Monday, October 22

Old Letters

It's funny how when you first move into a place it always seems so big.

Even when I was moving out of a house that I used to be married in to a bachelor pad on my own, I remember being surprised when I first saw the place at just how much room it seemed like I was getting to myself. Corridors and corners -- so many blank canvas that it seemed I'd never find enough things to fill it with on my own.

But then when you eventually move out, everything seems really small.

Even now as I frantically pack boxes and bind them with tape, I'm surprised at how little my current place feels to me now. Compared to that bachelor pad it just seemed huge when I first found it. 

Which was good, because as soon as you came back home we were going to share it.

Perhaps it's emblematic of a lot of things, the way I envisioned the two of us there. It's not like we both decided on a place, or planned anything about it together. I drew this detail into a larger picture without really worrying if it looked like it belonged there or not.  So eager to imagine the possibilities without stopping to measure the square footage. I didn't want to see limitations.

Didn't want to do the math.

Last Sunday was gorgeous. Anyone with any sense would have been out in it, enjoying the mix of cool air and bright sunshine that this time of year brings. But there were boxes to pack. Time was getting dangerously short, and I hadn't really done enough to consider myself ready yet.

The morning goes quickly. DVDs and video games. This pile of stuff gets kept, this bunch I'll try to sell to the used bookstore downtown. Everything is logical and easy to call. I'd come into this process knowing that it was time to cut away some of the extra baggage in my life. More than just selling off old CDs or getting rid of broken-down furniture.

It was time to stop dragging the past around with me in a box. Simplify and start over.

I knew the letters were around. I knew I hadn't thrown them away. But I had taken them down along with the photographs on the refrigerator. Handwritten smiles, sepia-toned reminders of a future once to come -- there was a day a year or so back when I finally realized they were keeping me from looking at anything else, so I took them down and I put them all in a drawer.

Another corner of my place that I once wondered how I would ever find a way fill.

This isn't about blame. It's not a pointed finger. You weren't the one who told me to hold onto all of these things. I wanted you here, so it only made sense to fill the empty corners of my place with the shape of your handwriting and the scent of the perfume you sprayed the paper with while I waited for your return.

But I read the letters now and the words seem different. Things I could have done more of. Questions I can't remember if I answered back or not. It's frightening now that I know how the movie ends to consider just how many hints I might have missed in the script along the way.

I spent more hours reading all of these things than I probably should have. It's not like I didn't have anything else to do -- but even with all the time that had passed it was hard not to get pulled back into the nostalgia of it all. We really were happy together, even if things didn't turn out the way we'd talked about them going or hoped that they would.

It's hard to let something like that go, even if all you really have to do is throw away a bunch of old letters.

[Now Playing:  Revocation - "The Grip Tightens" ]

Friday, October 12

Bitch Tits

No one sits awake at 3 am by themselves and thinks, "God, am I happy."

I'm starting to think that's a part of it. This difference between the way these states of happiness and (for lack of a better term) depression are experienced. Almost as if one extreme is the result of a perspective you force on things versus the other being a camera over your shoulder that you don't see and aren't concerned with.

Happiness is collective. It's a personal feeling, and it's something only you can control -- but I do think more often than not it comes as a reflection of the mirrors of people around you. Of how easily the small talk turns into hanging out, or the one bar turns into "hey, we're headed to this other spot -- you should tag along."

Happy people glow. They resonate. Sending out vibrations that other people pick up on and want to get closer to. But more importantly -- you don't have to declare happiness, or activate it. Happiness is a result. It's an emotional reaction to an atmosphere that you foster around yourself. It's not something you medicate to regain any sort of hormonal balance. Not that super happy people aren't chemically unbalanced, because they are -- except that it's awesome.

And let's be clear about something here: Chemical unbalance gets a bad rap. There are two kinds, and only one of them is bad. It's like metabolism speeds and being fat. Balance isn't the goal if you want to win. Balance is only good if you want to stop the backslide.

What you want is unbalance in the other direction.

What you need is to tilt the floor the other way. To lose your footing and literally fall into good things.

People don't give you advice on how to break out of your happiness. No one ever says, "I couldn't help but notice that you've been really happy lately, and I just wanted you to know that I've been there, but it doesn't last forever. It will get worse."

Happiness grows. It evolves outward. It's like bringing a big bowl of popcorn to a room where people are watching TV -- that aroma spreads quickly, and everybody looks up.

I don't know, maybe that isn't a perfect metaphor -- because I don't really like popcorn. But I do understand the appeal of that butter/salt smell that comes in easily shared handfuls. Popcorn guy smells good, and people  enjoy being around him. That's where conversations flower up from. That's where connections get made.

I've been that guy before, and eventually I'll find a way back to being him again. But the bizzare broken mirror of it in my present right now is that I know that's where I need to get -- so it seems all too easy to just make some popcorn and try to fake it, despite the fact that I don't like the taste of it, and I don't really have anyone to share it with.

And that in itself, perhaps more than anything else -- is probably why I can't seem to just shake this off.

This isn't just the blahs, or even the blues. There's something deeper here -- and I'm going to have to find a way to burn it away if I ever want to get back to the right side of myself again.

I'm more like oatmeal guy right now. Who the hell wants to share a handful of that? 

[Now Playing:  Deftones - "Tempest" ]

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