Category Archives: adventure

Embracing The Evil Within

joker

So, I have a confession for everyone, and, judge me if you must... But, during hard times, one of the things that really helps me get by is embracing my inner super villain.

That’s right. Sometimes just being straight up evil helps make me feel better.

When I get lonely, or when I see everyone else having fun without me, I sit there and go… What if a giant meteor came and slammed into Central Park right now, obliterating all these people into dust. 

dead like me

And then a smile comes across my face. And I get a little less lonely. (Also, easter egg for any fellow Dead Like Me fans out there!)

 

Oh, oh oh!!!!!!! AND MY ULTIMATE FANTASY, I want to be like Aquaman (hot blonde Aquaman, not overly buff drag queen Aquaman)

 

                                       No thanks.                                   Yes please. 

 

Anyways, so I’d be like Aquaman….but as a villain!

OH, THINK OF THE FUN I COULD HAVE! 

Ok, imagine this…. It’s spring break,

spring

Slutty hos, and douchey bros line the beaches, having their pathetic fun…

 

But…do they know that I’ve summoned a giant swarm of sharks? 

meg

Sure, they can try to swim away…but really, with 500 great white sharks surrounding you, where exactly do you think you’re going to go? 

jaw

Suddenly, the attacks begin. And once everyone knows what’s going on…

It’s already too late! 

MWUAHAHAHA!

jaws

Oh, it’s so sadistic, it’s simply perfect! 

 

Think of it – First, people become afraid of the oceans. Giant swarms of shark attacks have become normal. But everyone thinks rivers and lakes are still safe, but bull sharks can live in freshwater! Suddenly, in places like the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, giant shark attacks begin to take place. The entire human population won’t go anywhere near water. The pumps that suck in water begin to clog with algae because nobody is cleaning them… the human race begins to suffer from dehydration and famine.

Then, I come forward, revealing that I control the oceans. And I demand 5 things to make the attacks stop:

1.) I want a roller coaster built. The longest roller coaster in the world. It will span across state lines, it will be an incredible 5 hours of ride time, and it can’t be wooden, because that will hurt.

2.) Obviously, I’m now emperor of the entire world and Zac Efron has to quit acting and become my personal sex slave.

3.) US airlines must remove economy seating, because it’s just fucking miserable. Business class for all!

4.) Every Friday at 9pm the entire world must shut down, and the entire population must go to the local movie theater to view classic horror films – Scream, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw, Creepshow, House of 1000 Corpses, all of them. Every Friday until the end of time. This will surely make the human race a better one.

5.) The TV show Strangers With Candy will be renewed for another 5 seasons. The Avengers will be remade, in which every character dies 5 minutes into the first film, thus sparing us from a series of atrociously boring movies. And lastly, anyone who watched Game of Thrones must personally submit a 500 page to me, declaring that the show was stupid and waste of their time and that they’re sorry to everyone for making us have to listen to them go on and on about it for almost a decade.

 

You have my demands…. the choice is yours.

~ The Dark Horse

(No, this wasn’t proofread. Emperors of the world don’t need to proofread. Oh! That’s another one of my rules. I no longer have to proofread anything ,ever!)

TRAVEL>>> There Really is Nothing Better

mig

Next month I’m being flown to Mexico to write an article.  This is going to be the first time I’ve been paid to do travel writing. It feels like a complete dream come true!

I honestly don’t have words – what is there to stay that could possibly capture how accomplished I feel?  Growing up, watching the Travel Channel, dreaming of escaping my hometown in Ohio… and now, I somehow have one of those jobs that everyone going up told me wasn’t real.

I’m from trash-bucket Ohio. Once manufacturing died, so did my hometown. The mentality of my hometown isn’t “Work hard, you’ll go places!” Instead it’s, “The world will eat you alive! Ohio isn’t that bad! Do you know what your chances are of actually being successful? You’re just going to wind up back here with your tail between your legs!”

Like they say, misery loves company. 

mex1

 

And let me make this very clear —–> If you’re the kind of person who enjoys coming home from work everyday and sitting in your Lay-Z-Boy to watch Real Housewives….THAT IS TOTALLY OK! I have nothing against you! The problems arise because most people who live their lives like are also the types to who hate the idea of others doing something else. That hatred is the problem. 

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It almost seems like they are trying to keep others down. Like they don’t want to watch others do more with their life. That is what I hate. You should never have to be surrounded by people who clearly don’t want to see you succeed.

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Ah, but bitches, let me tell you….

Once you escape that cycle, life can get good. It can take a while, and it can be hard (well, it will be hard, unfortunately) After years upon years of having people shit on you, change doesn’t come overnight. The journey to happiness is surely an uphill battle.

 

But it’s totally worth it.

Trust me.

IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

mex4

 

Ah Mexico… on someone else’s dime.  Me, writing the night away.

Oh , god it’s almost orgasmic…

mex5

 

 

I may be pushing 30…but I’m finally starting to feel like my life is starting. My life is 1/3 over…and just beginning. But, better late than never, right?

Plus, I remember Steve Carell has that line in Little Miss Sunshine, where he says something like, “Your struggles are what end up making you good writer.”

So hopefully I have lucrative writing career ahead!

Hi ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ho

 

 

The Trouble of New Beginnings When You Have Depression and Anxiety

new

 

So, I just finished my first week at my internship in television.  And it was exciting, and crazy, and hard, and stressful, and a total learning experience.

But, looking back now that the week is over, I’m like… WAS IT ACTUALLY HARD? OR WAS IT JUST MY ANXIETY? 

 

For example, I was told to do some media monitoring. That’s where you scan various news outlets to see if your shows are getting publicity and mentions and such. When you make your report, you put the news outlet’s name, followed by a forward slash, and then the date.

I had put the news outlet, then a space, then a forward slash.

My boss was like, “I’m a stickler for formatting, so next time, no space between the outlet’s name and forward slash.”

And then I was like..

OH MY GOD. I FAILED!

I PUT A SPACE BEFORE THE FORWARD SLASH! 

OH GOD…..I’LL NEVER GET A REAL JOB! 

By 10am, I was doing a full-blown Anne Hathaway, wondering why my dreams will never be…

dreams1

 

 

But now I’m kinda like… I suppose it’s possible that I may have been being slightly, but just ever-so slightly…. a drama queen. 

It was my first time doing media monitoring, and my boss knows that.  And adding a space isn’t the same as me just not being able to function. And looking back, I don’t even think my boss sounded mad.

 

BUT THEN…..

 

I had to write a press release for an upcoming show.  A REAL PRESS RELEASE FOR A SHOW THAT WILL AIR ON NATIONAL TELEVISION! A PRESS RELEASE THAT WILL BE READ…BY THE PRESS!  Like, THE PRESS. 

Entertainment Weekly. Variety. People Magazine. TV Guide. The Chicago Tribune. The New York Times. Those places, along with every other news outlet in America (And Canada) will be sent this!!!!!

I was like, Oh my God if I fuck this up it’s all over.

I’m done.

Life destroyed.

I’ll be unemployed.

I’ll become homeless.

I’ll have to sell my teeth for money, and then get Hepatitis C and die.

Oh my God, I need anther Anne Hathaway GIF,   NOW!!!!!!!!!

dream2

 

I think Anne is the only person who truly understands my struggles.

 

So, I’ve sent my draft of the press release to my boss, and we’re going to go over it on Monday.

SO, OK SURE. SHE HASN’T ACTUALLY SAID ANYTHING BAD ABOUT IT…. YET.

But there’s always a chance that could ruin it!

I mean, it was my first major press release after all.

Do you think she’ll understand that?

Oh lord, here comes the sweats… I’m such a failure. I’m going to die.

This is it! Goodbye cruel world!

dreams3

 

 

OR, IS THIS ALL JUST ANXIETY?

 

I mean, new beginnings are hard. For everyone. Anytime you have to learn something new. Or be in a new place. Surrounded by new people. There’s always going to be a learning curve. You’ll never be completely perfect right off the bat when you’re in an unfamiliar area, doing new and unfamiliar things.

That’s just life.

But when you have depression and anxiety, making those little mistakes (what normal humans probably consider “learning”) can be really hard on us. We dwell on them. We worry about them.

Or, with the press release example, we can worry without even hearing anything bad! It’s that unknowingness that gets us. We want to be assured that we’ve done good.

That we’re safe. 

When you have depression and anxiety, instant gratification is a gift… A gift that life rarely provides.

And we have no choice, but to soldier through. We have to brave our fears.

Keep Calm

And

Carry On.

We can’t let our depression and anxiety ruin new opportunities for us. Stress and sadness will accompany us during our new exploits. But, we need to be strong. Because the payoffs that you get from taking a chance is work.

Great things come from taking risks.

So let’s take em!

Need some inspiration?

Ok watch this:

In Ohio we have a theme park called Cedar Point. The tallest ride is called the Top Thrill Dragster. It’s so tall, and requires so much energy to create enough thrust to make it over the hill, that if the weight in the train is off (like, if you have a train full of short, thin people, or a train full of overweight people) the weight imbalance causes an acceleration problem and causes the car to not make it over the hill, AND THE ROLLS BACKWARDS TOWARDS THE STATION WHERE THE OTHER TRAIN IS BEING LOADED WITH PEOPLE! 

top thrill

 

So… if you’re about to embark on something new, and are scared. Just remember… things can be much, much scarier!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

Dispatches From The Far North

nwt

 

Have I ever mentioned that after college I ran away into the woods?

 

LA had worn me down and beaten me to the ground. I was so depressed I could barely stand up most of the time. And then that’s when I discovered American Transcendentalism, and the ideals of running away and escaping capitalist society.

I took Thoreau for his word and ran away.  And now that I’m older and read Thoreau more clearly, I’m pretty fuckin annoyed… because he never actually ran away. He lived on a lake only a few miles from town. He literally would walk home and eat with his family and shit… what a twat.

I on the other hand, during my period of total infatuation with his ideas, really did run away into the middle of nowhere. Where there were no roads. No phones. No sewage systems…

I went to the Northwest Territories, a little north of the Great Slave Lake.

There, I lived in a “cabin” which was really just a plywood box that was covered in arctic tarp. Recently, I found the pictures I took of inside my cabin.

Whenever I’m feeling down, writing and art has always saved me. And so, being up there was no different.  Armed with nothing but sidewalk chalk (why was there sidewalk chalk? I have no idea…) Anyways, armed with sidewalk chalk and bare plywood walls, I got to work.

Here are a few of my derelict masterpieces:

 

cabin1

Here, with CHERRY BOOM, I needed color, and I need fun. I went for a retro-Pac Man thing because it was exciting.  It was something that made me feel like I wasn’t completely lost from society. A memento that there was a world full of video games, ice tea, and mattresses that I could return to at some point.

 

 

cabin2

This was my manifesto to the world. I wrote this, and then read this to myself every night before going to sleep. It was a way for me to tell myself that I’m not done. I went to the woods to find myself, but the woods wouldn’t be my final resting place.

 

 

cabin3

My absolute favorite.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written these words in my journal, or said this under my breath as I’m about to take on a challenging day. The albatross has always been my spirit animal. They’re so large, so misunderstood, and so solitary, that it’s hard to imagine how they survive. But, against the odds, and against the elements, these birds flourish, even though they can spend months over the open ocean without ever even seeing land. They’re stronger than you’d ever believe. And so, I look to the albatross, flying high, for inspiration.

 

Eye to the sky!

 

~ The Dark Horse

Can The City You Live In Impact Your Mental Health?

city

 

The short answer (In my opinion) is yes. And in multiple ways. Let me explain:

 

For starters, if you’re living in a city where you don’t fit in, then right off the bat, you will have problems.  For example, I’m from Ohio.

ohio

I am gay, very liberal, loves travel, and have always wanted to do something in the arts and in media, and have always wanted to somehow impact the world in a big way.

Ohio is a lot of blue collar people who don’t have passports (and who rarely even leave the state), they’re mostly republicans who fear the outside world, and life consists of going to work to make money to start a family and go to church to pray to God to let you go to heaven because you’ve spent your entire life only half-lived, because you’ve been suck in the social norms that your too afraid to ever step away from.

Ohio also has a very bad crime problem, and is part of the opiod epidemic, along with having a bad meth problem as well, but that’s a whole other story… 

ANYWAYS, the point is, someone like me just doesn’t fit in there. It just wasn’t ever going to work. My life in Ohio would always have been un-lived because there isn’t anything there for me.

And the same can be true for the other side of the spectrum as well.  If you’re a Protestant who thinks homosexuality is a sin, and loves Trump and wants him to build the wall, and you genuinely fear and hate people of a different skin color from you…  you’re probably going to have a horrible miserable life in cities line New York, LA, or San Fransisco.

And as much as I’m terrified by the idea of some Protestant with so much hate and fear inside them, part of the trick is just finding where they fit.  Just like I needed to find where I fit.

 

But there’s also more factors:  

For example, Los Angeles, is car-centered city.  When you walk out to a road, it looks like this:

ohio1

 

You don’t see many people out walking the streets. For America’s second largest city, you sometimes wonder if you’re in a suburb somewhere.

And don’t get me wrong. There are some very beautiful, fun, and lively parts of LA. Sunset Strip, WeHo, Santa Monica, Venice.  You’ll find busy areas.

ohio3

But if you ever live there, you’ll soon realize that this is a very small percentage of LA. Most of LA, on the street level, is a barren wasteland.

ohio4

And I used to find that emptiness absolutely crushing. I used to walk around, trying to shake off my depressive episodes by being in public, hoping to gain some energy from the outside world.  And I’d wander around and be like… Holy crap, do people actually live in this city?  So, if you’re like me and find yourself lonely a lot… find yourself in desperate need of some good company… try major cities like New York, Chicago, or even San Fransisco, where the streets will be full of pedestrians, mass transit is packed, and everything seems more alive.

ohio6

 

 

But perhaps you’re not like me. Maybe you’re not a guy in his 20’s. Maybe you’re a middle-aged woman who wants a garden. Or you’re parents who don’t want to raise their children in Manhattan (which, does have it’s problems for kids… the other day I watched a couple of 15 yr olds buy drugs…. it was insanely depressing.)

Then a big hustling city might cause you stress. Whereas it’s great for me, it might make you miserable. Then you gotta go and find where you belong!

 

ohio7

Maybe you need a place like Burlington, VT? A good school system, some large corporations, but also the quaint, small, safety of a little New England City?  We all need different things.  And we all need to be where we feel comfortable and happy. Because that is the first step to good mental health. 

 

Speaking of good mental health… perhaps you’re like me and you need sunshine.  Avoid Places like Chicago and Boston, which sit at the easterly end of their time zones, and the sun sets early. Word of advice from someone who has lived in both of these cities. In the winter, it will be completely dark before you’re out of work. You will spend a few months in eternal darkness.

ohio8

 

But time zones are the only thing to worry about. Locations like Portland and Seattle are covered by clouds most of the year. And how far North you are will also have a huge impact on sunshine….So, you can rule out Alaska.

 

Obviously, there are huge factors that make a lot of this not possible. For example, if you’re a surgeon, you probably couldn’t go live in Manning, North Dakota. No matter how desperately you want to live in a rural village, close to the great outdoors… you just won’t find employment there.

ohio9

Or if you have kids who are in school. Or if you have sick parents that need caring for. Or allergies, or skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.

 

Being able to move is a luxury that I have because I’m young, and have no spouse, or children. I understand that. And I understand that not everyone can go and try and find where they fit. But still, where you live has a huge impact on your mental health. So, if you’re in a position where it’s possible (and Im not just talking about fear… don’t ever let fear be the thing keeping you stuck where you are.)  A dying parent, sure. Then you have a srepbsobilty to someone and are needed. And you’re stuck. sadly.

But don’t hide behind excuses either.  Yes, moving away may put you further from your family, and from what’s familiar. But don’t ever let fearing the unknown keep you somewhere. Don’t hide behind the excuses of “Oh but what if one day my parents happen to get sick…” or “How will my friend group go on without me…” That’s just you hiding behind excuses because you’re afraid. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, and you have the ability to take the leap… then honey, you gotta’ go full-blown Thelma and Louise and just gun it!

 

ohio10

 

~ The Dark Horse

Was this proofread?  I’ll say this. It wasn’t not proofread. But it also wasn’t “proofread” per-se. Does that make any sense?

 

I’m Getting Published!

write

So, I received an email from a literary magazine the other day, and it seems that the Dark Horse is finally about to get published! (Confetti falls from the ceiling and there’s much fanfare throughout the entire human population… Or… well, really, I called my mom and she was proud of me. But it feels like fanfare I say!)

 

Anyhoo, that’s all beside the point. The point which is this: I have been working my ass off, and it’s finally started paying off!

If I were to flashback to 2 years ago, when I first started my masters program in writing and literature, with nothing on my resume besides retail. Or to 5 years ago, when I was stuck in my Melbourne apartment, agoraphobic, and miserable. Or if I flash-backed to 6 years ago, when I arrived back to Ohio after undergrad, feeling like a complete failure because I didn’t make anything of myself in LA. I never would have thought that any of this would ever be possible.

 

write1

 

I’ve spent most of my twenties feeling like a failure. Feeling like life wasn’t wroth living. Feeling like I would never ever make anything of myself. The spark of hope was the faintest flicker, off in the distance of some cold dark foggy night.

Writing is what got me through it all. I’ve journaled since I was 7. And I started this blog in 2013, back when my mental health was so poor that I couldn’t even leave my bedroom without feeling weak. Writing. Venting. Creating. It was what kept me going.

 

 

write3

 

When I was a kid growing up in Ohio, I knew I wanted to tell stories. I was the lone gay kid lost in a sea of uneducated, hateful trash. Movies and books were the only things that ever gave me inspiration and showed me that life could be worth living. I always knew I wanted to give that to other people.

It wasn’t until recently that I figured out it would be my story I’d be telling. The stories of growing up in Ohio. Of being a lonely sex addict in Los Angeles. Of suffering from depression and anxiety. Of collapsing all over Australia. But most importantly, of never giving up. 

I’m so excited to see the the future has in store.  Did you hear that? I’m excited for my future. That is a very recent feeling in my life. I’m looking forward to what’s next. I’m excited to see how the publication process works. I’m excited to see what people think of my writing. I’m excited to write more! And above all, I’m excited to have an adventure. Because isn’t that what life should be about?

 

rock

 

Rock on bitches, rock on!

 

~ The Dark Horse