Tag Archives: depression

Anyone Else Going To Be Alone On Thanksgiving?

FUCKTHANKSGIVING

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again! The leaves are almost gone, the first hints of Christmas pepper the atmosphere with a hint of glee, the rouge cranberries can be seen in even the most forgotten of grocery store aisles. This can mean only one thing, It’s almost Thanksgiving!

And, thanks to a country with INSANE flight prices (Dear America, do you know how cheap it is to fly in Europe?) I’ll be stuck in Boston for Thanksgiving… yay. ūüė¶

However, I’m trying to make the best of this. Obviously, when you’re a depressed person, being alone over the holidays is horrible. In fact suicide rates actually INCREASE during the holidays. So, in order to not be sad, I’m compiling a list of:

 

Why I’m grateful to not be going home this Thanksgiving:¬†

 

1.) My mother can’t cook anyways. Look, my mother is a saint, salt of the Earth that one…. but as a cook? … Well, I mean, let’s just say this. Thanksgiving for us always consisted of overly-dry turkey. Green beans from a can, jello-d cranberry sauce from a can, gravy from a dry-packet mix, corn from a can, bread from the store, pumpkin pie from the store, and “mashed potatoes” if you can call them that. It was basically potatoes boiled down so much that they had lost all structural integrity. It was like picking up a spoonful of flavorless foam. This Thanksgiving, perhaps I can make myself good food now?

turkey

 

 

2.) I’m in Boston. Surely the Black Friday shopping here will be much better than it would have been in Ohio. ¬†I mean, Walmart and Best Buy? Oh, please, let the trailer trash have their fun. I’m going to go stalk the sales at Gucci and Canada Goose. Get some real deals from real stores. PS- I literally don’t have the money to shop anyways, and I’m sure Gucci doesn’t do Black Friday deals anyways… but at least I can window shop for deals at the fanciest of places I can’t afford right?¬†Perhaps I’ll buy a pair of socks.

tif

 

3.) Can you imagine what the airports will look like anyways? Do I really want to be crammed in a flight full TOC people? (TOC is Thanksgiving Or Christmas, they’re the people who only fly once a year at most, either for T or C. And Therefore they’re completely lost in the process; move slow, breathe through their mouths, trip, bump into walls, fart constantly, and so forth…) Then the plane will be filled with¬†screaming babies, and people with their Panda Express smelling up the whole plane.

No thanks!

flight

 

4.) I’m literally going home for Christmas in a little over a month anyways.¬†Sure, this will be a super lonely week, but you know what, I’m going to get to experience all the fun and joy of hectic holiday travel in one month. I CAN DO THIS! ONE MONTH.

just say it.

ONE MONTH

ONE MONTH

ONE MONTH!

HomeAloneAirport

 

 

5.) Thanksgiving is deadly anyways! Have you ever heard of a movie called Thankskilling?

kill1

Why, Thanksgiving is downright dangerous! I should be thankful I’m not able to go home and experience the atrocities that await.

killing1

 

Now that’s what I call Murder Most Foul ¬†(Rimshot please!)

 

~ The Dark Horse

Advertisements

Crossing The Sea: Finding Your Way In Dark Times

 

sail2

So, I’ve recently started submitting my writing to literary journals and publications.

So far, I have received nothing but a lot of rejections.

I even applied for an internship at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and was rejected. However, their email said, “Although we’re impressed by your credentials…”

Maybe they say that to everyone? Or maybe not? Who knows? 

Point is this: The more I write about my life, the more confident I’m becoming, despite the rejections. I’m realizing that I’ve actually been through stuff. Stuff that’s worth of being written about.

sail1

 

I intern at two literary journals right now, and for one of them, I’m helping with editing. AND I TOTALLY DON’T SAY THIS TO BE MEAN, BUT….¬†Some of the stuff we publish is mind-blowingly uninteresting. Especially in this 2018 environment. The amount of stories I get that are like, “I’m a woman and one time in 1972 A man grabbed my breast (shirt still on) and It’s destroyed me ever since and it’s ruined my entire life, and I don’t know how I’ll ever recover…

Literally, we’re about to publish a story right now about a woman who claims that, back in the day when she was a young beatnik, she hung around the dirty art-scene bars in NYC. And at one point she saw a semi-famous artist there. She approached him and flirted. Then he smacked her ass, and she claims, art was forever ruined for her. Like… a guy touching her somehow¬†destroyed the entire concept of art.¬†She claims she couldn’t even look at paintings for over forty years. And not just paintings by this artist who touched her, but any and all paintings by any man.

She claims that when she looks at a painting by a man, all she can see now is the destructive angry beast behind it, looking to abuse women.

NOW LOOK: I am a full supporter of the #metoo movement. And I also believe women when they discuss their experiences. Like, Dr. Ford for example, that is fucking bravery. The women who came forward about Cosby, and others like him, also bravery. I fully embrace them.  And I even embrace this woman for having gone through that moment in the bar.

But I also believe in stakes. In writing, we have stakes. Stakes are the what happened and why is it important enough to be telling a story things within a story.

For example, what’s at stake in The Day After Tomorrow? The entire human race’s survival. Get it?

And when stakes don’t match the circumstances, the story tends to fall flat, and die. For example, using The Day After Tomorrow: If the scientist at the beginning of the movie was like, “Global warming has melted a section of the polar ice cap, and within the next year, global sea levels will rise by 1/9th of an inch.¬†ALERT THE PRESIDENT! TELL EVERYONE TO GO TO THEIR UNDERGROUND SHELTERS NOW!!!!!!

That seems like crap right? It’s like, something in your brain goes, YES THAT IS BAD! WE SHOULD WORK ON THAT….BUT THE END OF THE WORLD IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? BECAUSE OF 1/9th OF AN INCH?

And that’s how I feel with a lot of memoir-type stories I’m seeing these days. I’m like, yes. It’s crappy that the artist slapped your ass… but, then the entire concept of art was ruined for you for 40 years after that? Really? You promise you’re not embellishing a little in the hopes of riding the wave of #metoo and get yourself published? Or perhaps, if this is true…is it possible that you’ve really just let this slap on the ass effect you a little too much? Is this really a #metoo moment story, or is this a mental illness story? Or a story of self obsession, about a women who, if this is the worst moment of her life, is actually extremely privileged? Because the stakes don’t add up. I’m sorry. They don’t.

sail4

 

ANYWAYS, I’VE GONE WAY OFF TOPIC. ¬†POINT IS THIS:

Reading stories like these is really annoying to me. (And it actually makes me a little bit angry too, considering that I think these women are demeaning the #metoo movement by embellishing their stories for attention) BUT, It also gives a breath of inspiration. It makes me want to write and share my stories. And most importantly, I WANT TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE.

When I write about the time I spent in LA on the streets, or the my agoraphobia in Melbourne, or being beaten up in high school – I want to write about this with humor and hope. I hate the self-pity and misery that accompanies the modern-day personal narrative genre. (Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a NYT article stating it too…just so you can’t call me crazy:¬†THE PROBLEM WITH MEMOIRS¬†)

I just scrolled ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF MY BLOG, TO MY VERY FIRST POST. (Oh god…THE SCROLLING!!!! THE SCCCCRRRRROOOOLLLLLLIIINNNGGG!!!!!)

My first post was on December 13th, 2013. I was trapped in my apartment in Melbourne with agoraphobia. Completely alone. I had just gotten on the phone with the Lifeline. The woman on the phone told me I should blog. I should have an avenue to vent through. I started this blog that very day. At the end of that post I said this:

oh oh ! Before I forget.  the BIGreason for this blog is because I have HOPE.  I have hope that I can be happy and feel good about myself one day.  And I want you to have hope as well

 

I’ve felt like a lost boat at sea for so long. Like I didn’t know what direction to take or where to go. All I knew is that I didn’t want to die. I didn’t to give up. But where to go? There was no land in sight, and I was lost.

But now, I feel more motivated. More structured. I want to share my stories. I want to inspire people. I don’t want to dwell in self doubt. I want things to be better. I want others to be better. Fuck the self-pity memoir. Let’s all be more like Jenny Lawson, Carrie Fisher, or David Sedaris. Let’s look back at our lives and laugh,

cuz bitches, WE SURVIVED IT!

We triumphed. Let’s remember that.

sail

I think I’ve finally found land.

 

~ The Dark Horse

Hanson, And The Youth I Never Got To Have

DAMN YOUHANSON

 

So, feel free to judge me. I have no shame. I was listening to Hanson on YouTube yesterday.

Yeah.

Deal with it.

Anyways, it gets even more embracing than that.

So, I’m watching a live recording of their song This Time Around:

And as I’m watching the video, I realize that I’m staring at the guy singing… holy fuck dude, he was so fuckin hot!¬†

Look at him! 

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 3.59.01 PM.png

 

Look at the flawless skin. Those soft perfect lips. That perfect hair! That in-shape and healthy body. Look at that human perfection.

I’m 28. But I feel so much older. If anyone has read tis blog before you probably know, and for anyone who hasn’t, well, my past was filled with going through hell in my hometown of Ohio for being gay, running away to LA, only to wind up having sex on the streets for money, which did wonders for my mental stability, then I went to Melbourne where I struggled with anxiety, panic, and even became agoraphobic. I’ve been alone almost my entire life. Having to be an army of one. I’ve struggled with sex addiction. I struggle with my self-esteem. I feel alone all the time. And I fear I’ll never bee successful and that I’ll die alone.

On the inside, I’m not 28. I feel like a haggard 80 year old on their death bed. I don’t know how I’ve even managed to be such a horrible person. Or how I’ve managed to live this long.

And then watching this video, it just hit me. YOUTH.¬†I never got to have a social life in high school. I hardly even had interaction with people my age. Nobody would speak to me. And then after high school when I went to LA… well, that wasn’t exactly my finest hour….

And Melbourne… I was collapsing every time I left my apartment. Who would want to hang out with me? How was I supposed to make friends when I couldn’t even walk to the grocery store without having a mental breakdown?

And now, in retrospect, I look back….

The “Prime years” of my life. The years where most people are stupid, innocent, and naive. The years when most people are their youngest, healthiest, prettiest selves. When all they want to do is have fun. Unaware of how cruel the world is.

All mine were wasted. Mine were filled with nothing but struggle, pain, and misery.

And now what do I do? 

The “Best Years” that everyone spends the rest of their lives talking about are gone. I never had them. In fact I’m hoping that most people’s Best years, are the Worst that ever happen in my life.

han

 

ugh…. look at these little twats. They made so much god damn money off that fucking song…

Ugh… Im bitter today, sorry.¬†

 

 

Anyways….

So, I guess this is something I need to learn to live with and accept. My past is the past. It’s over. I will never get to have carefree years or dog days of summer. I won’t ever know what it’s like go to a Prom or a college party. I won’t ever know the blissful feeling of truly thinking the world is an easy place where the biggest worries of your day is “What am I going to do this weekend.”

That isn’t my life. And I’m hoping that there’s somehow a strength in that.

I’m hoping that it means something, or leads to something.

I’m hoping that my experience, as crappy as it was, somehow provides me with some sort of insight that will make my life better in the long run.

But who knows…

All I do know is,

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 4.34.21 PM

OMG WHO IS THIS ONE? He’s sooooooo sexy too!

God damn cute boys… motherfuckers should come with a *trigger warning* sign attached to them.

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 4.36.52 PM

But uuugghhhh….. Long hair piano boy has that voice. ¬†OMG. This is hard. Who am I crushing on harder? I don’t even know anymore…

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 4.40.08 PM

Ok, I’m actually really falling for guitar guy. He’s clearly The Man of brothers.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 4.40.24 PM

OH FUCKING HELL…. Please, take me anywhere, I shall follow!

 

 

Alright people, I’m gonna go cry and masturbate or something.

Keep on keeping on!

~ The Dark Horse

 

PS- OF course this wasn’t proofread, I’ve been lost in the surprisingly amazing **cough cough** voices of the Hanson brothers.

CRUEL INTENTIONS: Or, The Joy Of Watching Bad People Get What’s Coming To Em!

cruel

 

***This Post May Reveal Spoilers for the film Cruel Intentions***

Ok, so who here remembers the 90’s epic Cruel Intentions? It’s a total classic that I use as therapy, and I recommend you all do the same, because it’s brilliant and amazing and will leave you feeling so…satisfied. First off, what a fucking amazing cast! Can we please just take a minute to appreciate it?

Ryan Phillippe

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Selma Blair

Reese Witherspoon

Joshua Jackson

Christine Baranski

and even a cameo by Tara Reid

…. HELLO? ¬†AMAZING!¬†

 

So, anyways, AS¬†I HOPE MOST OF YOU ALREADY KNOW, the ending to this movie is one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces in the history of mankind. It’s literally the 90s-ist thing of all fucking time. AND it happens to be a scene that makes me deliriously happy because it’s about taking down the bad guy.

At the end of the movie (I’m going to try and not give too many spoilers because I want you all to watch this film) ¬†Anyhoo – So, at the end, Ryan Phillippe decides to be a better person, then dies. Oops. That’s a huge spoiler. Anyways, before he dies he gifts his journals to Reece Witherspoon so she can finally get to know the real him, and his past that he’s now ashamed of. In his journals he also describes in-detail what an awful power-hungry, manipulative beast his step-sister Sarah Michelle Gellar is. ¬†Then comes….

THE MOST FABULOUS END-SCENE IS CINEMA HISTORY

cruel1

Ok, so get this: Fake-ass bitch Sarah Michelle Gellar is giving Ryan Phillippe’s eulogy in the chapel of their uppity rich private New York City prep school. During the eulogy, someone runs in and starts calling everyone to come outside because something LIKE TOTALLY HUGE IS GOING DOWN! And then suddenly, in the most 90’s-bliss-filled orgasmic-moment of literally all time, Bittersweet¬†Symphony¬†begins to play. It starts soft, then gets louder.

Students start leaving the chapel one by one, then two by two, then in droves. Fake-ass bitch Sarah Michelle Gellar is getting mad. Really fucking mad. This is her moment in the spotlight after all….

 

She decides to walk outside and find out what’s going on….

walkout

 

 

…Only to discover that Ryan Phillipe’s journal Cruel Intentions¬†has been handed to all the students…¬†

cruel3

 

 

…And in the journal he’s written in-detail about Sarah Michelle Gellar, and how she’s been playing everyone in their school like puppets. Oh, it also reveals her little coke problem and how she stores it in her crucifix necklace (THE SCANDAL!)

cruel 4

 

 

…And the bitch goes down.

Realizing the entire school knows all of her dirty secrets. 

cruel5

 

When you’re having a bad day, when you’re stressed, when you need relief. Watch this.¬†It’s fucking poetry. I use this to make myself feel better. ¬†Almost like a voodoo doll, I put all the negativity and all the people who have wronged me into this scene, and suddenly they’re fake-ass bitch Sarah Michelle Gellar. And one day, they’ll be revealed for the assholes they are.

They’ll see one day, I tell myself. One day, this hard work will pay off. I will be successful. I will be happy. I will achieve my goals. And everyone who has been mean to me and who has hated me… they’ll all see how wrong they were.

Want to see it all go down? Ladies and Gentlemen, VOLUME UP PLEASE. TO THE VERY TOP! AND ENJOY:

 

Let’s all be like Reece Witherspoon driving off, being a total badass!

~ The Dark Horse

( The may have been proofread, I’m not sure. I’m far too giddy over this scene¬†to remember squeal! )

What China Taught Me

WechatIMG3 1

So, I got back from China a month ago, and I realize I still havent blogged about my time there. And I think it’s pretty important to. ¬†So, here it goes: I was there for a summer internship, and I recently returned back to Boston for school.

However, I’ve come back a changed man.

I feel more confident now. More sure of myself. Stronger. Wiser. and…. Well… I’m trying to figure out why.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this new feeling. I love feeling like I’ve somehow reached a new milestone in my life. A new “breakthrough” as the physiology world would like to call it.

And I think I’ve discovered what happened:

I was teaching English with this program. The program was horrible. The other Americans there were racist against Chinese people. They hated China and thought it was so “like totally weird”¬†as one girl put it. And so, I had no choice but to breakaway.

SH sunset

 

I taught my class. I had to obviously. It was how I was making my money in China. But after the schoolday was over, I left. I didn’t hang with the Americans at all. I needed to escape their toxic, and frankly, disgusting fucking attitude towards the world. I still get mad just thinking about it.

Like when my boss…my 35 year old boss who chose to work in China picked up a pair of child scissors, and then said “I wish they made full-sized scissors in this country, but Asians have these damn midget hands” ……

There are so many problems with that, not to mention that my classroom had full-sized scissors, so my boss had either gone his entire 3 years in China using only child scissors, or he just didn’t respect Chinese people (and apparently little people either).

And that was just one of MANY…. Don’t even get me started on the time when my boss brought the two African American teachers into a classroom and said, “We’re doing a scavenger hunt for the students and one of the tasks is to take a picture with someone born in Africa, so they’re probably going to come up to you and ask for pictures… is that ok?”

FIRST OFF: THIS IS COMPLETELY TRUE. PEOPLE, I SHIT YOU NOT.

AND SECONDLY, WHY SAY THAT WHILE I’M IN THE ROOM? HOW STUPID ARE YOU? So obviously, when the two black teachers went and told everyone what he said, I was there to back their story up.

OK. MOVING FORWARD. MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS GOING OFF THE CHARTS JUST THINKING ABOUT THAT FUCKING PROGRAM.

 

ANYWAYS…..

So there I am. In China. I don’t know much of the language. I don’t know a single person. And the one thing that I’m sure of is that I want nothing to do with anyone in my program. I signed up for that program being promised a great way to visit China, make some money, and have a group of friends to explore with.

That wasn’t going to happen…..

So, I ventured out alone. I had no other choice. I couldn’t handle being around a group of people who went, “Squat toilets? OMG EWWWW LIKE, WHERE ARE WE, THE JUNGLE??”

I joined a gym. Gyms are a great way to burn off energy, meet people, stay healthy… and hey, if all else failed, and I literally couldn’t find anything to do, considering I was now in China alone, I could always bum around at the gym for hours.

So, I went to the nearest gym (which was three subway stops away at the China Art Museum Station). I walked in and held up my translation app. I tried showing the words, JOIN, GYM, MEMBERSHIP, WORKOUT, and EXERCISE, but nothing worked. The women at the front desk didn’t understand.

So I mimed the actions of lifting weights. Then I pointed to me. And then I pointed at the ground. Trying to show Me, workout, here. Finally, the women understood. They went and got a trainer to give me a tour. The trainer, named Tommy, was hot as all fucking hell.

PEOPLE LISTEN TO ME -> The young men of Shanghai are like the fucking Asian Adonis.

shum

They’re way taller than any Asian stereotype. They gym like crazy. Their skin is perfect and hair always impeccable.

I stared at Tommy and shook his hand. Oh my god his biceps.

He didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak much Chinese. We toured the gym completely using translate apps.

He would speak into the app: “1,000Rmb for the summer.”

It would translate it to English, and then he would hand me the phone.

I would then say, “1,000 is too much. Make it lower.”

Then it would translate it to Mandarin, and I would hand it back to Tommy.

Something about haggling with an app, rather than face-to-face emboldened me. It was much easier to demand a cheaper price when you didn’t have to look the guy in the eye when asked.

Finally, after much back-and-forth and such, we arranged that I would pay 600Rmb for the summer. A good 400Rmb cheaper than the original offer. After I paid, Tommy, my new gym buddy, had me add him on WeChat (which is like the Chinese WhatsApp…and Facebook…and Instagram…and Apple Pay…it’s kind of like everything, really)

That night, I felt proud. I had just walked into a gym and managed to get a membership and haggle the price, even though I hardly spoke the language at all.

Then, I got a message from Tommy. It was in Chinese, but luckily WeChat has a mode that translates it.

He said he wanted to hangout. He could teach me Chinese and I could teach him English.

Obviously I said yes. How could I turn down a hot straight gym guy who wanted to hang out with me?

I told him yes.

He responded with:¬†Śď•šĽ¨

I translated it, and it read brothers. 

I didn’t immediately know what it meant, but I imagined that it was probably the Chinese version of calling someone “Bro”. The idea that a hot guy called me bro made my heart beat fast… also, it got me a little horny.

 

SH FC 1

My gym was in Pudong, along with my work. So I started visiting areas of Puxi a lot (the other side of the river). I did a lot of exploring around The French Concession, Shanghai’s ¬†trendiest area. It’s tree-lined streets, cafes, and mega-malls were always fun. And it was there that I made another group of friends. I wandered into a bookstore/cafe called The Mix Place.

 

I was walking around, flipping trough books and magazines, blown away by cool this place was. Then a girl next to me, very shyly informed me that the books here are all in Chinese.

I smiled, and said that it was fine. Then I complimented her on how good her English was. She blushed and acted shy. She told me studied a year in America, in San Diego. Then her friends, another girl, and a guy (who of course was fucking hot as hell. How do these Shanghainese guys stay so fucking fit?) We got to talking. I told them about my love of Asian food, and how I fell in love street food like Jianbing and baos.

They were all impressed that I, an American, had ventured into the realm of Shanghai street food. We all swapped WeChats.

Flash-forward a few days, and we were all hanging out again. Running amok all over the city. Imagine one of those movie montages where a group of friends are running around town, eating all the food, laughing, walking through the city lights, and there’s all that fun music playing to much fanfare, hoo-ha, and pfeffernusse.

We tried foods I wouldn’t dare alone. Stinky Tofu, century eggs, Chicken stomach.

We also got amazing treats, like milk tea, bubble tea, duck jerky, soup dumplings, and the list went on.

 

It was a culinary bender of epic proportions.

And we did this A LOT! It wasn’t just once! These people became good friends of mine. We hung out a lot, and It was amazing. They showed me Shanghai. ¬†The ins, the outs. The wonderful, and the even more wonderful.

train

 

On the train, where to next? The options were endless.

 

 

BUT DON’T THINK I STOPPED GOING TO THE GYM! I gymed 5 days a week.

And Tommy was a big help with that. Being able to walk in and get a high-five from that sexy motherfucker was a huge incentive. Then we’d say hi and ask each other how we we’re doing. Then there was this one time when I saw him in the locker room. After his shifts, he would work out… and I saw him in his underwear! (squeal!) ¬†Oh my god. I don’t know what else to say besides that he was just a beautiful work of art.

gif

And then came the day when we actually hung out. We got coffee (but both of us ordered tea) We did a lot of talking through WeChat translate and Google Translate. He always gave me a look though… A look that made me think maybe, just maybe… he wasn’t straight. I never asked him, I liked the silent, multi-language game of cat and mouse we had developed. ¬†Was I his bro? Was he just a super confident and sexy-as-all-hell man? ¬† ¬†… or was he secretly wanting me as much as I wanting him?

 

Through Tommy, I was introduced to more of the Shanghai gym bros. And I have to admit, I developed crushes on all of them. ¬†And here’s the best part: Shanghai has 24 million people. There isn’t much room to have personal space. To solve this problem, the folks of Shanghai just stopped caring about personal space. (How easy is that?) It was totally normal for one of the gym bros to see me in the locker room, while he was completely naked, just chillin out naked, cuz why not? And then just start chatting with me. My eyes would always wander southward… glimpsing at the pecs….the six pack….the adonis belt…. OMG HOW DO THEY DO IT?¬†

 

By the end of the summer, between my French Concession friends, and my gym bros, I had a very full social life in Shanghai. More full than here in America actually…

Is that kind of sad?  Naw.

Anyways, it’s like this: I realized that I built a life for myself in a city I didn’t know, learning the language as I went along. It was a crash course in life. But I did it. I survived.

Nay!…not survived, I thrived!

I said fuck you to the all douchebags around me. They spent their entire summer experiencing “China” only by clubbing with other Westerners in the tourist clubs until 4am, coming back to campus, having to wake up at 730 to “teach”, after class they’d go take their naps, so they could be ready to hit the clubs again that night.

They ended up loving “China” by avoiding China. They stayed in their groups of 10 or more Americans, keeping each other safe and in a bubble that would never be questioned. They were weak.

On the flight home, I thought of Tommy, and the other sexy as fuck gym bros.

blarg

 

And then I thought of my French Concession friends. And how much fun I had running all over the city, eating everything in site.

And that’s when I realized I had balls. 4 years ago I was collapsing from agoraphobia in Australia. The depression I was trying to fix, alone, for the past ten years had finally broken me. The depression brought anxiety, which brought panic, which ultimately led me to lock myself in my apartment, afraid to experience more panic attacks in the outsides world..

But now, I felt like the King of Shanghai.

How time flies right? 

 

~ The Dark Horse

(PS- I’d like to thank Harry Shum Jr. for standing in as my “Tommy” visual representation.)

 

 

 

What I Learned From “Walden”

walde

 

So, every American probably knows about Henry David Thoreau’s classic,¬†Walden; or A Life In The Woods, but better known simply as Walden.

We had to read that book for my rhetoric class, and yesterday was our class discussion on it. In my opinion, Thoreau was an obnoxious asshole who thought he was better than other people, but was actually a spoiled little privileged piece of shit. (You can only imagine how much my class of English nerds loved hearing that…)

The class is cross-sectioned, meaning various majors can take the class because it can be applied to multiple fields, such as English, Crit Lit, Philosophy, and people like me, in the writing program (I however, am the only person in the class from the writing program.)

So there I am, stuck in this class with all these English majors who are trained to read between the lines and are saying things like, “Oh I noticed Thoreau’s use of religious metaphors, I wonder what the Christian context of this book is and how it impacted and influenced Thoreau in his life?”

And in my head, I’m like…. NONE! He literally states in the book that he hates organized religions. Most likely he described the woods as a Garden of Eden because he was writing to America in the 1800’s when almost everyone was a devout Christian, so it was just an easy metaphor!

Ugh… academics are so far up their own fuckin ass sometimes.

walde

 

ANYWAYS, that isn’t what this post is about. It’s about this:¬†

At one point, one of the English major guys was reading his favorite passage from Walden, where Thoreau is listing off all the fauna he sees in the Walden woods.

And the guy reads the word lichen. But he pronounces it as Lich-in even though the word is pronounced as Lie-kin. And I sat there and paused.

Suddenly, memories rushed into my head.

I remembered eating lichen when I was up North in the NWT.

NWT

After I graduated from college in Los Angeles, I was destroyed. I was depressed, lonely, and miserable. I had an eating disorder. I was getting sick all the time. I had a sex addiction. I was collapsing all over the place.

I had also fallen in love with American Transcendentalism, and had already read a bit of Thoreau (and didn’t like him much). I was also reading people like Emerson and Muir. They all praised the ideas of running away into the woods, escaping the trappings of the capitalist lifestyle, and living in the moment.

I searched and searched for a form of redemption. I needed to run away and escape LA. I needed to escape the hell I was living in. ¬†Finally, I found an opprotunity to live up North where my shelter would be provided. I would be living 90 miles away from the nearest road. The only way to and from the lake I’d be living on was hiking it, or float plane. I’d have to make at least a 3 month commitment in order to have my transportation paid for. I would be living in a “Cabin” that was really just a plywood box.

Below are a few pictures for you. When I got really sad, I took chalk and drew on the inside of my cabin walls! It always made me feel happier.

 

Ok, I’m getting lost in thought. ¬†Stay on track, stray on track!

 

So, at one point, we had a group of people from the Dene tribe living with us, bringing the grand total of people living in the woods to a whopping 10.  However, it was better than a few weeks before when there were only 2 of us.  That shit was like The Shining.

NWT

 

OMG, I’m getting off track again.

Look, long story short, we had to live off the land. We grew our own food (The 30 days of light really helped with things growing crazy fast), we hunted moose, we fished for whitefish and Pike. And, it being the Boreal Forest, we foraged. The Far North is loaded with wild strawberries, raspberries, juniper berries, Rosehips, spinach, this green plant that’s sort of like spinach, and my absolute favorite, Saskatoon berries.¬†Saskatoon berries made the best jam in the whole world! Another food source, the Dene told us, was lichen, Reindeer Moss in particular. They showed us many ways to eat it, sometimes simply mixing it into whatever you’ve just cooked to add more nutrition. ¬†I became the foregoing king. Like a truffle pig surrounded by….idk…some really fertile truffle forest i suppose, I could spot a wild berry bush from a mile away.

 

Flash-forward to yesterday: I’m back in the classroom, listening to this beatnik blabber on about how mystical it is that Thoreau found plants in the woods.

And I asked myself… Who actually understands Thoreau better? This English nerd could read Walden 500 times, but he’ll mispronounce lichen every time. Also, has he ever even seen lichen? Has he ever eaten it?

I felt a rush of self confidence come over me. These academics like to think they’re the smartest people in the world. They think they know everything better than everyone else.

But do they? 

How much have they actually been through? What do they really know?

There is a quote, but I don’t really know how it goes. It says something like:

One man grows up sitting inside reading books about knives, another man grows up working in a shed making knives. Which of the two is more likely to cut himself?

Point is, I’m realizing as I get older that I’ve actually done a lot, and I’ve been through a lot. A lot that other people haven’t ever been through. And slowly but surely, my confidence level grows. My self respect increases. I feel more and more worthy.

Yes, I ran away into the woods because I was a complete mess…. but how many people can say they’ve ran away into the woods? How many people grew their own food and caught their own fish? How many people get to see the Northern Lights?

And I think a lot of us are like that. ¬†Those who have been through things like depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, or just being the outcast who had no one to turn to…any and all of it really.¬†

We may not have had the easiest lives, but we got degrees from the school of hard knocks, which taught us valuable lessons. Lessons that maybe we don’t even know we’ve learned yet. And as corny as it sounds, I think that’s worth something.

I think maybe it makes our story all the more interesting.

It’s like the end of that Robert Frost poem:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I‚ÄĒ
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Which again, academics just love to get this one wrong. It’s really popular these days in English classes to teach that Frost didn’t think “the road less traveled” was any more exciting or fulfilling. They say he believed it was simply, different.

To that, I say fuck y’all. That’s just more talk from people who have spent their lives in the plushes of academia.

Was being a complete mess in LA, then losing my mind, and running away into the woods the easy option?

No. of course not.

But then I think about an alternative; The paved, easy path. I wonder what my life would have looked like if I had gone to some big public university in a college town in Ohio or something, joined a frat, drank at parties, and instagrammed it….would that have been a better life? HELL FUCKIN’ NO.¬†

After all, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

 

Keep on walkin’!

~ The Dark Horse