Late nights with my brother

A memory just popped up in my head as I was humming an old tv theme song in my head

I thought of that summer before my brother was sent away to a treatment center; it was the last time we had spent any quality together; I was out of school so I would stay up late in the night watching tv; sweating from the hot summer heat that seemed to be relentless. I have little snippets of memories which I am sure from different times; this isn’t coherent so I’ll just write what I remember as it’s in my head

I was about 12 at the time and I remember my brother smoked cigarettes back then and I have this memory of him going in the backyard; by his bedroom window; out of view of my parents. I thought he was so cool and I will never forget stepping outside one late night; being curious and asking him for a cigarette.; he obliged. I took a long drag and coughed; they were Newports; which are probably the worst cigarettes to start out with; it’s like smoking mouthwash.  Anyways I got that really dizzy buzz you get from your first cigarette but I felt cool and I wanted to be like him. I’m sure if my parents had found out they would have been so mad.

I remember we would watch a lot of tv; like old shows on Nick and Nite. At the time they were running episodes of Welcome Back Kotter and Taxi ( this was 1995) and I always loved the theme songs more than the actual tv shows; they were magical.  Or sometimes we’d turn the volume down and make fun of the tv shows. I had one of those mini tape recorders and we might do skits or slow down the audio of a tv show and laugh our heads off; we had a lot of fun. Just little memories like seeing those Time Life commercials for “Hits of the 70’s” or whatever.  It’s etched in my mind. They had songs like “All right now” by Free and “More than a feeling” by Boston; I have been trying to find that commercial on YouTube to no avail.  I even remember watching the very last episode of Full House one night with my brother during that summer.

Although there were good times where I felt close with; there were dark times too.  Sometimes my brother would just say I gotta go; don’t tell them; I’ll be back soon. When he left late at night; I would always get worried because I knew he was up to no good. I knew he was seeing friends that were bad influences but what could I do I was only 12.  I just would get a knot in my stomach when he’d go; I wanted him to stay with me; home where it was safe. And he’s come back giggling; looking spaced out and I knew he was on drugs. And I wondered if he was high all those times we had laughs and bonded; did he even remember it?. I really loved my brother but not like this; it broke my heart and if I could back in time I would have tackled him to the ground and forced him to stay home and never talk to those druggy assholes again but of course I was a kid and he never would have listened to me.

Less than 2 years later my brother would be dead; he took his own life and I miss him everyday; he was my best friend. This week is national suicide awareness and although I talk about my brother a lot; I will use this post to honor him.

I love you Joe

 

And every time I hear the Taxi theme and those late nights watching tv; I think of you and the last summer we ever hung out together.

 

 

Goodnight Mr Walters

The toxicity of social media

I have struggled for the longest time with social media ( and I’m mainly talking about Facebook); I use it too much; I take it too seriously and because of my anxiety I tend to overshare and at times share things that are too personal; I regret that. I mean, it has been great to reconnect with old friends and get support but it comes with a price.  Seeing old faces brings up painful memories about the past and since they live so far away; I cannot connect in person unless they are in town ( which has happened on a few occasions and when I traveled back home ) At the same time it’s nice to have a virtual support network but it would nice to have someone to have lunch with and talk; give them a  hug and hear their voices; as opposed to a like or comment on a Facebook status;  I need those social cues or else there is a lot of room for misinterpretation; online communication it’s not the same; so it’s frustrating a lot of the times.

A lot of times I will share deeply personal writings on social media because people have given a positive responses in the past and it has given them insight into who I am.  But Facebook is funny; sometimes I can share a piece of writing and get a lot of reactions and comments; even messages and other days I can share similar pieces and get nothing; 2-3 hours roll by and nothing; no feedback, no likes; just silence. It used to confuse me; why do other people seem to get reactions to similar posts but mine are ignored? Are people actively ignoring me; did I share something offensive? Are they annoyed?  Have they stopped caring? It just creates all of this anxiety and paranoia and it really affects me; it makes me feel as if I am being unheard.  Even messages get ignored and I start wondering if people have stopped liking me: I take it personally. What really annoys me is Facebook has this little icon informing you the person saw the message. Who would create such a thing; it really messes with your self esteem because it means someone opened the message and decided not to respond; what creates more anxiety than that?  At least email and text leaves that mystery and that glimmer of hope that maybe they just didn’t have time to respond. So this creates a lot of anxiety; I feel anxious just writing about it.

Sometimes I get sad about it other times I get angry and lash out.  I just want to note that I communicate a lot with childhood friends who I really care about; I love them and their opinions really matter to me even if I haven’t seen them in yeas.  I guess my feelings are so strong that it causes a hurt reaction when I feel they aren’t responding to my posts; especially about my brother or mental health struggles. I remember a few months ago I called out people in a  Facebook status who I thought didn’t care about what I had to say; in a mean way I told them they never cared about me or my brother ( who died) all because they failed to respond; I was really hurt at the time and going through a period of reliving the past because I was getting ready to visit back home after not being there for over 10 years. I ended up unfriending a lot of people who I cared about; who hadn’t actually done anything to me.  My trip back home was healing and someone had sent me some old photos with some of the friends who I had accused of not caring. I had a change of heart and re-added them; one of them messaged me and she was really upset. She basically said that some people don’t use Facebook as much and don’t always see posts; which is very true when I sat back and thought about it. And then she said something that stuck with me. She said that how she was on social media doesn’t reflective how she felt about me or my brother or family in real life and that made a whole lot of sense; that sometime we get lost in the online world and fail to realize that it oftentimes has little bearing on our true feelings if that makes any sense. I am grateful she said that and she decided to be my friend again on Facebook.

Lately though I have been getting frustrated at again at the lack of response; I found myself again making negative posts; annoyed because I was getting silence again. This time I rethought about it and I realized maybe it wasn’t my friends I was upset at; maybe it was social media itself. Maybe it’s the stupid algorithm where no one ever sees my posts and I don’t see theirs. Maybe it’s the fact that 90% of the time all I see is irrelevant information from liked pages or unreliable news sources ( I have seen the video of the cow stuck in the fence a thousand times), maybe it’s a system where I see the same kinds of posts over and over again and all of it is based on popularity ( the amount of comments).  I thought it doesn’t make sense for someone to like all your posts on Monday and actively ignore all your posts on Tuesday; unless I have upset them and as far I know I go out of my way to encourage people and be positive so that can’t be the case.  Social media has caused so much damage to relationships and society at large and I am an impulsive person; I never want accuse people of not caring or hurt them anyway again; so I prefer to be angry at the source; social media itself and not the people on it.

I feel Facebook is real addictive and I have an issue with compulsive behavior ( the blog included) I checked my Facebook hundreds of times a day ( especially when I am stressed; which is all the time). I ended comparing myself to others; seeing their families, relationships and careers made me feel so inferior ( and I felt inferior to them before social media) and it increased my depression. I also felt bad I used it so much when everyone else seem to be in control. When I went back home I stayed with a friend and talk about Facebook sometimes; she basically said “Oh i don’t use it that much and not many people do either”. I felt like my usage was out of control and I took it too seriously. But I also realized how isolated I was and that using Facebook was a way for me to reach to  my friends. I came back home; determined to use it less but it ended continuing to use Facebook at a higher rate.  I even read an article that Facebook notifications give us a dopamine rush and liken it to a slot machine. When we share a post; it’s like pulling that lever and we may not get a reaction every time but we pull that lever over and over again until we get a reward ( a like or comment) and that  creates the addictive cycle.  Even the creators admit that social media was created to be addicting; so it’s not in our heads. Social media addiction is a real thing. I’ll never forget that when MySpace came out ( 200 years ago); I was sitting with a friend in his basement and I was checking MySpace. He rolled his eyes and said “oh i don’t use that”; as if he was better than me.  This was a guy who was incredibly good looking and had different girls every day of the week; I guess he didn’t need it; he wasn’t lonely like me. I felt like such a loser at that moment and no one was talking about social media addiction at the time ( I don’t even think it was called social media at the time).  It was prophetic moment.

So I decided to deactivate my Facebook temporarily; I’ll be back on my birthday in 2 weeks (I’m sorry I need those birthday wishes lol) I am keeping my Instagram and blog.  I want to make a few observations so far ( it has been about 5 days); I notice a lot more interactions on Instagram and my blog.  I am more connected with writers on IG and they have been really responsive about my writings; I get more likes and comments and there seem to be more active users than on Facebook; people are better at responding to messages too.  And I could be wrong but Instagram seems to be a much more positive place; a lot of users sharing their writings or inspiring accounts of disabled instagrammers sharing their stories; I love it. I don’t see many advertisements or irrelevant information like on Facebook. I also noticed that friends who would ignore me on Facebook would react to my posts on Instagram which makes me realize they do like me and aren’t ignoring me; it’s just they haven’t seen my posts.  So I can breathe a sigh of relief and say the only Facebook friend I am angry at is Mark; because he just wants my data; is hindering communication with my friends and is only interested in money. Sadly he’s the only I can’t unfriend.   I suggest to anyone struggling with social media to give yourself a break; deactivate your account ( keep messenger so you’re not completely cut off) and find one social media platform that you like the most and just use that.  I am trying to gain some perspective and figure out my purpose with Facebook; because there are benefits when used in moderation.

Stay safe online my friends

Dave

 

By the way- There is a huge hurricane coming here this week so if I don’t post for a while; the power may be out and I won’t have access to a comupter. Or I’m in the curled up in a ball in a pitch black room; freaking out and crying my eyes out but let’s hope that doesn’t happen lol.   Oh Florence just stay away from me…..

 

Oh and for anyone interested my Instagram is  davethewriter18

https://www.instagram.com/davethewriter18/

 

Suicide awareness walk

About a year ago, a friend of mine made a post of her making a walk for suicide awareness and decided to honor my brother who had taken his life over 20 years ago; I was beyond touched.  I had no idea such a walk existed and I just remember having a very strong emotional reaction; on the verge of tears that someone would think of me during that walk. Sadly she lives far away or else I would have given her a big hug in person because it meant to much to me ( luckily when I visited back home, I was able to give her that hug and talk to her again).  I also felt frustrated that I lived so far from my friends who knew my brother and care so much about me; I wanted to go on that walk with her and some of my other friends; I felt cheated being stuck here especially since the walk is only once a year and I didn’t know it was nationwide.

After that I looked into the walk and was happy that there was a walk in my city but I was hesitant because I don’t know anyone here except for my family.  So I put it out of my mind; wondering if I just go to my hometown for a day ( it’s a 6 hour drive) just to go to walk with my friends who have been so supportive.  A few weeks back I looked at the website for the walk ( out of darkness) and saw a date of October 20th; which would give me plenty of time to prepare on an emotional level.  I decided right then I would go and I tried to find out if there was anyone in the area that might want to go with me.  I thought of a former co-worker that I was friends with.  A little backstory: in my old job there was a young man in his early 20’s; smart guy, good looking, studying to be a lawyer; someone who was going to be successful; in every respect he seemed alright to me.  I had been there a year and it was the anniversary of my brother’s death and I walked in and I was told that Drew was dead and he took his own life; I was devastated; both by the bad news and the fact that it happened on the date of my brother’s death.  So after that tragic event; I bonded with this co-worker we talked about it a lot and I could tell she was very sensitive.  I asked her to go on the walk but she was busy that day but I will walk in Drew’s honor and being thinking of him and my co-worker who I care about.   I asked a few other people and was finally able to get another friend to go with me; which means a lot to me; a very kind gesture. She knew my family but not very well but we talked when I founded out she lived in the area.  I plan on asking my pastor and whoever else feels comfortable going with me. I am grateful for anyone who will be walking with me but I really wish I was at home to walk with the friends I was close to; I need their support.

Although I hope this walk will be healing; it causes a lot of anxiety for me. It brings up a lot of painful memories and I have been struggling a lot lately.  I get anxiety attacks and my sleep has been disruptive; I keep thinking about the past and how well this walk with go. How will I react? Will I cry? Have a breakdown? Embarrass myself? And what makes it worse is there is no one here that understands. I can’t go out with friends to dinner and talk about it because they don’t live here.  I feel totally isolated and alone; I don’t talk about my brother with people outside of the circle of people who knew him ( except for a therapist and my blog followers); no one around me has a clue. I mean, sometimes I might say my brother died but after that I never give them an explanation.   I plan on seeing my therapist soon and telling her my feelings about this because it’s causing a lot of stress. I know I have to turn to God in these moments and pray for peace and comfort. I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who care about me because it’s makes all the difference.  Just keep me in your thoughts as I go forward into this walk, thanks.

 

 

 

IMG_20180907_192654_988.jpg

Sunrise ( Memories)

I met them in the fall/winter of ’95; I remember thinking all the guys were cool and I had crushes on the all the girls; my brother was there for his issues with drugs.  I was 12 at the time.  I admired the camaraderie; I guess that comes from teenagers all living in the same house ( even if it was a drug treatment facility) and I was jealous of it since I didn’t have many friends of my own; my brother was a likeable guy.  We used to go there on occasion to bring food; I missed my brother when he was there ( even though he was only 15 minutes away); I still missed having him in the house but I was glad he was safe.  They all went to meetings together and I think I went to one to observe or maybe it was a get together for the treatment center;  but it seemed more like a social gathering than an AA meeting; I thought it was pretty cool.

2 years later when my brother died; they were all the house and it was a strange feeling; I was sad but at the same time all these girls I had crushes on were hugging me and saying how sorry they were; I felt bad that I liked the attention. That was 20 years ago so I can’t remember any of their names or faces ( except for 1) so all I can do is remember the feelings I had.  They seemed like good kids and they were really sad; I think that even though they knew him for a short while; they really grew to like him and if you know him you’d understand why. I think a couple times we went to visit their parents but that was it; they didn’t come to visit and moved on with their lives ( which is to be expected)

About 3 years later I myself started to attend 12 step meetings and I look back and wonder why. I mean, I don’t think I was an addict ( I used it to escape but it was on occasion and infrequently). I truly believe a part of why i joined was the friendships I had seen my brother made; I wanted that.  So I was lonely and have been seeking a group to belong; because I always questioned whether I should have been there in the first place.  I went to this church in Alexandria and I saw some of them. Wait maybe one of them picked me up; that could have been it.   But I know one of the girls I really liked was there and i was talking to someone he knew as well. I was shy at the time (especially around girls) and had difficulties socializing.  I just sat and puffed on cigarette after cigarette.  I always had the feeling that they were not comfortable with me after everything that happened; like I was a reminder of my brother’s death; which was sudden, painful and left more questions than answers. I had gotten in trouble a few weeks before and they were going to send me away to school like 6 hours away. I clearly remember for whatever reason telling this beautiful friend of my brother that I was leaving and if she could write me; I don’t think she ever did and I made no attempts to contact anyone of them.  I felt hurt that I couldn’t connect with these people even though I barely knew them. And that was that; I never heard or saw any of them again; even though a year later I joined another 12 step group but none of them were there.

Around 2010 I joined facebook and found some of them and requested and I saw what they were up to but I just wasn’t interested in reconnecting with these people and they probably were not interested in connecting with me.  I think the one girl I really like had gotten married and moved to Ireland. Most of them had gotten married and had kids and careers; a part of that made me sad that they had moved on and my brother never got that chance; he could have been married with kids just like them. I often wonder whatever happened to them and wonder why today they crossed my mind. I wonder if they ever stop and think about us; if only for a brief second. I’m not intending on connecting with them but sometimes I wonder. You know?

Mike’s bad day ( A short story)

This is my first attempt at writing fiction/short stories

Mike woke up from another sleepless night; he could barely open his eyes and could barely turn off the ringing alarm that had jolted him out of his peaceful slumber. Shit, another day; he thought as he got up to brush his teeth. Mike didn’t want to go to work; he wanted to stay in bed and just forget the last 6 months. Mike’s wife Julie had left him in August; taking the kids and staying with her sister. His drinking got in the way of their marriage; and before Mike had gotten sober and entered recovery; it was too late. Too many late nights with her waiting up for Mike; too many broken promises; a night where Mike ended up in a jail cell after a bar fight; Julie had had enough and did whatever she could to protect her children; she had left before but this time she was serious. Mike called his sponsor; letting him know he’d be at the meeting tonight and he’d make coffee. Mike hurried out of the apartment; realizing he was late for work and forgetting to walk and feed the family dog.

Mike walked towards the subway; passing by a neighborhood bar; not today he thought. Mike got on the train and was greeted by commuters buried in their phones; an old man reading a newspaper; a homeless mumbling to himself; making everyone uncomfortable; just another morning commute. Mike arrived at work; he worked for an insurance company uptown. He tried to sneak in before his boss noticed; his boss was such a prick; an arrogant asshole who got off on the power of being in charge.

Mike sat at his desk and tried to look busy but all he could do was think about was everything that was going wrong in his life. All of a sudden Mike’s boss; John; woke him from his daydream. Mike, can we talk in my office? This doesn’t sound good; he thought. Mike sat down in the office chair that seemed a lot lower than the desk; another way for this guy to assert his power. Mike, said John. As you know; we really appreciate the work you have done in the past. But lately your work has been slipping; you seem distracted ever since your problems at home. We have warned you several times that you haven’t been as productive as we expect; you come in late; you leave early; you use the company phone for personal calls. And there just seems to be a problem with your attitude; you don’t want to be a team player; I have been approached by many of your co-workers and they have also noticed that you are irritable and easily upset. This is a positive work environment; we are like a family here and there is no room here for your negative vibes ( before working in insurance; John was a former surfer from California and still used the lingo to appear relatable to those younger than him) But Mike I don’t know how to say this. No, Mike thought. Please God no; I now what he is going to say. This is the last thing I need. Mike, John said, I have no choice but to let you go; it saddens me to say this. So I want you to clear out your desk by the end of the day. NO!! Mike, said. You can’t do this!! This job is all I have left and you know this. I’ll work more hours; I’ll never be late again; hell, if you want to demote me; I can live with that. But don’t take away my job. Mike was on the verge of tears but he wouldn’t allow himself to cry and look weak in front of this man; no way. After 20 minutes of being belligerent; Mike was finally escorted out of the building; humiliated and unemployed.

Mike hung his head low and took that long walk back to the subway; heading to the apartment he would eventually be evicted from; this firing would be the last straw and Julie would never come back with the kids; He thought about ending it all ( it has crossed his mind) but decided he was too scared and he wasn’t going to do that to the kids. Mike took the subway ;got off and walked towards his apartment. He reached for his phone to call his sponsor right as he passed by the bar he had managed to avoided for the last 6 months. As Mike went to make the call; something in his mind broke. He thought of all the anguish; the pain of his wife leaving and getting fired; sitting on the cold floor in the jail cell; seeing his wife walk away as she refused to bail him out of jail. That bitch; don’t leave me here. And a phrase popped in his head that had been his motto most his life : “fuck it”.

Mike found himself walking into the bar; as if someone magnetic force had lead him there. Mike found himself sitting at the bar; ordering a beer; he knew this was a bad idea; he knew he couldn’t just have one drink; soon he’d would be off to the races. He rubbed the 6 month AA chip in his pocket but he knew it was too late. The bartender handed him the beer and all Mike could do was stare at it; still in disbelief that he was in a bar again and not knowing what would happen next. He slowly took the glass to his lips and took his first sip; he had forgotten how much he hated beer; it tasted like piss but that didn’t matter; he just wanted to forgot. He drank beer after beer; 2 beers; 3 beers; 4 beers; escaping into a drunk oblivion; staring at the football that was on tv. He hated sports and wondered why they didn’t turn on the news instead. Mike realizing he had enough; stumbled towards the entrance; patrons were snickering at his inebriated state; not realizing this was the worst day of Mike’s life.

Mike had been at the bar for hours; it was now past 9 pm and Mike was feeling lower than he ever had. Mike in his drunkenness realized that he had fucked up; he recalled all of those AA slogans ( get coming back, it works if you work it); reading the big book on the train; the woman; Michelle: who had taken interest in him and who he thought could replace Julie; he thought about the feeling of elation as he walked to get his 6 month chip; that he had worked so hard to get. Mike knew he thrown it all away but it was one day at a time and he could always pick up his 1 day chip tomorrow but first he need to get home; take a shower and crawl into bed. Mike walked the several blocks back home and felt a drop of rain and heard thunder. Great Mike thought; just what I need. As Mike walked further; a storm began as the rain poured on him; completely soaking him; lightening in the distance. Mike was ready to start over again the next day; Mike would call his sponsor once he woke up and together they would figure a way of this mess. I’ll be ok; thought Mike. As Mike went to open the door handle of his apartment lobby; a bolt of lightening came from the sky; right onto Mike’s frail drunk body; killing him instantly. Mike lay dead on the entrance steps as the homeless man he had seen on the train; walked by. He mumbled to himself ” Just another drunk like me” as he passed; laughing his head off.

PORN: A VIRGIN’S PERSPECTIVE ( Reblogged)

Please take the time to read this blog by BeautybeyondBones.  She is a great blogger who is open about her faith and I am always blessed to read her posts. I can sum up by saying this post is  a beautiful person speaking about ugly reality in our society. Please take a look

Note- I tried to reblog the normal way but there was no option so I had to simply copy and paste ( the best I could do)

 

https://beautybeyondbones.com/2018/05/10/porn-a-virgins-perspective/#comment-83272

Porngraphy is destructive

porn-cellphone

For many years I struggled with watching pornography; it is everywhere these days; you can’t escape it. There are thousand of free porn sites that anyone ( including those that are minors) can access without any age restrictions; and it isn’t just vanilla porn; it’s hardcore pornography; anything you can think of within legal limits is available mostly for free online. It all too easy to become addicted.  And if it isn’t pornography; it’s sensual videos on YouTube ( a lot female youtubers tend to flaunt their sexuality; mostly to attract male viewers) or it’s half naked girls on Instagram or any other social media; just a never ending stream of lust. It almost makes you sick; you see women as objects; you don’t care about their brains and what they have to say; it’s about their bodies.  I used to use a metaphor for it; it’s like putting a drug addict in a room and there is a constant stream of free drugs; anything he wants; anytime of day; free of charge.   I started thinking to myself; what is this doing to my mind? How is this affecting the way I view women.   How do I see myself seeing this endless stream of scantily clad woman all day everyday; and not real women mind you; but pixels and videos; not reality.?  I think it got to the point where I couldn’t look women in the face because I felt so much shame at seeing women degraded and abused on a daily basis. I mean how can you relate and have relationships with women when you see them as objects; spit on, kicked, called names, in pain while the crew and cameramen around them laugh at their expense?  Something inside of  me started feeling hurt by watching this; I was hurt for these women.  A thought came to me that at one point they were all little girls; did they dream that one day they’d be having sex on camera for millions to see; to be abused on screen; at risk for contracting AIDS and other diseases; having their family and friends possibly find out about their porn acting and be ostracized ( I read about one young girl who took her own life because a college classmate found her porn audition video; heartbreaking), having those behind the camera making twice as much while the pornstars take all the risks. Is money worth losing your soul over?  But something amazing happened when I stopped looking at pornography so much; I automatically respected women more; I saw them less as objects and more as human beings worthy of my respect and admiration. I want to connect with women; I want to relate them; I want to understand women because I felt so bad about watching all of this garbage over the years.  It lead me other unhealthy behaviors that I regret; porn  is sort of like the gateway drug to other things.  For me personally when I turned my life to God; it’s as if he freed me from that addiction.  I felt less of a need to look at it because I saw it as ugly and against the kind of life that Jesus would want to me to lead.. I don’t want to preach or demand that porn be banned; because that will never happen. Adults have a legal right to do whatever the hell they want to do but this is something I have wanted to write about for a long time. I want people to see how destructive porn is; how many lives it has ruined; suicides; drug overdoses; aids, ; murders; a huge rate of death within the adult film industry and none of that matters to the pornographer because there will always a cute 18 year girl right out of high school; ignorant to the world that they can use; abuse and throw out like yesterday’s garbage; it’s heartbreaking. I mean this is an industry that refuses to have their workers wears condoms; in this day and age where there is still no cure for AIDS and the rest of us have to use condoms to protect ourselves from disease; the porn industry only cares about money and will put performers at risk to line their greedy pockets; they don’t care who dies as a result of their wickedness. So I for one chose to stay away from pornography; I want a healthy relationship with a woman; I want to feel better about myself. I don’t want to contribute to the abuse and degradation of women; I have respect for them and have many female friends; they are more than objects; they are people I care about it. So I hope I have been honest in this post; this was difficult to write but I feel I needed to say it.

As always, Thank for listening

Dave

Suicide survivor ( My brother Joe)

 

This may be the toughest blog I’ll ever write but I am a survivor of suicide; my brother committed suicide when I was 14 and I was left behind. I think for years I felt shame about what happened with him; like it was a reflection and me and my family. I felt that when I talked about my brother and how I felt; people thought I was just seeking attention. I needed attention in the sense that I was seeking empathy and love from others; most of the time I went about it the wrong way; acting out and alienating myself from everyone around me. I just wasn’t equipped mentally or emotionally to deal with such a thing. My brother had been having problems with mental health and drugs for a long time before he committed suicide; in fact he wasn’t living with us and hadn’t been a part of my life for over a year. He was in treatment centers and juvenile hall; living on the street and crashing at people’s houses. So in a sense he had died way before his actual physical death; because I never saw him. When my brother came back from the treatment center I was so happy because I thought the fighting would over and he would stay sober and he could be my brother again; but that never happened. I loved my brother but he was troubled soul He became a ghost; I’d wake up for school and he’d be gone; I got back and he was still out; he’d pop into sleep when I was in bed and be gone in the morning. When he started spending time at church again’ i was relieved; I thought this is good; he can’t get in trouble there. But I think once he got back into school the asshole dealers; pulled him back to using again; and I think he was torn between trying to stay sober and going back to his addiction I worried about him all the time; thinking he would leave and never come back. I used to stare out the window; waiting for him to come home. It was weird because it went from yelling and fighting all the time to complete silence; he was totally different person and I couldn’t figure out why; but now that I have the information; it makes more sense. It just felt like a long nightmare; 2 years of this. I don’t wish that on any kid; to deal with this all time; thinking your brother might end up dead someday. I figured they’d find him dead from a drug overdose or maybe someone on the street would hurt him; but I never could imagine suicide. I just remember that the day he died changed my life forever ( I don’t want to go into details; so I won’t) But I found out he died and someone immediately picked me up and got me away from this chaotic scene. I came back and all these people were in my house; crying and upset and I was numb. Totally fuckin numb and angry; no tears. I went to my room to play music because I couldn’t deal with it. Later I was told what happened and I guess I was just confused; I mean it’s all a blur; I don’t remember shit. I just figured maybe writing would help people to understand what happened and how I felt. I may regret writing this someday because it is all so personal. I just miss my brother so damn and I’m still torn up inside. I don’t want to be strong or amazing; I just want my fuckin brother back. You know? It’s been 21 years on this Friday; I still can’t believe it’s been that long. He should be here; married with kids; a career; something. He had so much potential and now he’s gone. I just wish he had held on because I loved him and he had many friends that loved him. It took me years to forgive him; I was so angry. But now I feel for him because he was hurting so bad and no one understood. I just wish he had said something; why didn’t someone do something? I have nothing left to say.

Why am I always on my phone?

For the longest time I didn’t have a smartphone because I couldn’t afford one and I didn’t want to end up like all the other people; buried in their phone; not paying attention to their surroundings and being immersed in social media.  Now I have become one of those people; I am constantly on my phone; posting updates; looking at news; sharing photos on Instagram of my boring life. For the first time in my life I feel connected at all times; I don’t have to run home to get my internet fix; it’s in my pocket.  And while being connected is great; it comes with a downside. I sadly admit I have a very addictive personality; everything that makes me feel good; I overdo.  And I think my phone has become a crutch; every time I am bored or sad or frustrated; I turn to my phone; especially social media.  I work in retail and it can be unbearable from the minute I walk in to the moment I leave.  I get sensory overload; so I’m overwhelmed by the sounds of the customers or the phones ringing or the terrible piped in music that they play all day long in a loop; which is annoying and entirely too loud by the way.  Before I had no source of comfort; so I just had bear it and my anxiety would be sky high; like having anxiety attacks all day long. Now whenever I feel the least bit uncomfortable; I turn to my phone. If someone liked my post or sent me a message of encouragement; it gives me temporary relief from the terrible existence of working this dead end job where I get zero respect and very little pay for all the time and effort I put into working there ( that’s a different blog)  I feel the phone at times can be an escape much like an addict using drugs. Reality is a drag so you turn to the internet to distract yourself from feeling frustrated.  And of course all this staring at your phone causes you to be unproductive and makes working even worse; if you get reprimanded.  Some days I think to myself; if people were nice and easy to talk to and they turn down the Taylor Swift in my ear; I might not need my phone.   It really has become my security blanket and the question is what do I do? I mean it’s nice to be connected with others who encourage me but not to the point where you are not living in reality. Where is the balance?  I wish I didn’t feel the need to escape but I’m not in control of my surroundings; someone else is pulling the strings.  Now I finally understand why so many people are addicted to their smartphones; they  themselves can’t stand the noise and the bullshit and feel disconnected; so the phone serves as their window to the world.  Here you are on the bus at 8 am and it’s packed and you are squeezed between a smelly old man and a young woman who’s rapping to the music on her headphones; you have no choice but to turn to your phone to escape such an uncomfortable commute.  Sure facebook is boring waste of time but it beats being on this bus; let me immerse myself in this until my stop.  I have rambled enough.

Thanks for listening,

Dave