Beautiful Faces

Standard

Its interesting how much we cater to the societal expectations of beauty. Even in rebellion. Welcome to Gravity, My Enemy. This week I wanted to talk about Valentine’s Day (Like literally every other year.)

We have this one day set aside to get gifts and romantics from people, everything turns red or pink and condom sales boost by a marginal percent in the days leading up to it.

We as a society are extremely focused on how things look, something I’ve spoken of before especially in correlation with Valentine’s Day is that we want our lives to be some sort of spectacle. My conservative adult friends tell me it is social media’s fault and my liberal younger friends tell me that people do it for themselves and to escape societal norms, which, if that were the case, wouldn’t we be relatively silent about it?

By this I mean no disrespect to the people who want to make their lives seem glamorous or more fun than they really are, unless you’re intentionally misleading others. That’s not cool.

Still, I see a lot of posts now a days of men or women who put themselves out on social media in a strange outfit or some kind of sensational imagery posted alongside them with the expressed purpose of standing out. I’m a fan of uniqueness, in many of its forms but can’t uniqueness be derived from humble and silent means instead of boisterous ones?

Wearing baggy clothing as a girl doesn’t have to mean that you are rebellious or tomboyish, it literally means you like baggy clothes and dude pockets because Valentine’s Day just passed by and you still have thirty seven condoms you didn’t use lying around in your bedroom, might as well take them and go make condom art.

(Don’t make condom art. Or do. .The choice is yours, just… consider placing condoms on public property extremely carefully. If you get caught vandalizing a stature of General Patton, well. I’m not going to be here to help assist you.)

Still, men in tight fitting clothing doesn’t have to be some grand break away from societal norms either, I like slim pants, a kid I know loves pleather. There is nothing to be gained or lost by how we dress and we as a society like to emphasize the shit out of it.

“Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”

Well, ideally, I’d like to be a full time writer but I’m not going to stroll into a 90 degree kitchen in a cardigan, robe and no pants. Get out of here with that. I’m going to be comfortable and wear what I enjoy.

This concept goes a step further I think with cosmetic enhancements. I saw someone on my Twitter TL the other day talking about wanting a boob reduction, not because she had large and cumbersome boobs but because “No one gets breast reductions + I want to show the patriarchy that I am in control of my own body.”

Call me crazy, but perhaps being in control of your own body might have less to do with the size of your boobs, and more to do with the control of your body.

This comes off as patriarchal to some, I’m sure. To those of you who are assuming I am part of the He-Man Woman Hater Club, allow me to reassure you. You can do whatever you want.

With whoever you want.

Whenever you want.

Hopefully that will have cleared up some of the smoke from the hollow gunshots I did not mean to fire into the crowd, yet somehow there are people who will still assume as such.

The point to all of this is that working so hard to fight something with actions like this, i.e. doing the opposite of the norm, quickly goes from a powerful statement to useless expense or banter in no time flat.

Have you ever used a word so much that it lost its meaning to you? I’ve laid centuries worth of vulgarities and the words themselves have lost the initial punch they had when I first heard them, these powerful statements are a lot like that.

Wearing extremely thin clothing in the winter is not a symbol of your oppression. It is a stupid decision, are you trying to get hypothermia? I don’t’ understand.

Similarly, men, those of us who steer into the skid of being “girly” by acting and overcompensating, trying to make the world believe you chop down redwoods with your hand, just be cool. It is okay to have feminine qualities and it is okay to have masculine qualities. I promise you it is not going to kill you. It will actually make you see things in a different light. Much like, for instance…

Each other.

See, we spend so much time trying to make ourselves stand out that we lose sight of the actual uniqueness within us. Clothing and physique are massive signals to others that lead to clues about our personalities. Men in suits, probably are either Mormon or have office/business jobs, men in overalls are likely mechanics. Etc. This applies to all people. I dress in flannel and tye dye exclusively. If you assume I’m either a hippy server who smokes a lot of weed or a gay hipster who will tell you why every album released in 2005 is only good for nostalgia sake, you would be half right.

(Not gay, I haven’t taken any of the electric lettuce in many months and bands that wee big in 2005 are still in HEAVY rotation on my Spotify playlist, I promise you. Fall Out Boy is A1 shit. Classics.)

Regardless, we use these symbols of ourselves to try to subvert the mainstream ideology of those around us, but all of these signal flares eventually evolve into a cluster of nonsense and no one understands what the purpose of all the showy idealism is anymore. These clothes mean this thing.

These Botox injections mean this thing.

So on and so forth, which leads us to less and less genuine interactions with one another, being less genuine means that you are less real, losing the things that make you one of a kind is a terrible fate to behold and I hope it upon none of you.

Besides, being less genuine means it’ll be harder for you to meet and befriend new people honestly, which in turn makes it especially hard for you to actually do anything with the $431 you spent on chocolates and prophylactic supplies for Valentine’s Day.

In summary, we were all created to be unique, divine in our own way, gifts given to others on this planet. Don’t squander that and force yourself to become a statement. Instead, consider the alternative…

Live in a way that makes you a statement unto yourself. You are wonderfully made. Your face, in all of its own glory was meant to be a beacon of light to others. Be a greater, better, more compassionate human being. Don’t be generic, generic things will be left behind one day.

(Except for Kroger brand cheese I am ABOUT that stuff. 15 slices for a dollar? Count me in.)

Buffalo Bouncy Balls (Year Two: 2015.9.18)

Standard

I actually spoke with my mom not so long ago about this trip and the effect it had on me. I learned a lot of things in Reno that night.

A while back, I took a trip to Reno and it was pretty rough. I was followed around by a car for like… five miles of me looping around downtown Reno. I was pulled over for a tail light issue. I wasn’t able to hang out with any of the people I tried to spend time with. Some ignored me, some were busy, and all around it was a pretty rough trip. However, like everything else in this life, it wasn’t without wonderful things. At the end, I got to have lunch with my old friend Emma, who I hadn’t heard from in a number of minutes. (Months, maybe.) We talked about her schooling and her boyfriend and the band she was in at the time. I talked about books, basically. (That’s all I have to talk about anymore. I need to find new topics.) Regardless, it was great to see her bright shining face after two days of suck.

There was one other thing however, that I have been waiting to write about until the right time. That time would be right now, because of certain events in my life.

So, let me set the day…

I arrived in Reno, went to drop a book off to a girl I met in a Barnes & Noble on a previous trip. Found out she no longer worked there, since I didn’t get any of her information I couldn’t message her or anything. So I left the bookstore kind of bummed. (Something I never do. Not from a book store.) I then stopped off at the mall and at some other stores to poke around and kill time. After so long I headed out. It was getting late, so I texted another friend asking to hang out. They didn’t reply. I texted the next person I wanted to see and likewise they didn’t reply either, so I was driving around Reno with no real goal in mind. Just looking for something cool to visit. Then, the second friend sent me a message telling me that they would be off work late but they would love to see me. So I parked my car in a Target parking lot and read “It” until I was to get word back, I sat in that parking lot for almost two hours, about an hour and a half after they told me they would be finished working and ready to meet up. So I figured, whatever, I’m starving. I need to get food. If nobody else messages me back I’ll find a place to crash and do so. So, I had never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings and there was one in the parking lot, so I popped over and decided to grab some food. After I had put in my order I sat on the bench listening to music and watching the people there.

Among the people coming to eat, there was this one waitress who I’m still pretty sure thought I was stalking her because every time I happened to look her way she was looking at me, and eventually she started taking the long way around the entrance. But hey, if by some longshot she’s reading this, I just thought you were cute. I wasn’t trying to be creepy, I promise. It was definitely an accident and I am not insane. I just don’t know when to blink, really.

Regardless of that, all these people were running around and completing tasks, getting beer, running food, seating tables. It felt homey to watch because that is my element, the chaos of a restaurant on a busy night is one of the places I feel most at home. Standing amid this clamor of people was an older gentleman in a black polo with black jeans and some non-slip work shoes, holding a 40 gallon trash bag full of bouncy balls. Propped up before him was one of those arcade machines where you use a claw to get a toy of some kind for 50 cents. The front door was open and this guy was placing these rubber balls into the container, slowly and carefully. I ended up watching him do it for close to twenty minutes because it was so enthralling.

My first thought was that his job probably sucks. He has to go into a bunch of really loud places with screaming kids and grumpy parents and greasy pizza and load these dumb balls into glass containers so people can blow money trying to get them. As soon as I had this thought, it was replaced by another. The look on this guy’s face.

It was the most peaceful, happy look I have seen in years. He was just smiling into the glass box and taking these rubber balls one at a time and moving them around, making sure that they all sat comfortably. I began to wonder why I didn’t have that look as often.

There was this guy, who had what seemed like a pretty boring job, who looked like he was loving every second of it. Adjusting, placing, grabbing a new ball and repeating the process. I wonder how often people have seen me working at any of my jobs and seen the same look. Probably not nearly as often as I’d like, or at all. I tend to have resting bitch face. Even if I’m on top of the world, my face still apparently tells people that someone dumped on my shoes before I came into work. One guy at a table even told me I always looked like I could smell something bad.

Maybe it was me, I dunno. Maybe he was trying to hint at something without hurting my feelings. (This whole thing will be relevant again next week. Just so you know.)

Anyway, as I watched this guy, I started playing out his thoughts in my own head. Just a made up scenario based on what I was seeing. He was standing there, maybe humming a tune to himself, maybe thinking about all the kids that were going to be over the top to realize that they now have their very own bouncy ball. Maybe his next stop was a strip joint and he was excited to see the women. I have no idea.

What I do know, is regardless of the reason, that guy enjoyed what he was doing in that moment. It was one of those small moments that changed my outlook forever.

So, next time either of us are stupid busy at work, or we are having a rough night, let’s think about rubber ball guy. How happy he was to be doing his job. How okay he felt about the whole thing. Knowing that what he was doing right then was going to make someone happy in the future.

I may never see that man again, I probably won’t, but I will always carry that memory with me when I’m serving tables, cooking food, writing, or when a friend calls me asking for help at an ungodly hour of the night.

I will always remember that the things I’m doing now will hopefully make someone feel like a happy child in the near future.

I’ve got to say, that’s a good feeling. I hope one day I get to give all of you a cool rubber ball and you end up smiling like that guy at Buffalo Wild Wings. Then we can all get together in a big room and bounce and smile together.

Yeah, that sounds like fun.

If you enjoyed this blog post + it helped bring a smile to your face, consider picking up the compilation book that it is a part of. 🙂

Altar of Bones

Standard

In the northwestern U.S. there lies a tomb. Less a tomb, rather than a home for the corpses of women taken before their time. If you were to travel to the Legacy Hospital, you’d hear stories from the citizens there that told of loss and heartache. You’d meet a detective who comes to visit his wife day after day, comatose and on the verge of dying, but he will tell you time and time again, no matter how often you go to visit him that he believes she will return. That he won’t give up because he knows that she won’t. He will tell you of his daughter and how important she is to him. He will tell you that she is on the verge of waking up, he knows it. He can feel it.

You may cross paths as you venture from one point in this city to another with a man sheltering many faces. He changes on a whim and becomes an entirely different person. Switching personalities being out of his control, he has managed to survive and thrive with the souls of three past lives stuffed within his body. A young man who has seen more than most of us ever will. A man with four heads who communes with angels, people said to me that he was frightening. That he was sick. That he needed help. The boy doesn’t need help, so much as he needs someone who can understand what he is going through.

If you visit Junco Furlong’s, a branch of the popular chain restaurant that started in a haunted bottom floor in New York City, you would meet a couple. A young man who had just recently come back from a journey to Europe. Beside him, a young woman sits wrapped in his arms, kissing him gently and thanking him for being there when she needed him the most. She tells him that she is thankful for his care, and he would tell her that it was all he ever really cared for.

If you step into the Lone Fir Cemetery, you may, if the circumstances are right, run into a young woman who had just given birth to her daughter a few years before. She was still introducing herself the the beautiful trials and successes that envelop motherhood. She would whisper to you, as if speaking from the other side of a curtain, that evil exists in the world no matter how much she wanted to protect young Lucy from it. She tells you that she made a mistake to move to the city, that she should have stayed home with her high school sweetheart.

Continue on your road, you need not hear more from her. As you approach a hill, you may come face to face with another spirit, a young man who tells you that he was willing to give everything for the ones he loved, and he did so. He won’t reply to your questions. His story is over, but he will point you in the correct direction. If you follow the imaginary line that the young man provided for you, you will crest the hill and see an open grave at the foot of the opposite side. Beside it, a young man stands with his arms folded. For no reason in particular, you recognize him. He has “one of those faces” as the saying goes.

You are presented with a choice in this moment. Before, the people you spoke to seemed as if you were inclined to speak to them. As if they were expecting you to visit like a friend who hadn’t been around in a while. They so eagerly spilled their stories to you, even if it was only in parts that you had to piece together. All of their lives were affected by the boy who wouldn’t speak further. As his disappearance left a rigid whole within each of them, but in doing so… he filled the holes within his own heart.

If you do choose to approach the detective, you will see the perplexed look upon his face. Go ahead and approach him… ask him why he is standing before a grave laid bare with its contents emptied. He will reply to you with a story.

“Once, long before, there was a killer who found his home in my city. He stole the lives of so many women. He created a tomb of them. An altar, that he would worship within. The tower of bones that he held in secret was eventually found out, but there was so much more to that story that we missed the first time. We didn’t know why. We didn’t have any answers and that is why I’m here today. I am searching for answers, before time resets, before we go backwards. Before we lose the lives of our loved ones, before we forget who killed them and why. We are returning to the beginning and we are starting all over.”

You might, at his provocation, glance down into the pit of the grave and see two things…

One, a large book bound in human flesh that seems to still be bleeding.

Two, you will see the corpse of another woman, her flesh falling from her bones, and upon her bones, there is writing. When this sets in and you see what the Detective is seeing, you will listen to him whisper.

“We are digging these graves up to bring our loved ones back, we are digging them up feebly searching for answers, for hope, for some kind of security that when the clock rewinds… that the end of this story won’t remain as it is today. I miss her, my friend. I miss her being alive. I know how Aiden must have felt now, the boy lost everything and he didn’t even realize what yet he had obtained. So I have to find the truth. I have to find a way to turn the clock back and fix the path that The Darling Killer created. So… I am digging up these graves.”

 

At this, you will hear the whisper carried on the wind from a voice that is unfamiliar to you. It is deep and rough, as if its owner is carrying coarse dirt within his lungs. It is a voice that speaks of blood, of bone, and of lost happiness.

 

“I miss you, my darling… I miss you so.”

Today I am officially announcing the re-release of “The Darling Bones”

I have taken time to grow as an author and as a creator all around. The Darling Bones was my first novel and so much of me has changed since then. The first release was rocky, as they tend to be, so I decided long ago that I would pull it from the market and rework what I created because that story meant so much to me. Within the pages of it I worked through loss and confusion, doubt that love existed and so much more. When it was finished I had grown into a man who knew my purpose. The Darling Bones started everything for me and I can’t lay it to rest for you to view if the body of the piece is so badly damaged, so I am doing what all foolish alchemists do…

I am going to resurrect it, only so that it can be laid down once more. This time… Darling will receive a proper burial.