the past

One last look.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”, she said. As I slowly walked away from her desk. Life is all about last looks, this one was no exception.

I imagined myself doing different things with my life. Going on different adventures, then what was happening before me. I never imagined coming back home. I never thought that failing was an option. As I always do, I picked myself up and started over. Starting over by going home until I come back to this fucking city.  I am going home to regroup then come back to this town to be somebody. Anybody then the person I was before. Not the broken person I was when I came here.

Big cities don’t take to kindly to lonely hearts. Broken people don’t always find what they are looking for. But I will be the exception. The exception to the rule.

I walked away from her office and watched the room glitter with the sunlight. The same golden color. The same sparkle from the afternoon sun. What I would give to be outside  but instead, I am saying goodbye to everything that was familiar.

Life doesn’t prepare you for goodbyes. Life doesn’t prepare you for last looks and the words that haunt you after. Instead, you move forward and hope for the best. Praying, wishing, hoping, that all of this will be a distant memory. Just another story to add in the book of life.

It’s been six years since I have been back. Six years and I still feel like like a visitor in my hometown. This doesn’t feel like home but neither did that big city. Which is why I felt the need to burn my bridges and watch them crumble behind me.

Yet, those words haunt me.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

As I make another last look through the glistening rays of the sun behind me.

One day I will. Someday soon.

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Duele.

It doesn’t hurt, I am okay.
No duele.

Jump to your feet.
Dust yourself off.
Pretend it doesn’t hurt.  While the tears are forming at the corners of my eyes.

No duele. No pasa nada.
It doesn’t hurt, everything will be okay.

Be strong. Fuerte. I am bigger than my cuts and my scrapes. Bigger then my falls and failures. Bigger then the embarrassment of the hurt I feel inside.

It doesn’t hurt, no duele.

It hurts. Straight to the core. In the deeper depths of my soul. I could paint the wound any color, but it never stops hurting. How strong am I suppose to be? How strong am I suppose to allow the world to see?

Levantate. No pasa nada. Pero todo duele.

Everything hurts. From my skin to my bones to the very depths of my soul. I have been programmed to make every scrape disappear. Every broken blood vessel nonexistent. But it hurts. It hurts every inch of my skin and I am too afraid to say so. I was brought up to believe that if you can’t see pain, the pain doesn’t exist. Cover up every cut, bandage every bruise and broken bone. If it’s not there, it doesn’t exist.

I will lie through my teeth. Clinching my fists to stop the tears from forming.

It doesn’t hurt.
It doesn’t hurt.
It doesn’t hurt anymore.

No duele tanto. Pero, duele suficiente.

 

What’s wrong baby?

Why are you single?
Why haven’t you dated anyone?
Why aren’t you dating?

So on and so forth.

If I had a nickel for every time I have been asked the above questions. People make it sound so easy. Falling down, dusting yourself off and then trying again. I know everyone means well. At the risk of sounding crazy, I just let people assume what they want to believe. Its easier for people to believe what they want about me, then having to tell them how I really feel. Because how I feel people seldom understand. I feel scared, I feel crazy, and most times I feel completely broken.

Broken in the sense that my past has broken me into a different person. Instead of shaping me into a better version of myself. I find it harder to trust people, because the past has a funny way of coming back to haunt me. When people have hurt you, it takes a while to come back from. I watch how easy it is for my peers to jump from relationship to relationship. Meanwhile, I watch myself still haunted by the past, with it’s broken words and promises. Hurt does that to you. It breaks and bleeds everything you touch. It claws at your insides, until the raw emotion eats at your soul. I was never like this before. I loved this illusion that love gave you. I loved the sappy love songs, the cliche films that remind you what love should look and feel like. I loved this idea of love and the beautiful orchestrated soundtrack it came with. Now I feel like a completely different person. This illusion of love has broken up my insides and rebuilt itself a different person.

How do you tell a stranger you feel broken? How do you describe it in a way that doesn’t scare off the other person? That pieces of you are slowly going back together again, but the pieces have left you shattered and cynical about love. When people ask you the same questions, how do answer truthfully without sounding tragic?

I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to tell a complete stranger that someone broke me down completely. With words that are still tattooed on the inside of my heart and creep out onto my skin. The past is the past, but how can you be honest with someone, when you can’t be honest with yourself. Some days it hurts like hell and I want to claw every piece of flesh on my body. I want to scream out every obscenity until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Because thats what hurt feels like. Even after six years, the words don’t feel so vividly anymore, but they still haunt me. They’re faint insignificant words that still linger after the smoke has cleared. I know that not every one is like that. I know people won’t hurt me as bad as my past was. Still, it hurts and I can’t pretend that it doesn’t.

I feel as if these fingers continue to point at me, and I haven’t a clue what to say when people ask me why I don’t put myself out there. You might as well just state “What’s wrong with you?“. I don’t know how to answer those questions without being honest. Then at the same time, I have this need to keep guarded about my feelings. Trusting people is hard. Especially when your heart has been through a lot. I don’t know how to start a conversation with a stranger and not feel completely broken. People want the truth. People want you to be open and honest.  I know that. Deep down, I know that. I want to be open. I want to say everything I have in my heart. I want a level of trust to return, where I can feel open to be honest. It’s hard for me to be open. It’s hard for me to say how I feel, and instead I change the subject completely.

I am not asking for anyone to pick up my pieces. I just want people to understand that its not easy. It just takes some time to feel like myself again. If it takes me a day, a month, or a year, I know I will feel like myself again. Some days are easier than others. I am not sure if this answers anyones questions or judgments about me, but here it is. These are my cards on the table. Take it or leave it.

12/7/2015

10/2/2015 – Day Thirty.

I have a hard time letting things go. Letting go is hard when its all you have left to hold on too. It’s in my nature to keep everything. Packed away until I am ready to let go. Things I should have thrown away ages ago. Ticket stubs, receipts, letters from people I haven’t talked to in years. Little mementos, relics of the past that seem like absolute clutter and trash to the naked eye, but mean everything to me. I put so much power behind these items that they become characters themselves. Its almost as if these memories manifest themselves into these mementos, that throwing them away throws away those feelings and sentiments.

My life seems so invested in things I felt happened days ago, when in reality its been years. This power I put behind memories, I can’t help but hold on to things hoping to find that magic again. I look at these relics spilled on to the floor, falling out of books/notebooks, and wonder whats missing in my present that can’t help me shake the past. The past wasn’t perfect, I am no where near the person I was back then, and yet I can’t help but be in love with the past. I loved so many things, so many people and as years go by, I watch things fray and fall apart. I find myself romanticizing this nostalgia and everything that came with it.  Seems like only yesterday I was there. Only yesterday my heart was beating faster and I couldn’t shake this feeling in my soul. Even the bad has a beautiful memory, wrapped with a melodramatic soundtrack of my favorite band, and a filter only I could come up with.

Throwing these things away throws away the magic these memories hold. I just want to hold on a little bit longer. I want to hold on to every single word, every single moment, every single memory. Everything. Until I can’t remember a face, a lyric, a name, and a song. Until the band plays it’s last encore and we are left with nothing but the dust of the afterglow. This nostalgia will only break my heart but I can’t help it. I can’t help pretending that everything was once beautiful, even when everything was hurting. I want to be locked in these memories until I have nothing left inside anymore. Holding on to these ticket stubs and holding on to feelings that meant the absolute world to me.

I know this will all disappear. One day I will have to let go of everything that is holding me back. But can I stay here before letters turn to dust and photographs begin to fade. Before we all grow old and completely disappear.

Please?

A bunch of broken parts..

and I can’t seem to find your heart.

It’s always the broken people you can’t forget. The ones so haunted by the past that no matter what they do, they can’t bring themselves to put themselves back together again. How easy for people to forget and turn off their emotions. Just pretend nothing and no one exists, and continue on their days as if nothing has happened. These people were never real to begin with and no matter how many times you try to reach them, they are never there.

I keep knocking on wood, hoping there’s a real boy inside.

Were you ever real? Were you ever truly broken? I have a hard time separating fact from fiction. The more I think about the past, the more I romanticize this nostalgia. Who you were when you’re broken isn’t the person you turned out to be. And yet, I can’t help but keep running back to these broken people. With their hearts on their sleeves, punch drunk off love. Feeling the emotions, I can’t feel anymore.

Could you ever be a real, real boy.

You feel everything then nothing. Then like clockwork you turn off those emotions that made you bold to begin with. How was I to know that I was only knocking on wood? That all my nostalgic ways were built on puppets pretending to be real boys.

I can’t put you back together again.

After all this time has passed, I find myself thinking about you. I no longer feel resentment toward you. I don’t feel hate, I feel nothing. After all this time I know better. I know to stop searching for the broken people that can’t put themselves back together again. Not to go looking for boys that should have grown up to be men. Stop romanticizing the past, with you as a central character. You don’t exist, you were never real to begin with.

You’re not a man, you’re just a mannequin. 

3/17/2007

 

 

 

Flashing Lights.

If something hurts you enough, you pretend it doesn’t exist. The less power you put on something, the more power you want to forget it. I can’t say I miss the past with it’s nostalgic cloud that hangs over me. I can’t say I miss you, without feeling like a fucking hypocrite. I love how memories form in between the liner notes. How melody haunts a montage of memories harbored deep inside of your soul. How people have a way of coming into your life, without physically being there anymore.

I should have said goodbye a long time ago. I should have written this elaborate “dear john” letter the moment things changed. The moment I couldn’t hear songs the same way. The moment I felt I couldn’t be myself anymore. I felt ruined, that a part of me stopped believing in the cliche kitschy things of yesterday. I lost, you won, and everything else that follows, but all of that is old news. This cloud of fog that follows. Opening up a series of smokey destinations, I didn’t know I wanted to exist anymore. Old distant news with headlines of the past.

Smoke and mirrors, and shooting stars. Waiting, wanting, and longing for things that never had a place with me to begin with. Even after all this time, I can’t help but wonder what was the biggest illusion. What was your biggest performance. This belief of being greater and better then the rulers of the past. The lights flash, the lights dim, and I can’t help but still wonder. Even stars fall, even lights dim, eventually the darkest nights make way for the brightest mornings. The further you fall, the closest to the ground you become. All I could ever want is to see you crash and burn, just like the rest of them. Maybe you need to hit rock bottom to see how it feels on the other side.

I would never wish bad things upon you, but I could never wish you well. Seeing the last of our memories behind the glass, in photographs and songs, I just can’t help myself. I was never the good, I was never the light, but I could be the darkness in all it’s glory. I hate myself for believing in all the wrong things. Believing in sinners dressed up as saints in their perfectly tailored suits. Watching the fog clear, watching the smoke disappear and everything has changed. Songs have a different meaning, once you can listen to them again. Melody fills the cracks where the light once hit. Sooner or later, I start to feel like myself again.

I don’t believe in shooting stars, but I never believed in the ghosts of memories you gave me.  You never wanted me to hate you, and I don’t. I just want to forgive then forget you, then move on.

2/15/2009

9/24/2015 – Day Twenty – Seven

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When you love something so much you place it high upon a pedestal. High above the sky it becomes completely untouchable. Nothing can beat this thing, this moment, this feeling is untouchable. Others have tried, failed, and been nothing but cheap imitations of what you hold dear. When you’re young nothing can reach you, no matter how hard people try. Nothing and no one can come between what you love. I have done a lot of foolish things in my life, but nothing I regret. I loved and I lost, and I put feelings into things that weren’t certain. That’s human nature and as much as you escape the past, all you can do is move forward.

I love a lot of things, but as I got older this love changed as the images did on this status symbol. I loved a lot of bands, a lot of people, and a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have.  A part of me wants to hate these images of the past, but the more I close my eyes wanting to forget, I can’t. The foundations of this pedestal is crumbling down and with it, I want to watch all the memories come tumbling down as well. Yet, I find myself disappearing to fix and fill the holes in the foundation. I hated this band for all the reasons I shouldn’t, then loved it for all the reasons I should. In your memories nobody ages, everyone remains the same. You keep conversations in your head and faces sealed in glass cases of everything you want to remember. Even if it hurts you, you still want to keep it. Close to you, when you need it the most.

Few grey hairs later, pit scars healed, and ear drums finally back to normal; I think of this band. This band that seemed completely untouchable. That could do no wrong in my eyes. Even when the worst was bad, I still had the music to hold me through. As I sit in this seat on my way to see them for the first time in years, I get nostalgic for them. I hated this band for so many things through the years, that it’s taken me a great deal of time to come to terms with how I feel. When you grow up you forget that everyone else has too. Maybe in a way this was my sad attempt of holding on to the past, that I have desperately tried to escape. While I have alienated legions of former friends, I realized I missed that nostalgic connection of recollection. Listening to albums and singing every word puts you right back where you started. An insecure person afraid of the world but in love with literal words that are entangled in melody. I am too old to wish to be 18 again. Too old to sleep on floors and dissect every words in every song.

Today, I am transported back to a time where being stuck between lines of a song, and singing along with your best friend was all you could ever ask for. For a moment, I could live forever. Even if it’s just for a day.

Seventeen.

I was too young to understand what it means
I couldn’t wait til I could be seventeen

I don’t want to grow up.

I find myself rushing the natural order of things. I want the respect, the prestige, but I don’t want everything else that comes after. How can I be told what to do, but not understand all the reasons? When we’re young, we are in a rush to get older. Every thing is better once we hit a certain age. Life happens when you get older. Life comes together when you reach a certain age. Everything makes sense and nothing ever hurts. Reaching all those certain milestones in our lives. We rush to grow up, rush to get older. We want to experience every single thing we are missing. Because life out there is happening and we are missing it! Grow up to get older to tell these amazing stories about our lives. I couldn’t wait. I wanted everything and then nothing to happen all at once. The fear of new experiences and the reality of expectations. It didn’t matter what age you were, you were never quite a grown up. It didn’t matter how much you felt you were living, you still weren’t there yet.

I thought he lied when he said take my time to breathe

I wanted to bypass everything. Fast forward through the school years, jump forward to the years where I felt like something was actually happening. Away from this stuck feeling. Away from these four walls that no matter how many pictures are put up, they’re only there to be torn down. All the boys that I thought I would never forget and now I can’t even remember what their faces looked like. To my friends that said we’d be friends forever, now a days we don’t even talk anymore. All those things I thought I didn’t love, now I just want back in my life. I didn’t know that what I wanted then, would turn out differently in the end. What I thought I wanted changed through the years, to make me something I would have hated when I was younger. I crossed these bridges to burn them down, only to slowly patch them back up again. Only to rebuild the bridges brick by brick. I wish I knew then, what I know now. I wish that I could go back and start this all over again.

At Seventeen, I thought I had it all figured out. At any minute life would change before my very eyes, and I would be someone completely different.  I didn’t know all of this was the beginning. How silly and foolish to believe I could rush these memories. Rush these experiences, when now I am just playing catch up and make up. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I thought I had everything I always wanted. Now I cherish every memory like a photograph sitting in a frame. Now I have to make amends that you can start over at any age, but you’ll never go back to being seventeen again.

And sometimes I miss it.

Now I wish I could freeze the time at seventeen

Photograph.

I want to leave a piece of myself in every place that I go. In oceans, in woods, in big cities many people call home. Roam the earth and haunt the streets. Kiss a thousand strangers and leave my feet firmly planted on the ground. Beneath the streetlights that illuminate night skies. Where nothing feels as broken as you feel. Where everything feels like a completely new beginning and experience.  Leave pieces of myself in everyone that has left ghosts of their former selves with me.

Nostalgia, why do you continue to let me down? Letting me believe that photographs are what is left of our memories of the past. That something so simple is left time stamped in a photographic memory. The sooner the years pass, the sooner we leave our memories behind us. Deep rooted in the ghost towns of our minds, where words are never spoken but constantly replayed melodies form instead. I watch the cities that I love, continue to sky rocket and change with the times. Meanwhile, I watch the town I grew up in flourish then turn to dust. I watch the ghosts of my past fill the empty spaces with open arms and hollow expectations.

All these photographs I keep of people long forgotten in stories I can only tell myself. Of cities larger than my hometown. Of boys that played games with my heart that turned into men that always broke my heart. Photographs scattered and framed in a million places waiting for a retelling of a nostalgic fairy tale. Friendships that would last forever, until we grew up and become the opposite of what we were afraid of. A piece of me in every frame of the photographs that keep hidden in my memory. It’s the only place I don’t feel alone, it’s the only place I don’t feel broken.

Let me leave these pieces of me in everywhere I go.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

12/20/2010

8/31/2015 – Day Seventeen.

I have a problem with my wrists. It’s something that I can’t exactly figure out. I stare at my wrists more than humanly possible, as if they are going to change in appearance or size. I memorize the veins and how visually transparent they seem against my skin. I feel the cracks in the bones and how phantom the pains from the past can come knocking. Sometimes they ache when they bend, but most of the time I am making something out of completely nothing.

Through the years, I see scars that were once scabs on my skin healing. Understanding from salt of words that never allowed themselves to heal properly. I remember wanting to tattoo sleeves on my arms to hide all the bruised scars, so nobody would find them. Where not even I could place the tiny lines that haunt my skin. Lines that no longer exist to the naked eye but always exist to me. I could tie a thousand ribbons on my wrist to hide from all this pain. I could paint a thousand words and sayings to take this grief from forming. I could lie to a million people that look toward my skin as a badge of honor. Some days it feels like a loss instead of an honor. I can’t help but feel guilty that I seem to always do this to myself.

Only I know my scars secrets. I know its whispers that call on me to remember things long forgotten. All the stories that come forth every time a new scar forms. I am better than this. I am stronger than these scabs that turn to scars and leave my stories on my wrists. Yet, I sit here thinking of stupid shit I should have forgiven myself long ago. I forgive myself countless times, but just muster the courage to forget.

Because I never forget.