week 46: fragile

for as long as i can remember i have lived in fear. i have reacted to every new crisis, challenge, or consequence, that has presented itself in my life. i know that i am not unique in this, but the point is that instead of assessing the situation, consider my options, and make an informed plan of action i have basically jumped from one frying pan into another, after another, and eventually into the fire, where, once there, proceeded in running around in circles spreading flames around as i panicked.

there have been many things that i have come to learn over the past few years - one being that there are things that i no longer have the luxury of indulging anymore.

the fragile balance between hope and despair, the urge to quit when things dont work out as i had expected. immersing myself in my depression, nurturing the ennui and dystopic world view i had come to expect every time i woke up or ran out of drink. heh, even that isn't entirely accurate either - those same attitudes were there in my dreams and in my cups.

i find myself fighting these old mindsets, mindsets that helped me cope with life, kept me alive - until eventually nearly killing me.

its like dragging a shadow, or carrying around a half shed skin, and the part underneath - me - is soft and  and hasn't been exposed to anyone like this in over twenty years.

so small steps.

the depression probably will never go away but i can try to work my through those times without wallowing in it, perseverance, in things (important things anyway) that are not always easy, and might take a lot of work to realize.

i can hold a hand and know that it's no longer the had a drowning man grips to in desperate fear for his life, but a hand of an equal - one that can be warm and loving and occasionally lends support to keep me steady, and to know that my hand is doing the same for her.

i no longer want to fix or save, but listen and assist as requested.

it's a lot of things really.

but i can't be fragile anymore, i cant fall apart anymore. i need to be that person i was meant to be. i have seen parts of him over the years and i know that those times where i felt any sort of pride in myself it was that "me" showing through.

That's What's Up - Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
I'll be the church, you be the steeple.
You be the King, I'll be the people.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.
While I was being such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
But you helped me change my mind.
I'll be the sun, you be the shining.
You be the clock, I'll be the timing.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.
While I was feeling so upset, I thought the sun never shine.
Then I found Forever
Hey! Hey! love!
We've been best friends forever darling.
That's' what's up!
No matter what!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
That's what's up!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
No matter what!
You be the book, I'll be the binding.
You be the words, I'll be the rhyming.
While I was feeling such a wreck, I thought of losing my mind.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought the sun never shine.
You be the bird, I'll be the feather.
We'll be the best of friends forever.
While I was feeling such a mess I thought you'd leave me behind.
When I was feeling such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
Then I found
Forever! And Always!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days!
Come with me!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days!
You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days
All of our days
Love is a shelter.
Love is a cause.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love will leads us all.
Love! It is our honor.
Love! It is our all.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love it is our home.
Oh yeah!
Yeah! That's what's up!
Oh yeah!
That's what's up!
Yeah That's what's up!

video here

video Lennon and Maisy cover here


week 45: summer

when i think of summer, i think of many things. heat, for one, outdoors, longer days, barbeques, and that one color of blue that i only really see a few weeks out of a year at sunset. i think that i have mentioned that color in these posts before, so ill spare you the repetition.

i have been processing a lot lately. reconciling my past and looking towards the future. summer also brings to mind some unfortunate memories as well.

when i was around five or so my family moved from the bay area to fresno. i hated it. i had to leave my friends and the neighbors (Ruthie, Janie, and Al) next door behind and start kindergarten with strange kids in a strange place.

it was also the first time i really remember the weather. fresno tends to skew towards the extremes, cold and foggy in the winter and hot as hell in the summer. for those of you who have spent time on the peninsula, you know that the weather pretty much as one setting and that is more or less cold.

it was in fresno that i learned how to swim.

i don't know why my father did things the way he did, how his choices and methods could be justified in his head, or if he even bothered at all. i wish i could say that there were memories i have that illustrated any admirable qualities he may have had, but i don't. honestly, i have spent a lot of time going back and searching for happy memories that involved him and i came up blank.

what i remember most is fear.

for whatever reason he decided that he was going to teach me how to swim. his approach was to hold me under water, throw me into the deep end, let go when i wasnt ready. i hated the pool, it was a source of anxiety, terror actually.

it got to be so that i would start panicing when i heard the theme song of different strokes on the television - i remember that clearly - and would search for a new place to hide. i knew that he come home from work around the time that show aired and it became a sort of pavlovian response. it was so bad that my mother (who had tried to intervene) began to send me to friends houses before dinner, that hour or two when he would want to jump into the water, grabbing hold of me and swimming to the bottom and just stay there until i felt like i was going to drown. kicking and screaming for help from mom or god or anyone as he pried me off the security gate and pulled me into the water.

more than anything it is the smell of the pollen, this sort of buttery smell, from one of the trees that takes me back there the most.

in a way though, he achieved his goal (probably not in the way he had intended) and not only did i learn to swim, i became a very strong swimmer after he left. i was helpless and i hated that feeling so much that it drove me to hold my breath longer, swim a little deeper, tread water until i felt like my arms were going to fall off. all of that so that one day, if i ever wound up in a pool with him again i would not only be able to endure whatever twisted lesson he wanted to teach but maybe teach him a lesson as well.

i never got that chance.

what i did learn from him has been mostly good examples of how not do things.

so this summer, two nights ago, after a lot of writing and meditation i went outside and sat on the driveway and i had my last conversation with my father. i told him that i forgave him for all of the horrible things he did (the swimming lessons were nothing when compared) but that i don't think i will ever forget. i told him that i no longer want to hold onto that part of my past because it has been one of those things that has kept me from having a future. that i hoped he found the peace he couldn't find in life and that i was done with him.

it was a beautiful night. it was water warm and a breeze that occasionally picked up enough to muss my hair. and when i was done talking - i lay there and looked up at the stars.

fresno, in the summer, was the first time i remember really noticing them.

edit: here is a picture from that summer - me with pepper.


week 44: mask

i know, i know. it has been a while since the my last post. there have been several things that have been taking up my time  and energy and inspiration has been somewhat - less - forthcoming than it has been in in in some time. this is not to say that i haven't been productive, i have been talking to school to see if i can finish my degree, i have been looking for work - aggressively - among other things. basically i've been working on becoming an adult, even if it has been past due for a considerable amount of time.

this week's prompt, mask, was actually used early on waaaaaay back in 2006 - you can see the post here things have changed somewhat since then (oh, thank god!) i no longer (well, mostly) try to make myself fit the situation, to be one thing to one person and someone else to another. i have found that it takes a lot less effort and yields better overall results. i have been braver when facing things that scare me or are unpleasant. and i since i can no longer hide in a bottle i have had to accept things as they are and do my best to process and accept them.

also, i have been seeing someone.

i know that in the past i have talked a lot about the relationships i have been in, and i know how the cycle progresses. i think, this time things might be different. i'm different for starters.

i have been completely open and honest i have been present and willing to work to spend time with her. i don't have to play games or worry about being played. this relation so far has been based on friendship and communication.

like i said, things are a little different.

there was more that i was going to talk about, but i find myself a little reluctant to share some of those things at this point. what i will say is that i told her the other day that: "i can't tell you how i feel about you without sounding like a crazy person."


week 43: universe

last month, i achieved two years of sobriety. this might not sound like all that long, and it really isn't in the grand scheme, but it was roughly one-seventh of the time i spent not being sober, and i can pretty much say with certainty that these two years - i wouldn't have had, had i continued drinking the way that i did.

i said somewhere the other night that all those years i spent out there, begging, screaming and blaming god for everything, that i was so loud that i couldn't have heard any answer, any response over my own noise. that i took certain things for granted and was bitterly angry and hurt when i felt i was being punished or crushed by some cosmic force out there that clearly had it out for me.

that was the other thing. out there. these days i see things more "in here" not so separate or clearly defined. that blurriness that once applied to my gray area of ethics as kind of been applied to my connection with other people, if that makes sense. i see us as being closer to one another than i did in the darker years of misuse.

i still get depressed, i still have issues with trust and faith and bad things still happen. but i find that i seem to be better equipped to handle them than i was a few years ago.

i have also been blessed with some really special moments and i see those moments a lot more clearly than i once did. while i don't define myself through those kind of moments as much i am able to be present in them.

so the bad things that happen, they pass - and i can learn from them. those good ones, i can enjoy and keep for what they are and not what they were or might be.

right now, i'm just smiling.

Redemption Song
-Bob Marley
Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the 'and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfil de book.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs -
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.




this was/is/has been (?) a post i have been avoiding since last february.
i have started and abandoned this several times over the last few months, i haven't been able to really articulate what i feel like i am trying to say, or work out, or through, or whatever.

on february 10, 2014 the world lost an extremely talented and beautiful woman. my friend, kourtney.

she was thirty-four years old and died of breast cancer.

she was an amazing person, she was positive, upbeat, artistic, she didn't let her condition define who she was and how she lived her life. i remember asking her once how she could just not be so overwhelmed and depressed by what was happening and while i don't remember what she said, i do remember how i felt about what she told me. it was simple and i remember thinking that i could finally see, so clearly, those differences in the way i process life and the way she chose to.

the last time i saw her was a few weeks before she passed. i was at the grocery store and i saw a little woman in one of those electric shopping carts. then i say a tattoo on the woman's neck, it was of two horses. it was kourtney.

i didnt know that she had come back to the area.

i tried not to let my feelings, my shock at how sick she looked show but i'm sure i failed. we talked for a bit and i said we should get together and have some tea sometime soon.

she said she would like that.

we hugged and said goodbye.

and that was that, i heard a few weeks later she had died.

i don't understand why useful people like her are taken and others are not. i told her once at the river that i wished i could take her place, that it wasn't fair. i meant that, i still do. 

i am a better person for having known her, and i will miss her.

thank you kourtney, for being my friend.

September 2010

"eleven years ago i was taking classes at the local junior college, mostly arts and humanities. each semester was like christmas, a never ending supply of new girls that i could potentially date.

it was a very shallow time of my life.

but i was young, moderately cute, and played guitar.

there was this one art class where i sat next to this cute burnette that i developed a bit of a crush on. we became friends and since she didnt seem interested in taking things further than maybe making out once or twice (i think?) i settled for friends.

and we gradually grew apart.

then i moved to san francisco and she los angeles.

and that was that.

tonight i went to my youngest sisters house for a going away party, my cousin is moving to costa rica, and her place was swamped with people i didnt know.

so in typical patrick style, when not able to booze it up (had to drive home after all), i hide.
i had a great time hanging out with my soon to be brother in law and his buddy, we sat out back and enjoyed the cool night and talked crap about everything.

eventually they went inside, i didnt.

earlier in the evening i notices a young woman with tattoo on her neck, a stylish vintage mens hat and a pair over-sized jackie o sunglasses.

and everytime i did venture inside for some food or a coke or whatever that i kept looking at her.

i could tell that her head was shaved, and drew my own conclusions on that.

so anyway, im out on the porch sitting alone and listening to people talk at one another and she comes out and i look up and say a name followed by the upturned pitch that accompanies a "?".

and it was her.

eleven years and there she was, this person i hadn't seen in ages at this random party in a town that was nowhere near where we had met.

as we talked about our lives she told me, and im not going to go into too much detail here as i havent asked her permission to talk about it, that she got sick, and that it wasnt good.
but she was upbeat and sarcastic and irreverent. and i made her laugh, over and over.

and then i had to cut it short cause i needed to get back home in case there was grandma issues (simple fact of life, no begrudging there).

as i drove home, and then sat around drawing i felt sad, despondent, this has affected me in a way that i didnt expect, here is someone that i may have thought about six or seven times in the past decade and i feel guilty for feeling like im losing someone much closer, like i dont have a right to that sense of loss, of sadness.

maybe its because shes not even 30 until next week. maybe its because i felt something for her once.

ive been around death, but its old people, people in their 80's, thats a 50 year deficit. and thats pretty fucked up.

i guess im trying to say something that i dont really know how to articulate, i feel like im dancing around it.

it was a nice talk though."

A few days later

"this was actually yesterday but there is something about drinking coronas in the sun (i'm sure that there is a joke in that somewhere) that makes you (read: me) feel like i actually exerted myself in a physical manner.