In class the other day we read some flash fiction, or short-shorts. It’s basically super short stories. I am practicing.
We met, she talked, I listened. We danced, we hugged, we sat in silence. It was three years before we realized that there was never anything there to begin with. Two people who needed to be held. One could listen, one could talk. There was never anything there to begin with. People are walking outside. The sky is cloudy and their clothes are bright. They know their destination. They are expected somewhere. Wanted somewhere. They are hurrying to get there. I am here, alone in silence. Wondering where to go. Wondering if I should go. Wondering if I will ever have my turn. What do I have to hold on to? There was never anything here to being with.
The other day I heard six people say some really profound stuff. I am going to tell you two of the things I heard. The first thing was said by someone with a lot of clean time and he said it very beautifully and I can’t remember his exact words. It was something along the lines of, when your gratitude exceeds your expectations, you’re going to have a good day. That is so true and something I’d like to remember.
The second thing was said by another man with even more clean time. Something like a hundred years clean, but it may have been more like thirty. He spoke with so much confidence and told his amazing story. He began his talk by telling the group that we are living the dream. Then he said, “you know how we’re living the dream? Because we remember how bad the nightmare was”. It was something like that. It was great.
Something that came up a lot that day was the truth of NA that an addict, any addict, can lose the desire to use and find a new to live. I was reminded that I am powerless over other people’s recovery despite my continuous desire to help (more like force) other people to see what I see and commit to recovery.
That’s all I have, thanks for letting me share.
I was browsing Reddit this morning, like I do every morning, and I found some great advice that a fellow Redditor gave to someone who was struggling. I asked him if I could post it here and he said yes, so here are four simple rules he laid out:
Rule numero uno – There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. You feel me? When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behaviour is keeping the vortex goin, that’s what you’re used to. Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget.
La deuxieme regle – yeah i learnt french. its a canadian thing. please excuse the lack of accent graves, but lemme get into rule number 2. BE GRATEFUL TO THE 3 YOU’S. Uh what? 3 me’s? That sounds like mumbo jumbo bullshit. News flash, there are three you’s homeslice. There’s the past you, the present you, and the future you. If you wanna love someone and have someone love you back, you gotta learn to love yourself, and the 3 you’s are the key. Be GRATEFUL to the past you for the positive things you’ve done. And do favours for the future you like you would for your best bro. Feeling like shit today? Stop a second, think of a good decision you made yesterday. Salad and tuna instead of Big Mac? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Was yesterday a nonzero day because you wrote 200 words (hey, that’s all you could muster)? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Saved up some coin over time to buy that sweet thing you wanted? THANK YOU. Second part of the 3 me’s is you gotta do your future self a favour, just like you would for your best fucking friend (no best friend? you do now. You got 2. It’s future and past you). Tired as hell and can’t get off reddit/videogames/interwebs? fuck you present self, this one’s for future me, i’m gonna rock out p90x Ab Ripper X for 17 minutes. I’m doing this one for future me. Alarm clock goes off and bed is too comfy? fuck you present self, this one’s for my best friend, the future me. I’m up and going for a 5 km run (or 25 meter run, it’s gotta be non zero). MAKE SURE YOU THANK YOUR OLD SELF for rocking out at the end of every.single.thing. that makes your life better. The cycle of doing something for someone else (future you) and thanking someone for the good in your life (past you) is key to building gratitude and productivity. Do not doubt me. Over time you should spread the gratitude to others who help you on your path.
Rule number 3- FORGIVE YOURSELF. I mean it. Maybe you got all the know-how, money, ability, strength and talent to do whatever is you wanna do. But lets say you still didn’t do it. Now you’re giving yourself shit for not doing what you need to, to be who you want to. Heads up champion, being disappointed in yourself causes you to be less productive. Tried your best to have a nonzero day yesterday and it failed? so what. I forgive you previous self. I forgive you. But today? Today is a nonzero masterpiece to the best of my ability for future self. This one’s for you future homes. Forgiveness man, use it. I forgive you. Say it out loud.
Last rule. Rule number 4, is the easiest and it’s three words. exercise and books. that’s it. Pretty standard advice but when you exercise daily you actually get smarter. when you exercise you get high from endorphins (thanks body). when you exercise you clear your mind. when you exercise you are doing your future self a huge favour. Exercise is a leg on a three legged stool. Feel me? As for books, almost every fucking thing we’ve all ever thought of, or felt, or gone through, or wanted, or wanted to know how to do, or whatever, has been figured out by someone else. Get some books max. Post to reddit about not caring about yourself? Good first step! (nonzero day, thanks younger me for typing it out) You know what else you could do? Read 7 habits of highly successful people. Read “emotional intelligence”. Read “From good to great”. Read “thinking fast and slow”. Read books that will help you understand. Read the bodyweight fitness reddit and incorporate it into your workouts. (how’s them pullups coming?) Reading is the fucking warp whistle from Super Mario 3. It gets you to the next level that much faster.
That’s about it man. There’s so much more when it comes to how to turn nonzero days into hugely nonzero days, but that’s not your mission right now. Your mission is nonzero and forgiveness and favours. You got 36 essays due in 24 minutes and its impossible to pull off? Your past self let you down big time, but hey… I forgive you. Do as much as you can in those 24 minutes and then move on.
Thanks u/ryans01 from Canada!
I’ll post more later, right now I am working on my application to officially be a part of the school of education this spring and I am editing some short stories to submit for publication. Some of my recent short stories are pretty dark and weird but I’ll post the nice ones here when they are done.
ps, here’s another cool thing I found on Reddit today. This guy filmed two seconds of each day, everyday, for ten months:
I have been listening to this song on repeat today. I don’t know if it has anything to do with what I am about to write. It’s called Hopelessness Blues, by Fleet Foxes.
On Saturday, I celebrated 500 days clean, a number I have been looking forward to since I celebrated a year. I had planned to have some kind of fun party that day. However, once again life did the opposite of what I wanted it to do and I ended up at a very different kind of party than what I expected.
I flew to Colorado for the weekend to be with friends while we celebrated the life of our dear friend Trevor. I have never experienced such speechlessness in my life. There is no right thing to say. I spent a lot of time trying to think of something to say that would fix everything, something that would make me and all my friends feel better.
Even though we all know that there was nothing we could have done, and it is no one’s fault that this happened, I think it is possible that we all feel some regret about things we didn’t say to Trev. I certainly do. I’ve had this blog since last August, and never shared it with anyone other than family and people already in recovery because I think I get a little sentimental, ramble-y, and weird sometimes. I told Trev about the hospital I went to, but I didn’t follow up with him.
My depression shows up in my inability to function. Trev was so ambitious I thought he was years, not weeks, older than me. It always seemed like he was doing well, and when I moved away I didn’t call enough. I spent about five months determined to move back to Colorado, and then I detached and made my new life in Austin and lost touch with my friends there, a little bit on purpose. The last time we talked, and Trevor told me about the attempt he had just had (almost one year ago), he seemed awake. He seemed like he was here, like he was ready and willing to live. We talked, hugged, and I told him about fighting the tough fight and that he could do it too. He seemed like he was going to make it. I think that I was living in this fairy tale world, believing that since I got better, everybody else would, too.
I worry that Trevor didn’t know how much I loved him. And there is nothing we can do about it? This sucks. Selfishly, I wish this story was something I was hearing about in a meeting, not something I had to experience first hand. Maybe as time goes by I will gain a better understanding and perspective on all of this. What I do know is that I must be militant in my own recovery and in my communication with those I worry about. It has been said before that depression is like diabetes- it doesn’t have to take over your life, but it requires attention and maintenance or else it can be fatal.
I have certainly learned things and will continue to learn things in going through all of this, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I don’t want to have a good day because it makes me feel far away from Trevor. Thank goodness for my therapist and my loving support system here, but I still feel kind of lonely.
I am so glad that I saw my friends again, I was able to remember how much they mean to me. Before I moved away from Boulder for good, I was dealing with a lot of inner turmoil that I didn’t exactly speak openly about, and that inner turmoil tinted every memory that I have of my two years there. This weekend, I was able to look back and remember the good times that we had together. The silliness, the dancing, the late nights, and tickle-fights. I love those people and I always will.
I just finished typing all of that and needed a dance break, so I put on the following song and danced like a fool around my apartment. (Something that might make you laugh: sometimes I put on this song and close my eyes and pretend like I am dancing on a stage and moving people to tears with my dance moves. If you have ever seen me dance, you know the low probability of that happening.)
One month ago today, Trevor died. I want to know the thoughts he was having. I want to know how he felt. I want to know a lot of things about his last 24 hours, and I will never get to.
One month ago today, something could have been done, right? There could have been something. He could have heard something or seen something that would have changed his mind, right? Maybe not.
I know that today, there is nothing that can be done to save Trevor. I know that I am only causing myself more heartbreak thinking of the things that could have saved his life. It’s too late. I have been repeating the serenity prayer in my head constantly since I found out about Trevor’s death. It only works some of the time.
I know that today, Trevor lives on in the smiles of the people who love him. I am reminded to have compassion and empathy for everyone I meet. Each of us is on our own journey, and together we can struggle, we can help each other up, and we can enjoy the good days. There are so many good days. There is so much beauty in this scary, confusing, gift that is life.
The true meaning of my life is derived from the connections I make with the humans around me. Each of us just trying to figure it out. I hope to see and be seen. If I had never shown my true self to Trevor, I never would have had the blessing of knowing him.
It is too late to save Trevor. And there are so many like him who will not get whatever it is they need in time. These things will break my heart as long as they are true, but they will also remind me to live with kindness on my sleeve and love in my heart.