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 ❤️☠️

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