The crowd was starting to grow larger and chiming in with shouts of encouragement. It was hard to tell whether they actually agreed or were just egging him on. Either way, he clearly had struck a nerve.

“BE THE RENEGADE MODEL FOR OUR INCREASINGLY DISENFRANCHISED CULTURE. BECOME A BEACON OF HOPE FOR THE APATHETIC. BE THE BRIDGE BETWEEN PROTEST AND ACTIVE RESISTANCE. YOUR PATH TO REVOLUTIONARY SELF TRANSFORMATION CAN BEGIN TODAY. ACTION IS MOVEMENT! MOVEMENT IS PROGRESS! ACCELERATE THE PROGRESS! ACT NOW!”

At this point, the crowd had grown from a few bystanders to a fullblown legion. The sidewalk was swarmed with bodies, all clapping & cheering along with each declaration. My eyes were brimmed with tears. A man after my own heart & ideology, he was killing me softly with speech. My uncertainty melted away. I was holding the flimsy signs up like the torches of the Statue of Liberty, pumping them in the air and engaging with the crowd.

He put the megaphone down and beamed out at the crowd he had drawn in. He set the megaphone down on the ground and called me over. “Keep the energy going. It’s only a matter of time before they call the pigs in to crash this party. Time for the grand finale.”

He walked back over to the chair. I raised the signs higher in the air and bellowed out a primal war cry, which the crowd copied, their voices uniting together in a resonating roar. I was living. The revolution I had been wanting to start for so long but had been too afraid to start had arrived and here I was, in the center of the belly of the beast. The roar started to grow even louder and I heard one person, a teenage girl in a Hot Topic Jack Skellington hoodie, in the crowd yell out “Holy Shit!” and point past me.

I turned around and saw a flash of orange. The Ohio flag was on the ground in a blaze of unglory, the familiar red, white & blue starting to char in a bellow of smoke. He poured a little more (of what I presume is gasoline) from the auburn canister onto the flame, making it burst out even more. And then stood up and started to pour it on himself.

I dropped my hands, still holding the signs, and felt them dangle by my sides. The atmosphere sharply shifted from “Fuck Yeah!” to “What The Fuck”. The front doors to the office building burst open and a whole throng of blackoutfitted security guards emerged from the inside. He emptied the rest of the canister over his body and threw himself onto the flame. A mini fireball erupted, blasting a heatwave out across the street.

The crowd dispersed in a clattered confusion of screams of terror. A security guard pushed me down the stairs and told me to “get the hell out of here.” Sirens blared in the distance.

Throughout the ages, antiestablishment protestors and nonconformists have risen in the hopes to introduce a little anarchy & upset the foundation. But things have still remained relatively unchanged. Most acts of liberation are little more than a selfimposed servitude, today being no different. My homeless messiah turned out to be little more than an unbalanced lunatic looking to go out in a literal blaze of glory.

Am I really that easily swayed & naive that I’m willing to listen to anyone? Was I just a chess piece in his twisted game? Did he accomplish what he had set out to do? Even if what all he told me was true, was anything changed? Did he even have a plan at all?

I didn’t have time to think about it. The scene was getting more hectic by the minute and I needed to get out of there.

Besides, the time was about to run out on the parking meter.