Rebel Without a Cause

“I am well aware that I have always been of an inferior race.  I cannot understand revolt.  My race has never risen, except to plunder: to devour like wolves a beast they did not kill.”

Bad Blood from “A Season in Hell”

Arthur Rimbaud

The last few weeks I have been in a trance of self-reflection.  Some would call it a depressive rut but I prefer to embrace denial about these sorts of moments.

It started back in November…

It had been about a week since my Grandma had passed away, and I was down in New Braunfels for the funeral.  The day before the funeral my family had a small get together after the Rosary.  As the alcohol poured into the early part of the next day, the last remaining few at my grandma’s house shared stories and refreshed memories of the days that have long since been gone.

And as most of these conversations normally go, someone brought up the “incident” and as the customary protocol we began to unravel the events that took place that day.  However what has become a new element to the plot is the piece of food that was utilized in the ruckus.  Was it a piece of turkey?  No maybe it had been a roll, which has been often quoted, or perhaps some mash and gravy?

The “incident” my cousins often relish in reliving, took place Thanksgiving when I was 17.  I had been listening to Alice Cooper’s, “I love the Dead,” and drinking a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 since 4 a.m.  My dad kept a booze cabinet in the house and I swiped a bottle from right under his moustache.

I stumbled out my room about 12 o’clock, mostly ‘cause my mom yelled at me to get up.  I was feeling less than cheery when the rest of my family started to show up.  Everyone started to circulate through the kitchen to get food and my sister asked in a tone that felt accusatory, “what’s wrong with you?”

My sister had no idea what was about to happen.  I turned to her and slapped her with some turkey, tossed some corn into her hair and yelled; “This is all bullshit!” and ran for the front door.

In the background I could hear one of my cousins yell, “Run Forrest, Run!”

I made my way down to a neighborhood two streets over from my house and passed out in an alley behind my friend’s home.  I woke a few hours later and made the walk of shame back to my parents’ house.

It’s funny when you think you are being such a rebel.  You know, really shaking up the establishment.  Sticking it to the man.  But in reality all you’re doing is wasting good turkey and gravy.

For quite some time, incidents like that (and many more) became memories I believed personified who I was in the sight scopes of others.  Just another anecdote at family functions to add to the layer of embarrassment.

Trying to decipher what it is about that moment that spurs communal recollection of hilarity can often make you question who and what you are.  There is little doubt that I was in pain about something.  What that was has been lost along with what food item I actually pummeled my sister with.  To this I have concluded instead of dwelling on what thoughts others may have or have had of you, take a chance and change your perspective of “yourself” today.  ‘Cause it is easier to work with present perceptions than to alter the past.

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Back to Screwed

Sitting in the kitchen.  Thinking over the past two weeks.  My second week of college and my fourth attempt at getting a degree.  I began to reflect on all the crap I have been through over these two weeks.  Not in a bitchy sort of way, but in a reflective Buddha kind of way.  I realized the hardest part about going to school is not the school work itself.  No, the school work seems to be the easiest part (thus far).  What seems to be the most difficult part is the constant organization one needs to attain, the constant self-motivation, the constant hustle mentality, you have to be awake to the apathy of others around you and be aware enough to “not” step into it.  You have to be able to follow up on financial aid forms, deadlines, scholarships, and anything else out there that could make school more affordable.  You have to be able to juggle your personal life, taking the dog for a walk, getting exercise, and getting the right amount of nutrition.  Don’t forget to kiss the wifey and give her your undivided attention or she won’t give you your “special medicine.”  You have to make sure that you get to work on time and still have time for homework, get to school on time and stay awake through a boring ass lecture…

These factors seem more difficult to keep up with then the actual school work itself.  I wouldn’t say I feel overwhelmed so much as I feel my eyes are open to what I could have handled years ago had I not had such a defeatist attitude.  At the thought of this I feel like crying, however I don’t have it written down in my daily planner.

February is the new January cause I procrastinate

I was staring at the over packed trunk of my car for about ten minutes; scratching my ass with a lost expression on my face. My jagged brain considered options of how to re-organize my car with all the crap I planned to take with me. Clothes, books, guitar, shoes, towels; what could be stuffed into where, to economize the sparse room in my vehicle? My mom walked outside and asked if I wanted help. I declined. I played Tetris as a child. I could figure this out. Ten more minutes went by without a single bit of progress. I unloaded some of my gear, deciding to cut back on what I would bring. Unhappy with the decision I began to unpack inside the house. The sound of my friend Tanya’s voice crept through the backdoor of my brain, “no way you’re going to fit all that junk in your itty bitty car. Just take three pairs of underwear and two sets of socks!”
My mother walked over and this time I welcomed her assistance because by this point it was 10 P.M. and the thought of getting up by 7 A.M. to drive 4 hours was making me anxious. We worked like a couple of Asian kids in a sweat shop and before I knew, it I was able to fit everything back in my car with room to spare. I drank a few beers to relax me and finally went to bed. In the morning I moved the remainder of my belongings back into the car and before I left, my mom asked me if I wanted to take a lamp. I stood and pondered the question. My brain hadn’t quite flipped the power switch on and something about her question rubbed familiarity against my cranium…

I smiled. Took the lamp and left for my new place.

The Greatest Christmas EF-U-Song

I was standing in a packed aisle of a department store; wildly perusing unoccupied shelves for the next gift on my list. The delirium of the crowded store pushed up against my senses, creating a dizzying effect akin to inebriation. The music of the season plowed through the PA system above as it began to water-board me into submission. I was in a frosted white, winter-fuck me-wonderland! Christmas music is ok when it’s played on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, maybe even a week before Christmas; and only in moderation. I’m okay with those terms. But there are some nut jobs out there who will blast that shit from November till the end of December.
Six years ago, while working in a small office, my supervisor would bring in Christmas CDs by mid-November and crank out Christmas chanteys till our ears bled eggnog. So now, when December rolls around, I manage my PTSD by maintaining a safe distance from retail stores, malls, flea markets, bodegas.
This year, “I had to be different,” I thought as I retracted myself from a thousand yard stare and grumbled at having waited till Christmas Eve to finish buying Christmas gifts. And as I stood squeezing out annoyance with a Nerf football; something magical happened. The opening bars of my savior began to cram its melody over the store PA. THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS FUCK YOU SONG EVER WRITTEN!

The annoyed voice of a twenty-something hipster moaned from the next aisle over. My Personal Jesus had delivered the goods once again, successfully pissing off John Q. Public. Glancing across the aisles, as people turned their noses up in hoity disgust, I relished in the itchy irritation of embarrassment instigated by this song. Restraining my absurd smile, I walked up to a register, grabbed a handfull of gift cards and walked out the sliding doors; leaving the hysteria of the holiday behind.

Beautiful Distraction

Its five minutes till midnight and I can’t come up with a decent concept to write about.  I’ve been lugging around writers block on my shoulders for the past few months and have been going stir crazy sitting at home trying to deliver the goods for this month’s essay.  11:57 P.M. and time is running out.  I thought about how much television I’ve been consuming over the past few months and how I equate this to a woman I use to know, a woman I referred to as a, “beautiful distraction,” but I couldn’t paste two sentences together to make a decent paragraph, so I dropped that idea.  I thought about how my writers block and my lack of gainful employment could somehow be connected.  Half way through my second paragraph I realized that I hate work, or should I say I don’t care much for the types of jobs I am qualified to do.  That idea was tossed.  Then I thought about addiction. How a constant revolving maelstrom affects not only the sufferer but those around them.  I thought about the fight that many endure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  What promises they make and break on the daily; just to wake up and exist.  Just to quiet their nerves.  I thought about the junkies and drunkies I know.  The shopaholics, gamblers, TV addicts.  The porn addicts, the sex addicts and the rage freaks.  I thought about these concepts profoundly.  Trying to make sense of the dilemma at hand.  Trying to write a few days worth of work into 5 minutes.  Trying to beat the demons of procrastination. Trying to kick start my brain without succumbing to the addictive glow of TV and Taco Bueno.  Then I realized it was almost 12:30 A.M.  December 1st.  I had missed my deadline.

An Addict in the kitchen

It was the final week of my 60 day juice cleanse; I was exhausted and craving junk food. My brain knew by the end of the week I would be eating solid food and gluttonous nightmares began infesting my sleep. I dreamt of raiding candy dispensers at the local market. Dumping neon colored, sugar-coated, gummy bits into my mouth, head tilted back, eyes kissing fluorescent lights as I choked on candy. I was spooked by dreams of pastry possession and drowning under tides of Thanksgiving gravy. I became afraid to sleep at night. I began to sleep with a light on. It didn’t help.
I got the idea for a juice cleanse after watching a movie where this three hundred pound guy lost hundreds of pounds juicing fruits and vegetables for 60 days. I became more and more comfortable with the idea as I thought about it. Like the man in the film I hoped to reset my eating habits and lose weight at the same time. I began to question what I was eating and how it affected my mood. Generally speaking I mostly consumed carbs and would often drift into a coma like stasis after each meal.
During my 60 day campaign I reflected on my habit. I realized that eating is something I often do uncontrollably and without the sensation of hunger being present. Like a flesh-eating fiend from a George Romero flick I often wandered the kitchen in search of food. Not hunger but an urge. It was a frightening realization. I began to equate this idea to that of someone dealing with addiction.
While I juiced I made sure to use a recipe that would give my body all the nutrients I needed so that I would not starve. Starvation was not appealing to me. I wanted to be able to appreciate food. During the 60 days I noticed I was hardly ever hungry. However I quite often fought with the craving of certain foods, Chick-fil-a’s meal number 4, pizza, Chinese food, mom’s homemade tacos. But there was never any real hunger. The words, “I’m starving,” never crossed my lips.
The first 30 days went by fast as I noticed the weight vanish. Success bred confidence and I increased my cardio to twice a day. Then I lost my job but I didn’t let the stress derail my movement. I was near the finish line. Only one more week left and I was down to 157 pounds. Within two pounds of reaching my goal. Then the nightmares came. Like a possessed child in need of an exorcism I was being haunted by junk food. Would I over throw the food junkie that pressed cupcakes against my face, like a fat stripper pressing her gut up against me? The last night of my fast was a long one; my mind went back and forth contemplating all the irresponsible food I would indulge in. I wanted to be a food junkie again and as I sat there I wondered if I could look myself in the mirror if I ordered Dominos but didn’t eat it till after midnight?