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The rest of my life

Born and raised in the swamps of New Jersey… the garden state… the arm pit of America, I will be the first one in line to stand up and defend my beautiful home when someone puts it down. From 1 day old to 27 years old, I’ve hung my hat from the Exit 98 sign over looking the Garden State Parkway. On a breezy day, if you listen closely you may be able to hear the sound of my soul blowing in the wind across the Point Pleasant Boardwalk. The Jersey Shore. A place where NO ONE from any other state will say “hey kids, how about a family vacation to New Jersey”, well, other than maybe New York. It’s a place of over-priced access to any beach, big wild hearts, Bruce, and pretty Jersey girls.

Now don’t think for a second that I’m making this out to sound like it’s a place for everyone, because it isn’t. My wife absolutely loathes New Jersey. She wanted out a long time ago. And aside from her, there were absolutely many other people who were looking for a way out as well, for multiple reasons. We may be in agreement that it truly is beautiful as far as the scenery, but all they see is the canvas right in front of them, they don’t see the beauty that carries on way beyond the painting, right down to it’s roots where it stems from. And that’s totally fine to be in disagreement there. But for others, or for most I should say, it’s almost as if it’s a cult. When I hear someone say “you have to be from jersey to understand” I cringe. I don’t know what it is about that statement, but I hate it, it’s annoying. But honestly, it’s so true, you really do have to be from there to see it’s charm.

Porkroll egg and cheese on a hard roll from Bagel Bin for breakfast, Surf Taco for lunch, two plain slices at Pasquales Pizzeria for dinner. Then at some point you wanna meet up with your friends. Back then, some had cell phones, some didn’t. But we didn’t really need a phone. There was always at least one of us in a group who had a phone, so if we were looking for someone or if someone was looking for us, we would just check with the one with the phone. But phone or no phone, we would all start meeting up at the same bench on the boardwalk one by one, usually around 9 or so. That’s where we would all end up every night. That was our place. We would loiter in the same spot on the boards for 4-5 hours. Somewhere in between we would split up, some would go to arcade, some would walk onto the beach, some (definitely me) would go to Chippy’s French Fries for a giant cup of greasy overpriced fries with gravy on the side. I would walk to that bench with a tub of fries like a 4 tear old with a tub of ice cream. And that gravy… so good. If it were a Friday or Saturday night, we’d wait for the people to leave Jenks (club) and we’d sit there and watch the dudes fight with their girlfriends, bro’s fighting with other bro’s, people throwing up, girls with their makeup smeared from crying all night. Oh it was a horrific site to see, but we would laugh and laugh. Then right around 2am or so, we’d leave the boardwalk and head to the Ocean Queen Diner where they almost ALWAYS had 3 tables pushed together waiting for us. At times there would literally be like 20 of us. We’d sit there with our coffee and talk about the night, for hours. Usually after our 8 or 9th cup of coffee, or until they’d kick us out, most of us would call it a night. I would usually leave with a very small crew, like 4 or 5 of us, we’d take one car, leaving the others at the diner, and head back towards the beach to watch the sunrise.

I miss those days. But all they are to me now are good memories of a life I once lived. At 20, 21, 22, it was perfectly normal to have an adventure like that every night. Now at 38 years old, even if I still lived in NJ I obviously wouldn’t be able to do that. I grew up. We all grow up. You can’t stop age no matter how hard you try. No matter how badly you wish you could stay the same age forever, that isn’t reality. Life keeps on going, and the only way to be ready for it is to embrace the inevitable.

I was married in June of ’08, and four months later I would leave New Jersey forever. Of course at the time I didn’t know it would be forever. We left the state for work. Bonnie was a new nurse who had just graduated from jersey city university, and she took her first job down south in North Carolina. I was stoked to live in another state, I just took it as a new adventure, and I love adventure. It’s a new unfamiliar place with different people with a different culture. It was exciting.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

After about 2 years there, I started to get homesick. And by the 9th year, I was way past homesick and I started to feel a new emotion that I never quite felt before. Depression. As I mentioned before, my wife loathes New Jersey. And as I pushed and pushed, I just couldn’t reach her. There was no way she would ever go back, she’d leave me before she went back to that place.

It eventually dawned on me that it really wouldn’t be fair for her to live in a place where she would be unhappy just for me. And I think it was around this time that she realized that it isn’t fair for me to live in a place where I’ll be unhappy, at least that’s what I like to believe.

Once we got to San Diego, I was finally able to see the light side of life again. I felt different, like I had been reborn. My soul still moves with the wind on a breezy day in New Jersey, my soul will never leave, but my heart followed me from NJ. But something followed me from North Carolina. Something dark, something dangerous. Something ugly and violent. Something that is responsible for over 800,000 deaths a year world wide. Depression. It followed me out here and I didn’t even know it. It followed me out here like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear. Only this time it was as big as King Kong, and it had me in the palm of his hand. My theory is that I held it in for too long in North Carolina, it filled up like a balloon. And once I got out here it was too late, it had popped. If you hold in your thoughts and feelings long enough, you’ll eventually explode. That is why it is so important to talk to someone. You should always get professional help no matter what, unfortunately I waited too long… but it’s always helpful if you have a friend to talk to, someone who you’re comfortable being completely vulnerable with, someone who understands you. Just a friend, that’s it. I’ve had the same friends since high school. They would do anything for me if I were in a crisis. But my crisis happened and I was too afraid to reach out to them. I guess maybe it’s because I’ve been away for so long that I slowly began losing touch with them over the years. They have families of their own and I just really didn’t want to interfere with their lives. The last time we were together, like really together as best friends, we were much younger. We all have our own stuff happening and that is why I didn’t want to reach out to them. I may be wrong about this, but it’s my assumption that maybe perhaps I spent too many years away from NJ. At the time I had no idea that I would end up the way I am now. Right now, my only friend is my wife. And I’ve pushed her away. Or at least that is what my mind keeps telling me. I love her so much, but I don’t think she looks at me the same way she used to. She is my only friend and if I ever lose her, I’m fucked. I am emotionally fucked and I couldn’t handle it.

Wow. So I’ve been working on this post since 2:30 this afternoon with many pauses in between. It was supposed to be a happy post about New Jersey and I couldn’t wait to finish it to show it off. But in the middle of my writing, it took a wrong turn. That’s how quickly my mood changes. Its embarrassing. I don’t want to edit it now because I’ve spent too much time on this, plus I need to get my emotions out and set them lose. Let’s see if I can change this around.

San Diego was supposed to change our lives, and it did. But not the way we’ve imagined, at least for me. I’m trying so hard to rebuild my faith in this world but it’s so hard. I hurt. I need to constantly be reminded by my wife that she’s still in love with me, and that’s exhausting on her part. Another thing I realized about myself is that my ONLY trigger is her. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, what I mean is that when it feels like I’m losing her, that’s when my depression and mania sets in. Nothing else in this world is a problem to me, I don’t have any other triggers. But it all starts with my asshole of a brain. These damn thoughts and worries. It’s my fault and I don’t want it to be my fault.

Recently, she suggested that I go back and spend a few weeks in NJ. But honestly, I don’t want to anymore. Every time I go back to visit it looks different. I hardly recognize it and it sure as shit doesn’t recognize me anymore either. I became a stranger in the place I got my name from. It just isn’t the place I remember. I don’t feel that charm anymore. I don’t feel anything when I think of NJ. I’m just lost.

You know, when I first had the idea of becoming a blogger, I wanted to use my mental health as a way to possibly help others. But I just turned this into a journal instead. Releasing all of my struggles to a world of people who don’t even know who I am. But it still helps. I may not have my friends near by to talk to, so I use this as a way to get it all out. I was writing in a notebook, but it just felt like I was talking to myself.

It’s still a work in progress, and I WILL turn this around. I may be lost, and I may not be as happy as I once was, but I don’t ever want to leave San Diego. My happiness is somewhere to be found, and it starts within my family. Family is everything to me. Triston, little Ari, and of course my wife Bonnie. These are the people who keep me alive. The ones that give me the fuel I need to keep going. I must keep going.

I fell asleep last Saturday

Underneath polluted skies

I walked alone on those Jersey nights, and I

Saw the boardwalk start to fall

The emptiness starts to drown

The quiet corners of this town, and I…

Late last night, I made my plans

It was the only thing I felt I could do

Said goodbye to my best friend

Sometimes there’s no one left to tell you the truth

It’s gonna kill me… the rest of my life

Let me apologize while I’m still alive

I know it’s hard to face all of my past mistakes

It’s gonna kill me for the rest of my life

This is my all time low

Somehow it feels so familiar

Somehow it seems so familiar

I feel like letting go

And every second that goes by

I’m screaming out for a second try

Said goodbye to my best friend

Sometimes there’s no one left to tell you the truth

It’s gonna kill me… the rest of my life

Let me apologize while I’m still alive

I know it’s hard to face all of my past mistakes

I’ve got to live with them the rest of my life

This is the mess I’ve made

These are the words I can’t erase

This is my life support shutting down for the final time

And it twists like a blade

And it kills me for the rest of my life

If you won’t forgive me

The rest of my life

Let me apologize while I’m still alive

I know it’s time to face all of my past mistakes

It’s gonna kill me for the rest of my life…

☠️❤️ Less Than Jake ❤️☠️

The art of making babies

Last night I posted a blog with three of my old facebook blogs from years ago. When I read them after all these years, I felt a sense of both euphoria and melancholy. Euphoric because I was reminded of a time when I was emotionally stable and peaceful and I can get through just about any situation with pure optimism. And melancholy due to recognizing the feelings I had in my soul once vs the darkness I now feel. I’ve changed dramatically. We all change one way or another.

I pulled up my wife’s facebook page today and came across a blog she had written seven years ago when we were so so so desperately trying to conceive another baby. It was a very intense emotional time in our lives. Her blog has a very satisfying ending. It’s a beautiful story and I wish she would write more. She can very well be an inspiration to all women who are struggling with infertility, and their partners who are there for support and having their emotions put to the test well. As a man, this was tough for me too. Enjoy…

Letting Go

By Bonnie Kaz on November 18, 2012

I wrote this a few days ago and then debated about whether or not to share it on facebook with all 400 of my “closest friends”…this morning I decided to go for it and my reason is that I have come to the conclusion that this is nothing I should feel shameful about.  This is also something that someone else out there may relate to.  It is VERY personal and this is not the easiest thing for me to share and this goes against what many of my friends (especially my Catholic/Christian friends) believe, but please understand this is just the reality of my life and these are the decisions my family and I have made.  Here it goes:Wednesday November 14, 2012.. Today I am in DESPERATE need of some therapy.  Writing has always been an outlet for me and I think that now I have reached a point where I am finally ready to share something very personal with everyone.  The following information may be too much information for some of you, so please only read if you wish.  Here it is. Some of our close friends and even some of my coworkers know that for the past year and a half Adam and I have been trying to conceive another child.  This journey over the past 21 cycles has brought us many highs and many lows.  It has stirred up emotions that I didn’t know could have existed.  It has made me a bitter and angry person and it has opened my eyes to all that I should be grateful for (I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s true).  It has been the most “bipolar” phase of my life so far.  I never would have imagined how much work and effort actually goes into the creation of a human being.  In the beginning it’s all fun and romantic and exciting, then after 6 months or so it becomes more like a task.   Something that needs to be planned, scheduled, “fit in”.  We had good luck with fertility drugs in helping us conceive Triston so once we had reached our point of desperation with this one we decided to turn to a fertility specialist once again.  We were hopeful in the beginning.  We started on the meds that we used for Triston and quickly learned that they weren’t enough this time.  So we had to keep adding meds: daily shots of IM progesterone (which REALLY hurt), HCG trigger shots, FSH injections (those hurt too)…shots, shots, and more shots, followed by ultrasound after ultrasound, lab work, lab work, and more lab work.  We even “one upped” the drugs and tried several rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) and still NO luck.  Juggling our work schedules, our plans with friends, our entire lives around doctor’s visits…we are at the point of utter exhaustion. The past few months I have felt everything from periods of depression and feelings of despair to feeling angry and resentful to all those around me who are pregnant with their 3rd and 4th child.  Even strangers in the elevator with their bellies showing annoyed me.  Then I went through the feeling of extreme guilt and shame for being so hateful towards those people.  What kind of Christian does this make me?  Who am I to judge them or to take away their moment of happiness that they so deserve.  Who am I to assume that they had it so easily and who am I to say that even if they did just “accidentally” get pregnant that they shouldn’t be happy about it.  God has a plan for everyone and who am I to look at others and pass judgement or be jealous.  Then I began to think about those who want so desperately to have even one child but cannot for some reason or another and then I feel even more horrible.  How selfish of me to be bitter that I ONLY have one child.  Why is it not sufficient to have an only child?  Greed is an ugly sin. What have I turned into?  In the beginning with each negative pregnancy test I’d break down and cry and it would take me days to recover.  There was even a point in time back when we were trying to conceive Triston that I was so upset I had to have Adam call into work for me that night because I literally was lying on the floor of my bathroom curled up in a ball having a nervous breakdown.  I’ve come a long way from the breakdowns over the past 21 cycles.  I think somewhere around cycle 18 or 19 I got my period and suddenly, I felt numb to it.  It’s not that I stopped caring that the pregnancy test was negative, I just think I was so exhausted that I didn’t have the energy for tears anymore.  I also think that I have come to expect the negative test so much that it no longer surprises me. Today marks our 21st unsuccessful cycle and I have decided once and for all that I am DONE.  I have reached a point that I am officially handing my situation over to God.  I love how people keep telling me throughout all of this to  “just stop trying” and it will happen.  Let me just clarify that this IS NOT what my intentions are here.  I’m sorry, but that’s not something you can just shut off.  There’s no switch to magically make me stop wanting a sibling for Triston.  It’s not that simple…you cannot help what is in your heart. Adam and I discussed taking our fertility issues to the next step, which for us would mean IVF (Invitro fertilization) but I am having a hard time with that due to my own religious/personal beliefs so I am still unsure of that being an option for us.  So for now I am going to stick with the “I am done” theory.  That’s right.  This month I will NOT be going for my cycle day 3 ultrasound and blood work, I will NOT begin taking  my femara on cycle days 3-7, I will NOT be taking my follistem shots on days 5, 7, and 9.  I will NOT return for another ultrasound on day 10 only to be told that “you’re not quite ready yet…come back in 2 days.”  This month I will not force my husband to do the walk of shame with his sample cup across the lab waiting room.  Nope.  This month I will be hormone free.  Aspirin free.  I will drink as much coffee as I want.  I will drink a glass of wine with dinner if I wish and I will have sex with my husband because WE want to.  (Sorry if too much info, but you read my disclaimer in the beginning…this is real.)  This is a bittersweet time for me.  I feel sad because I am in essence giving up, but I also feel free.  I feel at peace.  Something I have not felt in a LONG time.  I am sure the tears will come eventually, most likely at some random moment where someone mentions something totally and completely unrelated to the topic of babies or fertility, and most likely someplace completely inappropriate like at work or at the grocery store in the middle of the toilet paper section.  When that time comes I will not fight it.  I will allow myself to be sad, I will allow the tears to pour down my face,  I will allow myself to grieve and then…like I always do…I will move past it and be grateful for what I have.  I am TRULY blessed with a sweet, beautiful, healthy baby boy who is my LIFE and I have the most amazing man in the world by my side each step of the way.  How can I be anything but THANKFUL?

Three of the greatest stories ever told

I’ve been a Facebook user since 2009. So for the first time in about 6 years, I scrolled down to my earlier days and saw the “notes” I would randomly write. It just felt good to be able to write whatever. None of my facebook blogs were about the chaos I feel with in myself. They weren’t about my self-loathing. And they sure as hell weren’t about suicide, being bipolar, or the fear that my wife falling out of love with me. They were just innocent and sweet posts about my love for this life I have, the love I have for my friends and family. And posts written about the most important thing in my own personal universe, self-love. It is better to be self-loved than self-loathed. I was just simple lad taking every day as nothing more than just a brand new day. It’s wild to see how much things have changed in my life. I am lucky that I found these, it is making me cry. I don’t know or how Ive changed. It fucking sucks. I am a monster now. My kids could have had a really good and stress-free life, but I took that from them. I wasn’t happy in North Carolina, I am happy to be out, But the kids had it really good there. Sure, I started getting depressed towards at the end, but at least my kids had emotional security, and my wife was still in love with me. I wasn’t scary back then. I’d really hate to admit this, but perhaps California is to blame for the mayhem that I caused. I love it here so much, I never want to leave. But I’m damaged, I am terrified that my demons with follow me where I go. So after reading these facebook blogs, they broke my heart. They were so positive, and I really enjoyed reading them. And….. I’m inspired. How about that, my facebook from years ago have inspired me to be ME again. Below this monologue are the posts that I copied and pasted. Read them, then go back and read my current posts. The differences are ridiculous. OK, here we go:

BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES

Originally written on September 25, 2010

So I woke up this morning at 4 am, not really sure why. Usually I can fall back to sleep pretty fast, but for some reason I was wide awake. So I grabbed my pillow and went down stairs. Sometimes if I get comfortable enough I can fall back to sleep with the TV on. But I didn’t feel like watching TV, or playing modern warfare. Bonnie, Triston, and I just moved to the Charlotte area last week. We came from Greenville which is 4 hours northeast of us. So this is a new area for me. Bonnie went to school here so she already knows how awesome this place is. But I still need to find that charm here. At 4:45 I updated my iPod, grabbed my keys and headed out the door. I didn’t have a clue of where I was about to end up, I just felt like cracking the windows and listening to some music. At first I was just going to go around the corner to the 7-11 and grab a coffee then find a park or something to enjoy the misty dawn like I used to do when I was in Jersey. But then I remembered that I live in North Carolina and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any 7-11’s in this state. Well I really wanted coffee, and didn’t know where to get any other than at a gas station, which I wasn’t about to do. So I took the I-77 south ramp towards Charlotte. The very next exit had a waffle house, I thought “well, at least it’s a step up from gas station coffee”

GROWING UP

Originally written September 7, 2012

6:30pm, I cook dinner and feed it to my son. 7:00pm I get the water running and making sure it isn’t too hot before I give him a bath. 7:15 I dry him off, put a clean diaper on him, then his Elmo p.j.’s, then aveeno calming lotion so his skin doesn’t dry up. Then we head back into the bathroom where I sit him up on the sink so he’s about the same level as me, making it easy for me to brush his hair, then his teeth. 7:30 we head back to his room. I turn the big light off and the light on his fish tank on (yes, he has a pet fish). I lay him in his new bed and read him a book. Tonight I read him a couple of poems from this this book I bought the last time I was on the Asbury Park boardwalk. I put the book away, run my fingers through his hair, give him soft kisses on his forehead. Tell him to have sweet dreams and that I love him. Then close the door.

Holy shit! I’m a dad.

When and how did this happen to me?  I never really thought about it before, it just happened. Like my life just faded into fatherhood, if that makes sense.

Well, Tristion is in bed, and Bonnie is at work. Usually that means it’s time for me to lay and the couch and watch a little netflix. But tonight I feel like trying to remember my old myspace and photobucket usernames and passwords, 2 websites that I haven’t been on in a very, very long time. I just feel like bringing up old pictures and remembering all the crazy things I used to do. Well the pictures that touched me the most tonight were taken around 2004 to 2006. It seemed like a lifetime of experiences in only 2 years. 

Okay, let’s see if I can do this in a nut shell…

November ’04 Paul and I move to Ortley, drama with me and my girlfriend at the time, drama with him and his girlfriend. Paul and I are the greatest roommates ever. “Ahh, god damn girls.. fuck this, let’s get out of here.” Paul and I had that same conversation at least once a week. We’d walk to captain Hooks, I would drink my whiskey sours, he would drink his sprite, we’d put 10 bucks into the juke box just to play the entire Social D’s “white Light” album, then we’d walk back home at 2 in the morning, calling our girlfriends and telling them how sorry we are and how we love them. Blah blah, all that stupid crap. We’re so lame.

Another night while James was with us I remember the 3 of us climbing a latter to go on the roof of the surf club in the middle of the night WITH A RACHET SET, just to unscrew a wooden surf board that was bolted into a light post. I wonder what happend to that surf board anyway, I think we felt guilty about a year after we stole it, so we put it back under the surf clubs door with a note thumb tacked to it that read “sorry”. 

Oh, remember the Mario Party parties?

Or how about about our friday night summer parties? that little apartment can only hold so many people safely, but we definately took some risks by exceeding the maximum weight limit. some of us would be playing video games in one room, some of us would be playing guitar and having sing-a-longs in the other room, some of us would be on the deck lighting bottle rockets and shooting rocks from a sling shot into the surf club parking lot, setting off a chain of car alarms, and some of us had nice hair cuts (Darrens weird friends).

But of course, after every fun night came stupid ex-girlfriend drama. It got to the point where we knew the night would eventually end lame. 

What else? 

I don’t know, I’m starting to forget.

Let’s see…. more drama, more concerts, most booze, more nice hair cuts, more Mario Party, more music, a new girlfriend for the both of us, which got us both deeper into the drama, then back with our girlfriends.. 

Well as time went on, things started to change a little. Paul was really involved with his passion of playing drums, and I loved that about him, even though we eventually grew apart. 

3 life changing events happened to me during our final days in that house. It was the last place I would ever see my ex. The first place I would see my new girlfriend who eventually became my wife. And it was the last place I would ever say goodbye to my brother. 

I don’t have to talk about how cold and quiet and dim everything felt after we lost him, but for me personally, I didn’t know what was next. I had absolutely no fucking clue which direction my life was headed. 

After that very cold and awkward winter, it was spring. the leaves were coming back, the air was getting warmer, the bennies were back. It seemed like everything was right on schedule. The loud music was coming out of the surf club, more and more people started parking along 6th ave. The air was getting REALLY warm now, it’s summer again. My neighbor who lived beneath us moved upstairs with me, which was great because I really needed the company. And we still had a few parties, but it had a very different feel to it. 

Finally, by the end of the summer I was borderline fucking losing my mind. 

Then suddenly, one morning I woke up and it was fall, my favorite season. The air seemed cleaner, the leaves were changing color, and I saw the first pumpkin of the year 2 houses down from me. Then I realized, without even thinking about it first, ok, it’s time to move on. 

My fiance and I found a place in wonderful Lakewood Township. 

She was helping me pack everything up so we can get it out of Ortley. I handed her the last box and asked her to take it out and wait in the car for me, I’ll be out in a minute. So she did, and as for me. I remember standing in the living room looking at this empty house. And I fell to the floor and broke out in tears. To this day I’m still not sure what came over me, but it felt really, really good to let it out. And it was also the first time since he passed away, 7 months later that I cried. The day that I moved out. But then I got back up, took a deep breath, and man, I felt so relieved after that. Then I walked out the house, down the stairs to my Toyota Echo (best car ever) and drove away with my soon to be wife. And I never looked behind me because I knew that I was about to start something new. 

Fast forward a bunch a of years.. moved to lakewood, got married, left my job that I was at for almost 8 years, moved to North Carolina.

Wait! huh? me in North Carolina? I must say, never saw that one coming. 

But ok, I’m in NC, right on, it is what it was. Not a big deal because it’s only temporary. I mean Bonnie had just graduated from nursing school in Jersey City, and most places weren’t hiring new grads, but Pitt memorial hospital in Greenville NC wanted her. Great pay, sign on bonus, re-location pay, the whole 9. I wanted her to get her experience in. 

 Lived in Greenville for 2 years, we both hated it so much. But it’s still a special place for us. Triston was conceived on Halloween ’09 in Greenville, born on July 25th 2010 in Chapel Hill, and lived in Greenville the first 2 months of his life. Even the poor kid was unhappy in that town. 

Fast forward a little more. Found a little place 4 hours away on the other side of the state, a town called Cornelius. We dunno, never heard of it, but we new we wanted to be closer to charlotte, and you don’t get more closer to Charlotte then this. It’s a small town in between a beautiful 36 mile lake, and a major city. 

Now I still really want to move to to NJ, I think by now we all know that about me. But if we stay in NC, this is where I want to live. I love this town. 

Anyway, that isn’t that important. 

The reason I started writing this thing in the first place is to try to figure out at what point in my weird life did I go from a shy, nervous, weird kid who had hundreds of escort cards that i brought back from Vegas thumb tacked to my walls and ceiling all throughout the house as decor to a strong, brave, protective father who will do anything in my power to make sure my son doesn’t even feel the smallest amount of sadness. 

Not everybody knows how it feels to be in love with their child, only parents do. I mean before I became a father I knew that when I have a child of my own one day that I will love him with all my heart, everybody knows that. 

But when it happens to you, when you look at your child, when you play with them, feed them, bond with them, bath them, dress them, and observe them, that’s how you know, I mean REALLY know that this feeling is SOO ridiculous, SOO beautiful, and SOO real that you can’t stand it. 

It’s like when you hear someone say on tv or something like “i will take a bullet for you” or “I will cut my arm off for you” or just something over the top you think “yeah I get it, you love this person”. But no, when the word ‘love’ is literally not a big enough word, your natural instinct would be to dodge in front of a car or something for your child. 

Well anyway, Maybe Ortley Beach really was the end of a chapter.. It’s like driving away from that house the day I moved out everything else kinda faded away, and then faded back a few years later on a night like tonight as I’m telling this story while I’m rocking my son back to sleep because something scared him and woke him up. 

He’s going to have his own story to tell some day and his son will have a huge part in it as well, and I can’t wait to hear it. 

The Quiet things that no one ever knows

Originally written August 16 2013

It’s my last night here in NJ before I head back to reality. I’ve been here for a whole week and man, am I exhausted. I don’t think I had 5 minutes of downtime this entire week. I’m not complaining, but ouch! This is the first time since last Friday where I have a few minutes to myself, and I need this right now. This is my moment. Right now I am sitting at the edge of the old mantaloking bridge with nothing else than this crappy 7-11 cup of coffee and my thoughts.
I’ve always loved this area. This is the place where I went to high school, learned how to drive, listened to my first pennywise record, went to my first punk show, smoked my first joint (and my last), drank my first legal beer, the first time I was somebodys designated driver, had my first broken heart, and buried my best friend. This is the type of place where you have sand in your car 365 days a year. The combination of funnel cake, greasy french fries, and salt water air is the only thing you smell. The only place to watch a sunrise. On a clear night you can look at the stars from the beach, but the lights from the boardwalk behind you illuminate the sky making it easy to see the face of the person sitting next to you. That loud POP sound you hear when somebody squirts enough water into the clowns mouth. And the calm sound of the water under this old mantaloking bridge at 10:30 at night. 
This place is very special to me. And the insane thing is, is that it’s free. We didn’t choose to grow up here, we just did. It’s not like we grew up somewhere totally different, and for some reason decided to go to high school here, we just did. We are the lucky ones. Do we actually, like truly understand how lucky we are? We didn’t work hard to make this happen, it just did. This place that we all love and respect so much was fucking free. Free, free, free. It was a gift that was just handed over to us. Nothing this amazing is ever free, but this was. Yeah, it costs a fortune to live here, but money doesn’t exist right now. The feeling of love and happiness is filling our hearts, and that feeling that we all have in our hearts was just given to us asking for nothing in return. We are so lucky to be a part of something so great. 
I brought my son with me to NJ hoping to show him a wonderful time. Everything that I wanted to do with him from going to to beach, to sitting on Arnold ave with an ice cream cone, we did it all. I know he had a great time. I want my kids to love the jersey shore as much as I do. For all the right reasons. 
Tomorrow I go on a plane and back to Carolina. I’m not sure what the correct word is. I don’t want to say that I’m sad, because I’m not. 
I’ll be here again, probably not until late January, and I’ll have the newest addition to our family with me. And I’m sure at some point towards the end up the trip I’ll be sitting here like this at some place cold thinking about all the wintery things that I love about New Jersey. 
It’s kind of funny, 15 years ago, while driving over this bridge to go home after a long day at work at the boardwalk, did I ever see myself sitting here like this?

Woe is me

What does it feel like to have someone worry about you? Ask you how you’re doing once in a while? “You seem sad, what’s on your mind?”

Did I ever have that? Or has it just been so long that it feels to have always been non-existent? I will always have that from my parents. But honestly, I don’t need that type of support from my parents. They wouldn’t know how to help me with my current state of emotions.

This is the self-pity world I’ve created for myself.

My children will and always will be our main priority. Their sensitivity, emotions, health, and overall well-being is more important than anyone else in my life. They are young boys with big sensitive hearts and deserve every ounce of positive energy this universe has to offer. My wife has her support system. Her friends and coworkers are always there to check up on her, especially now that her husband is such an emotional wreck, they are there to see how she is doing. And that truly is wonderful that she has that, she needs that, she deserves that. The other people in her life are going to heaven for being there for her. As for me, I have me. Of course she loves me and supports me, that doesn’t go unrecognized. But to really look into my soul every now and then, that is something that I wish I had here. I receive constant unconditional love from my children. That type of love cannot even be explained. The way a child looks at their mom and dad like we have all the answers to the universe is such an inspiring and magical feeling, and I am blessed for it. But they are 5 and 8 years old. They’re too young and naive to even begin to have a clue to what has been going on with their daddy. There will eventually come a day when they find out that I don’t have all the answers. That I am not the superhero they believe me to be. That I am human just like them. Children this age do not know what bipolar is. That being said, I need another adult in my life to check up on me once in a while. Not my biased parents who will blame everyone for my struggles while denying that mental-illness is a thing. I love them both, but they can’t help me. As a matter of fact, although they mean well and their heart may be in the right place, they would just cause me to have even more anxiety. Back when all I would think about was death and what it would look like to everyone if I had expired my own life, how would it effect my parents? It would absolutely devastate them to the point of absolute inner chaos. It would devastate them to the point of impossibilities. They wouldn’t be able to handle it. In my fantasies, I imagined myself adding to the note, emphasizing that they do not need to worry about me. Do not feel sorry about not being here to protect me. I am a grown man, my adolescence came and went a long time ago. My passing should be easier to process. You’ve protected me when I needed protection. You’ve passed the torch over to me. You’ve seen me grown into a man and you did a really great job. Now you no longer need to worry. You will be sad, but don’t be scared. It’s ok. Really.

That was how my sick fantasies would play out in my head. But I feel the need to clarify that I am NOT suicidal. I know I’m painting this horrific picture for you, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. I don’t need this to be passed over to my therapist or the cops. I do not need an unnecessary 5150. I am safe and the people around me are safe.

All I’m saying is that I am in desperate need to be someone’s concern. If I had that type of support system, to be checked up on, perhaps I would have less self-loathing days and more optimism, like the way I used to be. I used to be awesome. I had a million friends. People would often go to me so I can uplift their spirit. I used to be a fucking rockstar. Where the hell did that guy go? The guy with the calm eyes and peaceful smile who knew all the right answers. I truly did have the key to the universe. I am crying out for recognition, nothing more, nothing less. I need to be reminded that I matter.

“The stars can’t shine without darkness”

Music saves

When they first announced the lineup to Kaaboo I thought “meh, it isn’t really that good”. But I wanted to go anyway simply because I love going to festivals. That’s it. Kaaboo is something that every San Diegan goes to, and I wanted to be a part of that this year. This would be the third Kaaboo that’s happened since we first moved to San Diego in July of 2017. It’s been a San Diego thing for years. but I’ve never heard of it until moving out here. I wanted to go my first year out here, I think the headliners to all three days were the Chili Peppers, Weezer, and Tom Petty. I’ve never seen Tom Petty before, and the fact that he was playing on the beach 20 minutes away from my house was pretty awesome. I ended up not going because as I mentioned in my previous post titled “the rest of my life”, I don’t have any friends here in SD. My friends all live 3,000 miles away, I’ll get to them a little later. So I don’t have any friends, my wife is my only friend here. At the time, she couldn’t go to Kaaboo with me because we had just moved to San Diego 2 months prior, and she had to work that weekend anyway. So I skipped it. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if Tom Petty hadn’t died a month later. Oh well, guess I’ll never get to seem him live.

I don’t remember who played last years lineup other than the Foo Fighters, but they were enough to get me to go. I love that band. But same thing, she had to work and I don’t have friends. I’ve gone to plenty of shows in smaller venues by myself many times, that doesn’t bother me. But an outdoor festival isn’t something I do by myself. So I skipped it yet again. I was driving Uber that weekend, and man was it a tease to be driving everyone to the festival.

So I was determined to go this year no matter what, before they even announced the lineup. All I wanted was for my wife to go with me. I miss doing things like this with her. Once they announced the lineup, I was somewhat disappointed, but wanted to go anyway. After much persuasion, I was finally able to get her to agree to do this with me.

Kaaboo is like a mini Coachella in the sense that it’s they type of festival where the girls who attend start planning out their outfits 2 weeks in advance, they take selfies of themselves in the mirror days before the event to see which pose they like the best, and the guys who attend workout extra hard at the gym so the tank tops they wear look really good on them. Of course I’m being an asshole right now, but that’s essentially the image of the Kaaboo attendees.

She told me that this would be her weekend to work, but she can probably switch with someone. I said ok, but EVERYONE she works with is going to need off for this concert. It’ll be a tough one.

That was Kaaboo, I want to talk about now about a different festival lineup that was announced weeks after we bought passes for stupid Kaaboo. A festival that makes so much more sense for me to go to. A festival where outfits are not planned out weeks in advance. A festival where you would get made fun of so bad if you walked in with a selfie-stick. A festival with the type of music that not only gave me an identity 2 decades ago, but saved my life on mutual occasions everytime life felt like it was about to come crashing down. Riot Fest ’19. Riot Fest has always been good, but the 2019 lineup is something special. Something really special.

My friends, my only friends, my TRUE friends who’ve I had in my life since 1996, my friends who still live on the east coast, my friends who I miss a little more everyday. THEY are going to this three day festival held at Douglas Park in Chicago. When I saw this lineup, happening on the SAME weekend as Kaaboo by the way, uplifted my already fucked depression. I then looked at stupid Kaaboo and punched myself in the balls really really hard. I was already committed to Kaaboo, or was I? I go home and I tell my wife about Riot Fest, hoping she would have a solution. She didn’t at first. She stated the obvious, we’re already committed to Kaaboo, we have tickets for this thing. I said that there is nothing we can’t sell as far as th biggest event in San Diego. So we posted the tickets on sale, and not even 6 hours later we had someone interested in the tickets.

Problem sovled 👍 We’re going to Riot Fest!

Fights to Chicago are under $200, which is crazy cheap. We know a ton of people who are going, so we’re going to rent a big Airbnb house. It’ll be such an amazing time. But what really made this all better for me was that Bonnie wanted to go, and she actually seemed to be really excited about it too.

With everything that I’ve been going through lately. All of the struggles I’ve been facing, THIS is what I need more than anything right now. This type of music saved me in my past. Well I’ve been facing the most challenging time in my entire life. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll understand what I mean by that. And the best part is that my old New Jersey friends are going. Now this is all cool and dandy, but I was soooo excited about my wife being excited about going. She normally doesn’t care about these things as much as I do, but the fact that she was looking forward to it is just amazing. I needed to do this with her. I need to be reminded of all the good times we used to have. This music, this scene, THIS is what is real. I need her to do this with me. I need to have a spiritual experience by being in the middle of a giant field with 30,000 punk rock fans with her by my side. This was going to be a huge step in my progress.

This morning when she came in at 8:30 from working all night she said “I have bad news, I can’t go to riot fest”. The feeling of disappointment I had was numbing.

As I figured, there are about 6 of her coworkers going to Kaaboo, so there is no way she can get off. The people she works with all seem like fun people, so I immediately I started thinking that IF she was off, she would probably have a better time with them at Kaaboo anyway since she’s pretty much a local now, and locals go to Kaaboo? But truthfully, she would go with me to Chicago if she could, but she can’t and it is what it is at this point. She has to work and that is super important.

I don’t know if she said this to try and make me feel better about her not being able to go, but she said that she doesn’t care about music as much as I do. She said that I would most likely get annoyed because she would be bored and not care about seeing the Decendents or Avail with me. I told her that it isn’t so much about the music, it’s more about being there in the moment with me. An escape. A vacation. A weekend with some of our old friends. Something different for a change.

She wants me to go on without her, but I can’t. I just don’t want to go now. I lost interest. I don’t want to do anything now. Depression works in mysterious ways LOL. I really needed this weekend with her. I know she feels bad because of how much this meant to me, but there is nothing we can do about it at this point. Her mom even agreed to come watch the kids for us that weekend, but I don’t want her to come now. I’ll stay with the kids so Bonnie can go to work.

Just to clarify, I am not upset with her or her work. I am just disappointed at the way the situation turned out. It is what it is. I was just longing for something real and meaningful since I have been so fucking goddamn lost with myself in this world.

The reason I went insane

The moment you meet the person who will be the one to share such a huge part of your life with all seems like far away dream. It begins with that new taste of romance that consists of being young and naive, partying, cuddling, sex, love notes left on your car, and sleeping till noon. Sure, the others guys you work with, the dudes who have at least 20 years on you will try to mess with your head by telling you not to get married, don’t fall for it… they change… you’ll eventually resent each other… one of you will cheat on the other, its just a matter of who will cheat first… she’ll leave you if she meets someone else who can offer you more than you could…….. This is what I had to put up with for the entire year I was engaged. Don’t get me wrong, the guys I worked with were good people and I enjoyed working with them. And I knew they were just busting my balls because I was a just a “kid” in my mid-20’s. What did I know? Once you know that this is it, that this is the one, you envision your entire future. You see yourself laying on a grassy field with your significant other and children staring up at the clouds. You see yourself and the career you’ve chosen. You see yourself having family bbq’s in the backyard of the house you own, the one with the white picket fence. You see yourself having all the answers when your kids come running to you with questions about life, about the entire universe….

This is a post about my wife, Bonnie. She is going to kill me for posting these pictures, but I don’t care. At 39, she is still as beautiful as the day I met her almost 14 years ago and I love to brag. I am proud to be her husband.

The reality is this.. life is still incredible, but we get so caught up in this overwhelming tornado of stress, finances, homework, runny noses, car issues, bad nights at work, the kids fighting with each other, having dinner on the table, looking for last minute babysitters so you don’t lose your job, my evil mother in law telling me I’m wrong, HER evil mother in law telling her SHE’S wrong, EVERYONE’S evil mother in law putting their noses where they don’t belong. And just to be clear, I am not putting my mother in law down, I’m just saying this out of love. Because lets face it, almost every mother in law out there gets in the middle of things that should ONLY concern you and your partner. My mom is the perfect example. I love her, she is my mom and I will never stop loving her, but because she doesn’t always mind her business, it can sometimes lead to a little tension in the house. And that causes stress, perhaps even a little resentment towards one another. With my experience in this matter, at the end of the day I need to come to a decision: side with my mom, or side with my wife. Well, I am no mamas boy, so of course I’m going to side with my life partner. But thats not to say that I won’t play devils advocate and listen to both sides, I’m fair. But still, this is my family and no-one matters more than my family. WE get to make the final decision with how to move forward with our lives, not them…. where was I going with this? I forgot… Oh, what I was really trying to say is that these are prime examples of how things start to slow down in a marriage. But the important thing is to not lose site of it. If you start putting every about of attention on your everyday struggles, of course you’re going to put that romance on the top shelf, where it will be easily forgotten about. You need to take care of those struggles, but at the same time keep at least one toe on that one thing that made this all possible, your love for one another. If you had never gotten together with your partner like this…

then your body wouldn’t have looked like this…

and you definitely wouldn’t have smiled as hard as this..

and you wouldn’t have pictures to show off how your little creations are adapting to this new universe…

I don’t care if your the toughest, most unbreakable man with the thickest skin on the planet. If you love your family, you will break down and become a pathetic shriveled down lost little soul just by the thought of after being together as best friends, soul mates, life partners for the past 14 years was about to end. Everything that the two of you have built over time, every kiss, every laugh, every tear, every life made, every diagnosis, every friend we lost together, everything that the two of us had been through together flashes before your eyes like the way they say that your life flashes before your eyes right before you die. It’s so easy to lose it, and so hard to hang on. The moment that I lost my mind was the night that I had a gut wrenching suspicion that my wife was cheating on me. It was painful to think that she can have the energy to not even betray me, but betray our children like that. I was torturing myself by putting the pieces to the puzzle together one by one. And I had it buried so deep inside of me that everything was making sense. I lost my mind. I couldn’t take it. I was so sad. I was crushed. I was in denial. There was NO way she would or could do anything like this to me. But what about that one time she said she was going out to…… or, she said she is leaving for work, but where is she really going? It was fucked up for me to believe those voices in my head, but as desperately hard I tried, with every amount of energy I had left in my soul to ignore those demons, I just couldn’t. The voices were just too loud. I was wrong for believing it. I just had this painful idea that she is a grown woman capable of anything, and some things can easily be brought to the grave with her that I will never find out about. I want to skip all that hospital shit in between and go straight to the bottom line. I know my wife had never been with another man. I have faith that I am the only person she has been with during these last 14 years. Has there been any sort of attraction between her and another man? maybe. But thats alright, she’s human. You can’t control being attracted to someone, but you CAN control your behavior, and thats good enough for me.

But I think I’ve finally figured out why I am in such a state of paranoia, I’ve finally figured out the main trigger to my depression..

It goes like this:

We had moved 3,000 miles away from the east coast to the west coast while not having a clue of what expect here. We were strangers to a new unfamiliar territory, but we were in it together. Adapting to this new world we chose to make for ourselves. We were on the same level me and her. But as time started moving along, so did she. She landed a solid new career and I couldn’t be more stoked for her. She is making friends. She is moving forward, as she should be doing. But she’s moving so fast that I can’t even keep up with her. She has already adapted. She is a California girl. And it seems like she no longer needs me. She finally found the world that she didn’t even known she’s been looking for. She no longer needs me. In my sad little brain, I feel like I am nothing more than an annoying little thing hooked around her ankle, preventing her from going out with friends or coworkers on the weekend, and I’m just following her around because I don’t have any friends or a social circle, so I’m mooching off of her. I’m holding her back. These new demons are even more controlling than the last demons. They are convincing me that I am not the person she is supposed to be with, and that idea fucking kills me. And I’m trying so hard to talk about it with her, knowing I’m wrong, but just try and let her know the reasons for my unexpected tears. And thats another thing, when I do try and open up to her, I cry. I fucking cry. I sound like such a baby, a much much older baby, an emotionally fucked up wreck. The past month has been so amazing, and if I ruin everything again because of how emotionally stable I am, I’ll just hate myself that much more. I am going to ask her to read this because its a lot easier than dealing with confrontation.

She loves getting tattooed, and I love watching her get tattooed…

and when it comes to Halloween, we don’t fuck around…

and she can hang with the rockstars…

As I reflect on the past several months and try to make sense of it all, I strongly believe that the only thing I am guilty of is loving my wife. I love my family. Yes, we have as many struggles as the next family, but I am so proud of all of our accomplishments. But I’ve fought so, so, so ridiculously hard to keep my family together. I’ve fought so hard that I ended up in the hospital because I was too paranoid of losing her forever. I lost my mind. As I said earlier, I saw the past 14 years of my life flash before my eyes when it seemed like this marriage was about to come to an end. The idea of loving someone more than they’ll ever love you is impossible. This is my family, and I don’t plan on losing it. We belong together, all of us.

My favorite thing about her is when she smiles. She smiles when she is in the moment. She smiles when she is enjoying life at that exact moment. When I notice her smile, I just take a few steps back and watch her forget about her stress and worries. She’s in the moment, and that’s a very important moment because she isn’t alive yesterday, she isn’t alive tomorrow, she is alive in this moment. And if I can walk over and put my arm around her, pulling her closer to me, I have a chance.

I know she loves me, she always has and always will. But the effort goes both ways to make a marriage work. We are in this world together. We built this world. We own our world. It is ours.

For better or worse, till death do us part…..

People who are suicidal don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop

This was an article that I saw on Facebook, I did not write this myself. But this is a very interesting take on Suicide. Please read…..

I know this is an extremely sensitive topic, but it is one that needs to be discussed.

Because I know for a fact that at one point in our lives, we have been suicidal or have known someone struggling with these thoughts. One in five people struggle with mental health issues. That means for every room you enter with hesitancy and your head turned downward, believing you are the only one with issues, one in five of those people are going through the exact same thing.

For someone who has never experienced suicidal thoughts, the thought of wanting to die in itself can seem ludicrous. The sun is shining, there is a chance for another day, you are in love, the breakfast you had that morning was delicious. The thought of dying seems way too far-fetched. Something left for a time far away in the future. What more could you ask for?

But for those who struggle with debilitating mental illnesses, such as depression, the demon of them all, suicidality is a strong risk. Let me make this clear. Depression can kill you. You need your brain to eat a meal that tantalizes your taste buds. You need your brain to have the guts to socialize with people at school or work. You need your brain to feel the warm air on a sunny day and feel relief. You need your brain to kiss and feel the warmth of the kiss all throughout your body.

But a depressed mind often feels none of this. You are constantly in a state of isolation in your mind. Enjoyment is no longer something you crave. Simple tasks seem like a chore and your bed is your safe haven. Sleep calls you constantly, just so you can get a short escape.

When we think of someone who is suicidal, or just the term in itself, we shy away from even talking about it. It frightens us. The realness of it seems too much to swallow and we just sweep it right under the rug. We do this because suicide is viewed for the finality of it all. It happens, and we are left wondering…

“She was beautiful.” “He was smart.” “She was talented.” “He excelled in sports.”

But none of that can hinder the mind from becoming unwell.

It doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside. The brain is a blessing, but yet can also be a wicked thing when it comes to mental health. I deal with depression on a day-to-day basis, have been through a dramatic relapse, and I can tell you from my experience, suicidal people do not truly want to die, but see it as the only option to end the pain they are in.

To the suicidal mind, you feel trapped. You feel suffocated by the state of your psyche and there seems like there is no way out. Day in and day out, you deal with mental agony and anguish that both frightens you and pushes you at the same time. You feel like death is the only way out, but at the same time, the human in you desperately wants to fight to cling on to hope. To cling on to life.

It’s human nature to want to survive, to live, to thrive. But mental illness can get to a point where you seem isolated.

Mental illness can be a battle. A battle of the mind, a battle that many are unfortunate to experience. But I can tell you that death is the ultimate, last resort for someone who feels suicidal. They might feel like they’ve exhausted all efforts and everything that they try has failed to provide relief. They feel like there are walls in their mind that have locked them deep behind and there is no way out.

Most importantly, however, suicidal people do not want to die. They want to live so desperately, but they can’t seem to find a way to. They feel like they have exhausted all their options and the pain they are experiencing is well beyond them.

Many will say that people who are suicidal are looking for attention, or they are cowardly for feeling the way that they do. But depression is real and you shouldn’t be judged for going through something that is incredibly scary and lonely. People who experience suicidal thoughts do not need anyone criticizing them or belittling them for having the thoughts they do.

If you’ve been there or are there right now, give yourself credit for the tremendous strength you have as a human being for making it thus far. Commend yourself for surviving even though inside you want to just crumble. Congratulate yourself for making it through this hour without acting on your thoughts.

I know you want to live. I want you to live too so you can inspire others with your story. I want you to be able to be a voice for everyone who has experienced these thoughts and are still alive to tell the tale. I want you to grow through all of this and know that even though you are hurting and in a place that seems absolutely beyond you, you can get through it. You are here for a reason and you are stronger because of all you have been through.

You are a survivor.

Use your story to propel yourself further as an individual. Use your story to remind yourself of your strength and all that you have survived thus far. You should be commended for making it this far, to this very moment, and for all the progress you have made.

I want you to know your beating heart is the hope you have been looking for, and death is not the only option. Look at where you are right now, look at all the people who have provided you with hope thus far. I know, it is not easy to believe death is not the only option. Trust me, I am where you have been or are. But your life is worth living because you are still here trying to survive, you are still here getting stronger each and every day, getting better each and every day, even if you don’t realize it.

I’m still here with you, so don’t give up just yet.

I’m taking them back, I’m taking them all back

Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wishful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Since the day that I accepted myself to be somewhat of a hopeless romantic, I stopped hiding it and became the sensitive type. I didn’t have many girlfriends through high school, I could have, but didn’t know how to approach/talk to the girls that supposedly thought I was “hot”. I was always told that I was good looking, so I would take the compliment and run with it. It’s weird, when I would get a compliment like that, it would boost my confidence and self-esteem, but not to the point of growing a pair and actually talking to them.

I’ve always tried to fit the stereotype of the typical dude who isn’t afraid of anything and hides his sensitivity, but I just made myself look stupid. It didn’t work for me and so I decided to just embrace my shyness by being myself, not pretending to be some idiot asshole jock douchebag. I was far opposite of being a jock anyway. I didn’t get along with them, they would bully me and some of my friends because we would go to school with red or blue hair and have patches of the bands we loved on our backpack. I remember this one time we were walking down the hall in the morning heading to homeroom and some little shit football player smacked the the books out of my friends hand and said “cool hair, faggot”. And their bitch cheerleader girlfriends were all laughing with them. He stood his ground though. My buddy went up to him and pushed him against the locker and was ready to fight the kid right there. One of the teachers saw the whole thing, right from when he slammed the books out of his hand, ran over to separate the two. They both went to the office, and my friend got suspended for a week while the jock dick got off free. I guess my point I’m trying to make here is how in the fuck could a be attracted to a girl like that who is attracted to bro’s like that?

So lets embrace being a loser. I had a ton of friends and we all had each other. They weren’t as socially awkward as me, but they loved me and felt confident when I was with them. We are still family to this day, 22 years later.

Yes, I was a loser and fucking damn proud of it too. That was how I became a hopeless romantic. Instead of trying to impress a girl every time I would walk past them, I would just smile at them innocently, then just keep walking without looking back. That is just one of many examples of how my new personality came about. I felt like me. This is me. It felt so amazing to just finally be myself. I no longer had to worry about being a loser because I no longer cared. I was surrounded by really good people and eventually I would be introduced to other people, then other people, then other people. If I was introduced to a girl who I thought was really cute and extraordinary cool, I wouldn’t try to hide my shyness, and the types of girls I was into would usually think that it’s adorable how shy I am. And then I became “mysterious”, and THAT was how I would start hanging out with them one on one. We wouldn’t go on a cliche “date” like going to a restaurant or something, we didn’t want to be predictable. Instead, we would just drive around town late at night with our 7-11 coffee and listening to the music that we identified ourselves with in a world we loved, spend an our or so on the beach at 1am, if it was raining we would take our shoes off and run around a golf course at a country club we snuck into in the middle of the night, or sneak into a hotel swimming pool in the middle of the night. We were romantics going on adventures while the rest of New Jersey was sleeping, or while those jock assholes were busy date raping the cheerleaders after killing a 24 pack of miller light. It was an amazing time. I loved being the sensitive guy. The types of girls I was attracted to were apparently attracted to sensitive hopeless romantic guys like me. It just worked. It was raw, authentic, and true. We had big hearts and life was really happening.

On nights that we couldn’t be together, I would get off of work late at night and drive past her house when I knew she was asleep and write a short and simple note to leave under the windshield wiper of her car just so she can have something to smile about when she would leave the house the next day. The note would say something like “hi” or something. Short and sweet.

And that was basically me in my early to mid-20’s (years after high school, obviously).

The older we get, the more we change as people. We mature, adapt, and keep up with life. I have always been a very nostalgic person. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to be at a different time in our lives while things are going really great in the present. I am 38 now, have two children, and married to the same women for 11 years. I love my wife dearly, but as I said, life goes on and so do we. With the drama our marriage has been facing lately, and the everyday struggles that most families eventually face, I have been very overwhelmed and have been doing a lot of reflecting of my fast and trying to remember that guy who I once was. I miss that guy. As I said, I have always been extremely nostalgic. But I wouldn’t change a thing about my life today in 2019. However, if I could just grab the feeling, emotions, and how we would view the world, and mash that up with the life we have right now and still be mature and keep up with our responsibilities, I believe that we could be a much stronger married couple with sparks in our hearts and butterflies in our bellies. Life would be much, much easier and full of wonder again.

Just the other night as Bonnie was getting ready for work, she had asked me to pack her lunch so she can save some time. I put 2 slices of bread and an avocado in her lunch bag, with a little note that said “hi, I love you. Have a good night 🙂”. I thought it would be a nice little surprise for her while she was on break in the middle of the night at the hospital.

She didn’t see the note.

This morning she grabbed that same lunchbox out of the refrigerator to empty it out. As it turns out, she had a very busy and crazy night in the ER with no time for a break. She saw the note this morning as I was doing the dishes, she said “aww… when did you write this?? aww.. thank you”. And for some reason, my eyes started to rain. I just got super sensitive and had to escape to the other room so my my wife and kids wouldn’t see me cry. I don’t know why I was crying. I was really happy that she loved my note. It was weird. So after this morning, and after seeing and hearing her reaction, I then suddenly felt inspired to write about it.

Be you, be curious, be adventurous, be sensitive, be vulnerable, and be inspired.

It was the first snow of the season
i can almost see you breathin
in the middle of that empty street

Sometimes i still see myself
in that lonesome bedroom
playin my guitar
and singing songs of hope
for a better future

life is
only
as good as the memories we make
and i’m taking back what belongs to me
polaroids of classrooms unattended
these relics of remembrance
are just like shipwrecks
only theyre gone faster
than the smell after it rains

last night while everyone was sleepin
i drove through my old neighborhood
and resurrected memories from ashes

we said that we would never fit in
we were really just like them
does rebellion ever make a difference

life is
only
as good as the memories we make
and im taking back what belongs to me
polaroids of classrooms unattended
these relics of remembrance
are just like shipwrecks
only theyre gone faster
than the smell after it rains

So long, astoria
i found a map to buried treasure
and even if we come home empty handed
we’ll still have our stories
of battle scars, pirate ships and wounded hearts,
broken bones, and all the best of friendships

and when this hourglass
has filtered out
its final grain of sand
i raise my glass to the memories we had
this is my wish
im takin back
im takin them all back

⚡️ The Ataris ⚡️

Advocate for yourself

This past February I was hospitalized and put on a 72 hour hold. That was when I knew that I have to get my bipolar under control. While I was on the hold, I met with my psychiatrist for the first time. He wasn’t ready to discharge me at first, which was scary because I didn’t want to be there in the first place. I mean I am grateful that the damage that I may have caused didn’t happen and nothing at a permanent outcome, but he said that he will discharge me if I would agree to this partial hospitalization program (PHP). I was thinking “I will agree to do ANYTHING if it means that I can get out of “jail”, have my phone back, and actually eat my breakfast/lunch/dinner will actual human beings.

Well, in order to get into the program, I have to sign something that says I will commit to not touching marijuana or alcohol while in this type of treatment. I’ve never a regular marijuana user, I just picked it up a few months before my hospitalization. It wasn’t a part of me and I didn’t rely on it. But I signed it just to get out of my hold.

I have now been in this program for 4 months. I went from going 5 days a week, 6 hours a day to the IOP (which is what I am in now) 3 days a week, 3 hours a day. Every.single.day they have me in the drugs and alcohol group. I have asked time and time again to PLEASE put me in one of the mood groups. They keep telling me that I’m supposed to be in this group because of my marijuana use. Well today, 2 weeks before my discharge, I finally exploded and said “I do not, have never, and will never have a drug or alcohol problem. THAT is NOT why I am here. I am here because I WANTED TO FUCKING DIE. I belong one of cognitive therapy groups. Every day on our 15 minute break I see your patients outside on the sidewalk vaping, right before they go into THEIR mood group high. How dare you think I have a drug problem. You are not respecting my needs. I’m graduating from this program in 2 weeks, if I end up back upstairs (inpatient) at anytime, that is YOUR fuck up”. It’s so frustrating.

These therapists, they are amazing. And they really are, I’m not being sarcastic one bit. BUT they have it all figured out, don’t they? They always know what’s best for the patient even if the patient doesn’t have a single trace of THC in their urine, yes, they test once a week.

I won’t deny for a minute that this is not a good program, because it is. It’s an amazing program and I really am absorbing the coping skills that I need, when I am NOT in the drugs and alcohol treatment room just staring at a fucking wall, unable to relate to what anyone is saying.

I guess the purpose of this post is to vent, but also to finally say that you should ALWAYS take your therapists advice, but NEVER be afraid to question it or stand up for yourself if you feel like something isn’t working. Just like medication. If you feel that your meds aren’t working, discuss it with your psychiatrist. Don’t ever just stop taking it, but definitely have that conversation.

Advocate for yourself, even if no one else will. Don’t ever just “accept” the things that you may not feel is right.

But ALWAYS seek help no matter what.

I fucked up

So, there’s this…Riot Fest 2019. The lineup for every single riot fest has always been epic. Living in NJ during the first few years, I was never able to make it out to Chicago for this. A part of it was money, sure, but money has never really stopped me from doing anything like this any other time. Then once I moved to North Carolina, had two kids, and bought a house, money was certainly an issue now. I’ve been to just one riot fest, RF 2016 when the misfits with Danzig headlined. It was an amazing 3 days spent some of the best people who I’ve ever known from New Jersey years after I lost touch with most of them. We caught up, drank a few beers, and watched some of the greatest bands that were responsible for making us the people we are today.

I haven’t been back since 2016, again, traveling isn’t easy when you’re a father of two.

The 2019 Riot Fest lineup was announced today and holy shit. HOLY SHIT!!! Jawbreaker, Bikini Kill, Less Than Jake, Descendents, AVAIL!! Those 5 are enough to get me out there this September. Now you add those 5 to the rest. So insane.

I live in San Diego now. It’s so amazing here. Unlike when I lived in Charlotte North Carolina, and more like when I lived on the Jersey Shore and went to shows in Philly, NYC, and Asbury Park, San Diego has some really great shows here. I’ve always loved outdoor festivals. And between San Diego and LA, we are covered. But although I grew up listening to primarily punk rock and ska, I do keep my mind pretty open when it comes to music. Its still cool to switch it up a bit. Kaaboo in Del Mar is a thing that happens every year. Two years ago Tom Petty headlined, I didn’t go. Last year the Foo Fighters headlined, I didn’t go. So this year I was able to cough up the $300 for a weekend pass. Actually, I coughed up $600 because I begged and begged my wife to go with me just so I don’t look like a lost dickhead wandering the festival asking strangers if they want to be my friend…

If I had known…. ohhhhh if only I had fucking known that this years Riot Fest was happening the same weekend as this buyers remorse bullshit

I would have fucked off with this bullshit lineup and gone to Riot Fest.

I’d much rather hang with 1,000’s of non-pretty beautiful people who have a passion of punk rock in their souls than 1,000’s of bros who live at the gym, then flex as their walking down the bar street. Or the 1,000’s of girls who plan their entire wardrobe two weeks in advance for that shit. It’s like the people who go to Coachella, but just not as many.

So yeah, I fucked up.

Fuck.

Fucking goddamn shit.