After Anti V’Day

[Originally written on this day in 2006]

There are random bruises and scratches on my back that were discovered while showering this morning.  There was a stiffness in my left arm that felt as though it was a result of being stuck in one position during sleep.

The past couple of days have been full of decadence and high-powered emotions, which has me on a natural high and wanting nothing more than to be with him.  Beyond the superficial details there has always been something more that has kept me loyal to this one person when so many other people have drifted in and out of my life.  The question is not why I continue supporting this friendship, but rather why I deserve his undying devotion when he could likely have anyone he wanted.  Some would suggest that I am being used yet I don’t see what he would be getting out of the friendship when he has given me so much more than I can put into words.  He might be a thief and a junkie and other things that don’t usually fall into the category of qualities you look for in a best friend, but I wouldn’t feel like much of one myself if I held any of that against him.

If I trust him so much and believe the beautiful words that have dripped from his lips, I should have been swimming in happiness and other good feelings.  Instead the back of my throat was seized by fear and I was helplessly trapped in the bed as my whole body trembled.  A few deep, slow breaths eased my mind momentarily so that I could regain control, though a self-addressed “What the fuck?” had me sitting up in bed realizing just how alone I was.

This is what you wanted, I had to remind myself, but I have also lived in small spaces with another person for the past five years and sort of got used to having someone else there.  My room is at the end of a hall and I hear more outside noises than anything else, so I laid there curled up in the middle of my bed with face half-buried in a pillow on account it sort of smelled like him.  Or maybe that was my skin.

He called me this afternoon, which is something I am still getting used to considering how we have communicated in the past, but I didn’t mention this little incident since I was lost in his voice from the moment he said hello.  We talked about some of the things that had happened recently, or I should say he wanted to let me know how much he had enjoyed it and when we could do it again.  Not sure which part he was referring to, I coyly inquired if he could elaborate on what he meant and was met with much laughter.

“You need me to spell it out for you?” he teased.

“Not particularly, but I wouldn’t mind hearing what you say it either.”

“Damn girl, you’re getting me all hot ‘n’ bothered over here.”

This time I laughed and savored a smile.  “Good to know.”

“You drive me crazy, Angel and I don’t know why, but I have a burning desire for you that just won’t quit.  Now I’m not good at this sentimental shit so pardon me for being so blunt.”  There was an awkward pause and I thought that maybe we had been disconnected.  “Darling, I love you for so many reasons I’d lose my voice trying to list them all, so I’ll just go with the fact you make my life better by just being in it and I am so thankful to have had a friend like you for so many years.”

There was silence on my end as I wiped back tears and tried to formulate a response.

“Everything alright over there?”

“Yes,” I croaked.

“I wish you were here with me,” he said with a sigh, “doesn’t feel right without you.”

He had the power to change that at any time throughout the course of our relationship and I dealt with whatever choice he made even if there were things I wanted to ask and refrained from doing so since I appreciated the time we did get to spend together.  Having him say it to me while I’m finally living on my own felt different – it wasn’t something to think about ‘some day’ anymore, but rather a present situation neither of us seemed to want to fully address.  Where would we go?  What would we do?  How would we take care of ourselves?  Would we eventually get tired of each other?  All this and more had plagued my mind for years but in those minutes we were connected on the phone, not a single one of these thoughts entered my mind when I next spoke.

“Nothing makes me feel as good as you do, Aaron,” I confessed, finding courage somewhere despite the fact my voice wavered a bit.

There was a grunt in reply and some other muffled sounds that had me curious of what was happening on his end.  “Listen, I’m getting short on time here but I love you Angel and will talk to you again soon.”

For about an hour I laid in bed repeating those words in my head and losing myself to sordid fantasies, wondering how long it would take him to fulfill that promise.

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Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination

[Originally written on this date in 2006]

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Jon thanking me for a great time last weekend, which totally made me blush since he was the one who had treated me and all.  His communication skills are improving even if he doesn’t write much and has a habit of slipping into Carny Speak when bringing up certain topics.  Being able to have such an open relationship now is doing wonderful things to him, particularly on the paranoia front, as he doesn’t request to sit facing the door and isn’t exhibiting the usual behavior that I have grown accustomed to.

He did promise that drugs were something to be left in the past, particularly since the emotions that were coursing through him were much more enjoyable.  Recovering from addiction is a process and I understand it’s something he needs to do at his own pace, but I can see that he is really making an effort and that tells me he is serious about the commitment to get clean.  That’s not to say he is going to be completely straight-edge or anything, as we still smoke when we are together and he is capable of drinking responsibly.  It just means that we won’t be drag racing and I don’t have to scream down the highway at a random a.m. hour on account he shot too much dope and wanted to make sure I was there with him in case he died.  Nights like that should be buried in the past as we continue to build a future together, and even though I’m aware that either sounds highly cliche or like I’m putting my faith in a pipe dream, it’s something I know we have both wanted for a very long time.

Relocating has only strengthened our friendship and when he talks about being with me on a permanent basis, I know he means every word from the bottom of his heart.  When he says the ones that used to feel like they could only be whispered through the roar of the ocean, I can hear the passion behind them that used to be repressed for reasons that no longer matter.  Being close to him, physically speaking, is when I feel safest, as though nothing else in the world matters and we are the only two people on this planet.  Parting is not something that causes me heartache since I can talk to him whenever I want now, looking forward to when we are together again.

While it is certainly far too early for predictions, since I know better than to excitedly ramble about all the things I want to do and set myself up for disappointment, I have noticed a marked difference in the direction our relationship is taking.  That term has been used casually here and there, but lately it has taken on a much deeper meaning that I understand how serious things are becoming.  Do not want to get carried away with fantasies and all, but he is on my mind every day and I fall into thoughts of what it would be like if we were together all the time.

Need to search for affordable source of body jewelry, as I have had the urge to downsize a lot of what I wear for a long time now.  Since this desire still remains, I believe it is something I should do, but there is no Unimax and I am unsure of where to even start looking for a place like it.  Guess that means I have some on-line searching to do after practicing for my upcoming show at Axis Lounge.

New Beginnings

[Originally written on this date in 2006]

How great is it to be living in Philly?  Oh, I could go on. There are so many interesting places to go and such sights to see; lots of parks, a few museums and plenty of other goodies.  The food I have eaten over the past few days was fantastic beyond mere words, though being treated to the meals may have contributed to their deliciousness.

My room rocks and currently I am in the process of painting it; I have a kick ass queen size mattress all to myself with brand new bedding -sheets, pillow cases and a luxurious top blanket – that was a gift from a special someone who said they thought I could use something nice for my new place.  The red blanket is very soft and keeps me warm at night so I adore it very much and think about him when I am wrapped up in it.  There is some great furniture in the basement that I am making use of, and a shelving unit in the garage that will be very useful.  The best part is that I will still have plenty of space once these items are put into the room, and the closet is organized just the way it should be.  Also have been put in charge of this enormous plant that just had its first bloom yesterday.

Oh, and what season is this?  The nights might be cold, and sure it rained today, but the weather has been much nicer than it should be for the beginning of February.  Certainly hoping for an early Spring and have a hunch it will get quite colorful around the neighborhood.

Finally relaxing after a week of organized chaos that included spending three hours packing all of my stuff, most of which was still in storage bins.  However, everything still needed to be labeled so I would know exactly what was inside which container.  Then it was either shoved into my car or put out on the deck, and I am kind of proud of how much I was able to get into the Oldsmobile.  Must have been all that experience packing trailers and the possum belly during carnival travel, though I am also quite thankful for having such a spacious vehicle.  All of that was hauled down to Philly on Friday and I was very eager to get it all upstairs into my room.

Since then I have been painting, and the remainder of my things arrived on Sunday, which saved me from having to make an awkward return trip.  The painting is now drying [even though I keep telling myself I’m going to do some touch-ups], my bed is where it belongs and I started arranging some items on the shelves to add a personal touch to the room.  There is a set of lovely wooden cabinets I am using for storage, and the shelving unit still has space available if I need it.

Yesterday I went in search of jobs and that did not go well since I did not find anyone that was hiring.  It doesn’t help that I really need a key to the house so I can go out when my roommates aren’t here without worrying the door is unlocked.

On Saturday I was surprised with a phone call from my best friend who wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate the move.  Getting ready felt like a ritual again, my stomach bubbling with nerves while a smile danced on my face.  Being picked up right outside the house as opposed to down the block or at a pre-arranged meeting spot made the evening feel like a proper date.  Jon was on his best behavior and refreshingly sober – ok, we smoked a joint before we ate but no other substances were consumed.  The point is that it was the first of many times we would be able to sit down with one another and carve out a new experience in the concrete tomb of our friendship.  He took me to a quaint Indian restaurant where we were surrounded by red and gold walls, candle-lit tables and soft atmospheric music. The food was a bit spicy but otherwise fully enjoyed, as was the usual course of conversation that covered topics we usually found ourselves discussing.

Being so used to going our separate ways after such an amazing experience, I was caught off guard when he politely asked if I wanted to accompany him home.  It shouldn’t have made me so nervous, seeing as how we had been intimate plenty of times and our relationship was blooming much like springtime flowers.  Yet finding myself in his bed is still something I don’t feel the need to discuss in detail, but that doesn’t take away from the moments we spend together.

Sunday afternoon we returned to Philly and stopped in at a cafe with a bohemian vibe and mismatched vintage dining wear that I found rather charming.  The smile on his face was infectious and I almost felt overwhelmed by how sincerely happy we both were.  Something about Philly had us relaxed; maybe it was the lack of paranoia or wondering if I was going to be lectured for having a good time with my best friend.  In fact, I was becoming far more comfortable with being seen with him in public and could tell the feeling was mutual.

We took a walk down South Street and it was so natural it’s like we had been doing for year, hands casually holding one another while we pointed out various things to each other.  Plenty of people glanced in our direction, but it was no longer due to be the most visibly modified people in view.  It just so happened we made a visually appealing couple, even with the huge height difference, and this was acknowledged in a positive manner through random compliments from strangers.  He laughed at one point and mentioned something about how it was flattering, but having such a lovely lady by his side certainly helped.  The romantic gestures didn’t seem to end and public display of affection was something he certainly wasn’t shy about, perhaps even pushing a little too far in some instances.  Not that I wasn’t enjoying it or sort of enticing such behavior, but he does things that drive me wild and I seem to loose all control over inhibitions when I’m around him.

Yea, life in Philly is good so far and I couldn’t be happier that I get to share it with the person I love.

Making Chanages

[Originally written 1.23.06]

No matter what particular subject may be giving me the “winter blues”, there is something that comes along to give me just a little bit of hope.

Let’s take a short trip back in time.  The other afternoon, I decided to go out for a nice refreshing walk along the D&R, as fresh air coupled with exercise seems to clear my head of unwanted noise and focus my thoughts into a cohesive plan.  It also happens to be a nice place for me to have a smoke without anyone bothering me.  Instead of being bombarded by too much stress and anxiety, suddenly your ears are being tuned to the chirps and warbles of the birds fluttering through trees devoid of their leaves, the subtle breeze rattling branches and leaving a slight chill on your skin.  Hours passed by yet I didn’t feel them being wasted, and as I was making the return trip to where I had parked, everything seemed to straighten itself out.

Today, and for the rest of the week, I have a number of things to take care of in order to tie up all the loose ends, so to speak.  Friday I am checking out a room that is available for immediate occupancy – the price is right, and from the way things sound, it is very spacious.  According to the ad there is also some furniture included and plenty of extras that make it seem too good to be true.  There will need to be a discussion regarding how financially possible it would be to obtain this room, which brings me back to the beginning of this post.  While I may not exactly want to move to Philly, things happen for a reason and this feels like the opportunity to make a change in my life that is greatly needed.  Realizing this means moving into an area where everything will be new, but that is a huge part of the reason I am not hesitant about relocating from the place I have called home for my entire life.

Ah yes, I knew there was something that kept telling me it would be a good idea to get away not only from this area but the state in general.  Though I have been enjoying the company of someone who means the world to me, I also see what sort of price that comes with and for the first time in our sordid friendship, I understand what he was trying to protect me from for all these years.  However, I’m not a kid any more or some gullible teen that can be easily bullied, though I am at an age where I won’t tolerate threats against me or my family.

[Originally written 1.24.06]

It appears I am now going down to Philly in just a few hours to check out the room and talk with the home owners, as they want to make sure I’m a good person, can take care of things and pay my rent on time.  My Financial Advisor is aware of the situation, and funds are in fact available upon needing them.  If all goes well, I should be able to re-locate within the next week and though I am restraining from expressing too much excitement, I will say that I am so fucking ready to move on.

My mind is filled with many things, such as what I am going to do when I actually settle into Philly so that I can sustain living there and all.  Having just been to South Street with my best friend, it’s difficult not to entertain fantasies of having nights like that on a regular basis.  No one would know us there and in certain environments we would barely stand out, which I think I would prefer over being treated like a fucking zoo exhibit.  We could always escape to the Shore or the Pines when we wanted as both are a just a drive away, and there seem to be plenty of things to do in this so-called City of Brotherly Love that I am sure we could enjoy doing together.

See, there it is, lovesick wishful thinking that will get me caught up in intense emotions when I should be concerned with taking care of boring responsibilities so that I can make the transition from one state to another.  After all the years we have known one another, I don’t want to feel guilty about such expressions either, since I spent a significant amount of time dealing with other people’s issues with my relationship.  Which is pretty ridiculous since I don’t see the problem with forming a long-term friendship with someone.  We have survived through some very dark moments and I never find myself doubting that he is always going to be there for me, a huge sense of comfort I don’t find anywhere else.

[Originally written 1.25.06]

Who says you can’t leave Jersey?  Oh, having been here my whole life, quite frankly I never thought I would be making plans to do just that.

Driving down to Philly yesterday to meet with the people that own the house went really well, as they are pretty decent and seemed happy to have me there.  The room is incredibly spacious and I was told that I could paint it if desired; I can also decorate it anyway that I want.  Over the next few days I am going to be packing my stuff and squeeze as much of it into my car as possible to haul down on Friday.  The rest can be brought down later on I suppose since I don’t know anyone that would want to help me move, but I was assured no harm would come to it in the meantime.

The location is great as it is within walking distance to a train, which will save me a lot on gas for when I want to travel into Center City, and it also apparently can take me to the art museum, the zoo, the Mutter Museum [which I’ve wanted to check out for ages now] and Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a really old prison that you can walk through.  Suffice to say there are going to be plenty of activities to look forward to, and I know just the partner in crime that will enjoy doing them with me.

There are too many things I am going to miss about New Jersey, but as harsh as it sounds my family and most importantly my own safety is more important than fond memories.  This is the best thing for me, and perhaps some day I will be able to return – I really doubt my presence is going to be missed and I am actually excited for a change of scenery.

Did not  sleep all that well last night, and I am only awake now due to writing a letter to my best friend about how glad I am to be moving.  Figured it was best to get that out to him while I could since I am going to be without internet for a while, but that is why I have a cell phone even if he’s not a fan of using it to communicate.

Now I am just rambling and need to get stuff done instead.

Superstition Condition

[Originally written on 1.15.06]

The second date I had with Jon in the last week was this past Friday, as it happened to be the thirteenth and he was in the mood to go out.  Here would be a good time to note that our relationship is developing nicely – he has called me at least once a week since I spent a few nights with him at the Shore earlier this month, and will send me little notes through e-mail to give me boosts of confidence when I need it, as the hostility and tension seem to be rising around me.  It’s not worth getting into, but there is definitely resentment of the fact I am living here though not a part of the family, yet the only person qualified to make the call of whether or not that’s alright hasn’t complained once.

Getting away from all of that to spend time with Jon reminds me I need to keep looking for a place to live and worry about getting a job after I move.  We are definitely not at the point where living together has even been brought up, as I suspect he is not ready for such a level of commitment yet and that’s fine.  There is plenty of confidence things will progress as they are meant to, and I need to appreciate that we have gotten to this stage.

The ride down to Philly was rather pleasant, mostly due to the fact there was minimal traffic. What, were people too damn paranoid to go out on the 13th, with a full moon and B-movie perfect fog drenching the atmosphere?  Having someone you trust behind the wheel tends to put you at ease though, as does the joint you smoke as the metal machine you’re riding in screams across the highway.

Our destination for the evening was Abilene’s, a club I read was supposed to be having some sort of Friday the 13th dance party.  The venue was quite small and packed with people, but we agreed to attempt to make the most of it.  Well, no one was really dancing and the party aspect was certainly lacking, though the people reminded me of those who attended a certain Jersey club I used to frequent.  Complete with half dressed bodies awkwardly gyrating on stages around a mostly empty dance floor while cretins drooled nearby.

Neither of us were really interested in the scene, so we hit the bar for pints of beer accompanied by shots of whiskey.  Perched on the tall stools, we had a decent view of our surroundings and it reminded me of the early days of our relationship, where we would get shitfaced and talk trash on everyone for kicks.  The intent was never cruel, more like a childish game we engaged in for some cheap laughs at other people’s expense, but we thought it was harmless fun and were rarely serious about the things we said.  Jon would put on a stoic expression and adjust the rings on his fingers while scanning the rubes before nodding to one, reading them as the southern accent got heavier with each shot of whiskey he had.  How he could gather all of this insight just by observing behaviors for a few minutes was part of the charm to the feat, and a showman certainly did not reveal the secrets to one of his greatest skills, even though I know better than to ask.  Will certainly take credit for my part in encouraging him, holding back laughter despite my sides aching and wanting to burst.

A few hours later, we noticed that more and more people were filling the venue, which had been crammed from the beginning due to its small size.  Seeing as how we had consumed quite a few drinks, I suggested we wander somewhere slightly less crowded, if that was even possible in Philly on a Friday night.  The temperature had certainly dropped, though Jon kept me close as we walked South Street and made our way to Tattooed Mom’s.  We were relieved to find only a handful of people inside, which made it possible to actually get a drink from the bar without having to take up residence there.  He bought us another round and then led me upstairs where we proceeded to hog the roller coaster car.  This was something I had wanted to do since he brought me here for my birthday, and there we were, pints of beer in hand with his arm around me, his position slightly awkward to accomadate the extra length of his legs.

Old school punk music swirled into the conversations around us, and though we chatted from time to time about random things, the drinks we continued to consume were having an effect on our words as they became less comprehensible.  He politely excused himself to the bathroom for a moment, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s not gone for more than a minute before these two dudes randomly approach me.  Whatever they were trying to say wasn’t registering, so I just stared at them while watching Jon approach them from behind.  In the sweetest southern drawl he could spill from drunk lips, he politely requested that they ceased harassment of his lady and removed their prescence from sight lest they find themselves in a painful way.  Their faces suddenly turned rather pale as they stammered an apology and nearly tripped over each other while shuffling away.

Moments later this guy comes over to us and asks if there was any trouble, to which Jon replied everything was handled, his composure changing completely as he offered a friendly smile.  The stranger’s name is Chris and he came all the way up from fucking Maryland to check out South Street on account he heard there was some kind of alternative scene there.  He hands us a demo CD and engages in conversation with Jon about his band and other general music stuff.  Seeing him comfortable enough to let his guard down and chat in such a casual manner was rather refreshing, and I could tell that he really was trying to make this whole thing work.

Leaving the boys alone for a moment, I made my own stop in the bathroom and felt compelled to tag the wall AARON + ANGEL = ANARCHY!!! in large Sharpie letters, which now makes two places I have left this mark in Philly.

When I returned they were making last call; Jon and Chris had now been joined by his girlfriend and fellow band mate.  He asks if it would be possible to drive them to their hotel over on 12th, confessing they are pretty wasted and didn’t want to try and navigate a city they were unfamiliar with.  Jon actually smiled and said he’d be more than happy to help them out, and the two were quite grateful for the entire ride.  Showing random acts of kindness towards others is something he has always done, as he spent many years on the streets homeless and struggling for survival, where even the smallest gesture of spare change or a sandwich could keep him from killing himself that day.  They thanked us profusely when we arrived at the hotel, and Chris even tried to give Jon some money for the trouble, but he would have none of that and insisted it was purely a friendly favor.

After ensuring they got into the lobby safely, he drives over to a diner though I express being too tired to eat.  He chuckles while kissing my forehead and stating that he needs coffee so he doesn’t crash on the way home, though he purchases it in several travel cups in order to avoid sitting inside.  That’s the last thing I remember since I passed out shortly after departing Philly, though whether that was due to the alcohol or the fact I tend to fall asleep during long car rides [especially at night] is hard to say.  When I woke up, Jon was carrying me into his bedroom so I figured that superstitions aside, we had made it safely and enjoyed another wonderful evening together.

Philadelphia Sideshow Revue

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

There are a handful of times I have been to Philadelphia in my life – faint memories of going to the zoo and the Franklin Institute, that $3 five-minute tour I took with my sister when we were trying to get to a show in Camden, and a couple of years ago when I saw Mindless Self Indulgence at Transit with Jon.

How I found out there was  going to be a sideshow performance in Philly is unknown,  but it had been cancelled for some reason and I was definitely disappointed.  Browsing the web, I discovered that it happened to be rescheduled and immediately became charged with excitement, so much so that I wound up walking down the street and slipping a note under Shane’s door telling him all about it.  He called the other day asking tons of questions about what it was and where we would be going, stating it had been years since he visited the city.

Today he showed up with his hair combed, dressed in black jeans and a red button down shirt, a smile on his face and small paper bag in his hand.  Driving down to Philly wasn’t really that bad, and at one point I seemed to remember passing through there on a trip once, though I had no idea where I was going yet certain buildings were familiar to me.  Arrived at Whiskey Dix in less than an hour with plenty of time to kill before the show was going to begin, so we sat in the parking lot drinking Captain Morgan’s Tattoo, smoking a blunt and splitting a bag of coke.  The latter was not needed but I indulged anyway, so swept up in the decadence of partying and displaying affections that I almost forgot we were in public.

Inside my inebriated state caused me to be highly amused by the deer head on the wall that talked and moved, though the antler chandeliers decorated with Mardi Gras type beads and random bras was far less classy.  There was some terrible band on stage and we grew bored with the low-quality entertainment rather quickly, which is quite a  task considering how good we felt at the moment.  Shane brings me into the bathroom where we do lines and other things in a stall.

When the show finally begins, Red Stuart takes the stage and performs the Human Blockhead with a nail and the microphone.  That was followed by him swallowing multiple swords, glass walking and then up a ladder of swords.  Shane was absolutely beside himself and it was obvious he had never seen anything like this before.  Being able to share the experience with him put a huge smile on my face, as did the fact he had his arm around me and would give anyone a dirty look if they stared at me for too long.

Nippulini, the man with the World’s Strongest Nipples was next, and he had a fantastic lifting routine.  In fact, he was hanging objects from his nipples that I would not even try to lift with my ears.  They increased in size and weight, building up to an impressive 75 lb anvil he picked up with no problem.  Then he did a flesh pull with another guy which really got Shane excited, and I could see myself doing something like that in the future.

We were treated to the Seven Foot Man Eating Chicken, flown in all the way from the darkest recess of Mexico.  Red came back for some flesh stapling, which is where people take a provided staple gun and use it to attach dollars to the human body.  The higher the denomination, the stranger the space available, and it was only a few minutes before almost the entire top half of him was covered in money.  After the show, we got ourselves backstage and talked to Nippulini, where I brought up the topic of possibly guest-starring in future shows.  Both he and Red were really friendly, appreciating the fact that I was so eager, had respect for those who were in the biz long before me, and had such a strong desire to keep the long-standing tradition alive.

Outside we chatted with random people, passing out cards and suggesting they should come to New Jersey if they wanted to see more sideshow.  It was getting late and Shane had work the next day, so we said our good-byes and went on our way.  Having consumed only intoxicating substances, our stomachs were growling and he made a request for food, so I stopped at a diner where we sat in the back to make goo-goo eyes at each other.  Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but he definitely was smiling any time our eyes met while we filled up on mozzarella sticks and fries.

About the time we were pretty much finished, Shane had flung a bug off him and an idea hatched. Quickly, and without anyone seeing him, he scooped the insect off the floor and dropped it into my food. [Don’t worry, I was done.]  He called over the waitress and pointed out the invading guest.  The manager came over, apologized, and took my meal off the bill.  Partial credit for the scam goes to the fact I have been reading Snake Oil  by Jim Rose, gleaning much inspiration from the chapters despite the warning not to try them.  Spending time with Shane has led to much rambling about such things and he is not the type of person to be shy about fleecing a few rubes.  Besides, it had been awhile since I was amused by flexing Carny skills in public, and Shane certainly delivered in the absence of…dang it, I’m not going to say his name.

On the way back we had ourselves a nice little chat where he told me about getting fired from the job he had, which I offered my condolence for as I know how hard it is to even get one in the first place.  Then again, I understand the reasoning behind it as shady as it might be; that is the risk you take when you decide to live your life a certain way.  Shane casually mentions he might have to split sometime soon.  Apparently it is something he has to do for himself, and I respect that, though we were just getting to know each other better.

We spent the night without talking but saying everything we wanted to with plenty of physical contact. Even though there is a part of me that loves him dearly, I also knew from the beginning that all this could be is a fantastic fling.  My heart and soul belong to someone else anyway, so continuing to pursue the relationship would only hurt us both.

Knowing we are going to have to part still stings.

Totaled Teeth

There are moments in life that stick in the mind for a variety of reasons, perhaps to serve us in the future to prevent making certain choices due to a bad experience.  Often these things come up when sitting with friends and sharing stories, animated voices and gesturing hands assisting in recreating scenes while laughter fills the room.  Being someone who has listen to more tales than I ever thought I would, it seems strange that I have my own assortment of experiences which may not have been pleasant at the time they occurred.  The fact that I have conquered so many obstacles and found strength in myself instead of relying on others is something I am quite proud of, though I am reminded that I also had amazing people who helped me when I was in need.

Four years [and three days] ago I came to terms with the fact that I had a problem with alcohol, which was something I had access to and consumed at a young age.  It was a social crutch to drown out anxiety that often led to making a fool of myself, getting sick, hangovers and making empty promises to have more control.  Aware that there were relatives who also had issues with alcohol abuse, I joked that drinking was in my genes yet mostly did it at home or a local club.  When I was hanging out with Jon, there was not as much pressure to do what everyone else was doing, and he preferred whiskey or moonshine, both of which I accepted when I wanted to.  The point is that for several years I consumed alcohol for a number of reasons; sometimes I got sick and others I had the time of my life.

Moving to Philadelphia in 2006, I was relieved to be on my own yet hit with that realization in a way which was not expected.  Having limited funds, I decided that snacks and packs of beer were a good way to unwind after long days of fighting through traffic to seek out jobs or go to interviews.  Then came the stress of moving after finally feeling as though I had just settled in, followed by that evening with Jon where we parted ways with me knowing he was madly in love with me but had to deal with his own issues before he could seriously pursue a relationship.  During his absence I had a a really traumatic experience that was treated with drinking, room mates that enjoyed and encouraged partying, and generally had a hard time dealing with overwhelming depression.  One night I had a bad time with a bottle of vodka which brought me to realize I had to face reality instead of hiding in an alcohol induced stupor.  That was the plan anyway and it went alright for a couple of weeks until I get the news that Jon was dead.

While it could be easy for me to use that as a scapegoat for any of the substances that were consumed while I grieved, that does not mean I openly talk about it because I recognize that it was addictive behavior.  Over the next few years I continued to drink on a frequent basis but did not have many incidents of being sick and figured that I found the right level of moderation.  After ending a relationship that should have never been, I moved into a house with a friend and wanted to straighten things out so I could support myself.  Eventually I started dating said friend and drinking became a regular activity, though I tried to regulate my intake and often watched the person I loved become highly intoxicated, which did not always go well.  The point is that alcohol was a presence it seemed difficult to ignore, but I still felt as though I was using it and other substances to escape from things I did not want to deal with.

On August 20, 2008, I had been watching the news and they declared the day was ranked among the Top Ten Most Beautiful Days of the Century, which compelled me to get dressed up with the purpose of wandering the city to enjoy just being outside.  It was also to avoid being around people who were going to be drinking a bottle of whiskey, which I was currently avoiding since there had been night where I had too much and got really sick.  Conditions were perfect: blue sky, no humidity, low temperature and a gentle breeze.  A friend of mine was working at a bar on South Street and invited me to come have a drink on her.  The walk from my house was awesome – people populated every sidewalk table outside restaurants.  As soon as I get to the bar my friend gives me a margarita, we talk for a while and make fun of Kinky Quizzo.

Noted here that I saw someone I recognized but decided against engaging in conversation for personal reasons.  At that point a bunch of people who work at one of the local tattoo shops come in, I was in the middle of my second drink and then they are telling me I have to do shots with them.  Since I did not want to mix liquors, I decide that tequila is an acceptable shot despite having never really drank it much before.  Everyone is chatting, laughing, drinking and having a great time.  Three shots and three margaritas later I am really enjoying myself but also ready to go, so I get up from the bar and head into the bathroom.  One of the tattoo artists offers to call me a cab when I return, which was unexpected but appreciated.  In the cab I am completely lucid and recall most of the ride, though do not remember getting out.  Then I am in my house, climb up the stairs and pass out.

Wake up from a bizarre dream I was in the middle of having and then fumble my way to the bathroom.  Something compels me to look in the mirror, and that was when I realized my teeth were broken.  After a moment of being sick in the toilet, I notice my left knee is slightly scraped.  Went back to the mirror to survey the dental damage – there is a corner of the right central incisor missing, the bottom of the left central and lateral incisors is completely gone, nerves aware of being exposed.  There is a tiny bit of blood on my upper lip and a bruise on my cheek under my left eye.  Then I see that my lip ring is gone, and I figured that I fell somewhere, causing the captive ring to hit my teeth.  There is a bead shape chip in one tooth to support the theory, but I am not concerned with how it happened because I was in so much pain.

My friend stopped by later that day with my phone because it had accidentally been left at the bar, and said the people who bought me shots apologized for getting me so drunk.  She mentions checking on me and said I seemed okay, though I was not sure if she had seen me fall.  Having to explain the whole thing to my father was quite awkward because he could not understand what happened and I had a piece of my memory missing. The fact remained that my teeth were broken and I could barely eat, so I made an appointment with a local dentist and began the process of getting them repaired.  Over the next few weeks, I had a root canal, my teeth ground down, temporary teeth that made me feel really self conscious and finally three crowns replaced the damaged ones.  It was quite expensive since I had no insurance and I went through a tremendous amount of pain.

The photo above was taken a few days after the first part of the root canal, because I felt that I needed to be able to smile and laugh about the situation to prevent myself from getting caught up in depression.  Along with the details I have shared, it serves as a reminder of how a situation can get out of hand, even wen one does not have such an intention.  Though I became aware of how dangerous alcohol could be, I continued to drink but imposed restrictions to prevent any further incidents.  Obviously it has been a long struggle, though I can say that I no longer have a desire to consume alcohol.  Hanging out at clubs or bars was never really my thing, and when I am at home I can have one or two drinks and be satisfied.  Do I consider myself recovered?  In a sense yes, because I do not depend on booze to have a good time and generally find those who drink in excess to be highly entertaining.  That is not a role I want to fill, and while I will likely never be completely sober, at least I have control over my intake of substances but do not allow them to rule me.