So it goes

It’s 10:50 on a Sunday morning.

This is the last day of August and you can tell the fall is coming. Something about the way the shadows fall.

I keep thinking about her and I keep thinking that I’d like to get back into the woods at some point before it snows. Some Tuesday afternoon I’ll go up there, spend the night, watch the fire crackle and wait out the noises that permeate through the trees.

There’s always a sense of danger out there, like something’s just waiting but I’m not entirely clear if that’s just my mind playing tricks on me or if there’s actually something to worry about.

I have that problem though, my mind likes to play its tricks and me being the ever gullible struggling voice of reason, I can’t seem to tell between the tricks and what’s actually going on.

The doctors call it schizophrenia and in the eight and a half years that that devil has been living on my shoulder we’ve become almost friends. Friends that conspire against each other yes but friends. Most of the time I know when that fucker’s whispering in my ear but sometimes I don’t and that’s when life starts to hurt.

I’ve kind of lost my confidence in the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s because so much shit has gone down that the stone I’ve been standing on is starting to crumble or if it’s the change of seasons or what. I just know that I prefer to be alone most of the time now. On long nights I call it the sads, it’s takes all I have to distract myself sometimes.

I’ve started reading again though. I’m reading a book about trees, more specifically it’s about a group of ecologists who climb giant redwoods in California and Oregon. It makes me want to take a trip out there if nothing else, just to look up at those giant trees and lose my breath.

There’s something about forests. About the silence and the grandeur that just says to the voices, shut the fuck up. Most of the time the voices listen. That’s why I need to get back out there. I need quiet.

I ask myself how many times I’m gonna think about escaping from social media, completely disconnecting, this notion eats at me but I need the platform, I need the place to speak if I need to speak. These things also help distract me at night.

I’ve been thinking I could just take to books though, not even worry about what’s going on in the world, just completely lose myself in books. Maybe learn some things too.

That’d be nice. 

The Woods Magazine

Hey everyone, I’m doing a new little magazine project called ‘The Woods’ 

The Woods, (although it can be taken literally) is more of a metaphor for the difficult periods or problems in a person’s life. We’ve all been lost in the woods at some point. That said, the magazine is a kind of forum for these stories. 

I’m mainly looking for personal essays and commentary on contentious points of culture but if you have an idea you’d like to share I’m definitely open to it.

If you’d like to say just drop me a line via ask box or email woodsmageditorial@gmail.com

The Weight

This one starts as so many others do, with the weight of the universe.

Except it’s not some giant lead weight that sits awkwardly on your shoulders, it’s more like a thick viscous liquid that pours down on you from everywhere and covers you in a weight so thick that it’s a struggle to breathe.

You could collapse down to the ground but your legs twitch as you strain to hold yourself, and this weight, up.

Days pass like this and it’s all you can do to struggle with breath holding yourself up under the viscous universe and slowly you start to make agreements with yourself because no matter how hard you try you can’t get out from under the weight, it envelopes you.

These agreements are a way of coping, they’re your last resort. ”I can do this,” you tell yourself, “I can hold out a little longer.”

Soon, you learn to accept the weight as you realize that no matter what you try, it won’t go away.

It gets a little easier to bear as the weeks pass, you learn to adapt and soon you can move your legs, just a little, but with every shuffling step you’ve gotten a little farther, if only just inches.

You’ve decided that you have to move, you have to get there, wherever there is. The weight is still there but you’re shuffling feet instead of inches every day.

You’re closer but there are still miles to go and you know this and sometimes it breaks you but every time you stop the weight seems to get heavier so you just keep shuffling.

Months pass, you’ve grown stronger, you can now hold your shoulders a bit higher and sometimes you can pick up your feet and take a real step, most of the time it still hurts too much though.

You know when you’ve had enough and you’ve learned to pace yourself, save those small steps for when you need them, it’s ok to shuffle your feet as long you keep moving forward.

You grow stronger and stronger with every passing day and soon the steps, once relegated to minor occurrences become regular.

It’s become a habit for you to keep pushing yourself against the pain, partly because when it hurts it’s a thrill, partly because you know there’s no way in hell you’re going to stop.

Soon you find yourself able to walk, the weight has become normal now, it’s been there for months it’s nothing new. It’s just that thing you live with but you can walk.

You’re not so slumped over anymore, You can hold your head up and look forward.

In the distance you can see a tiny glimmer of light and it’s the point you’ve come to dream about, that small point in the overwhelming darkness.

You walk toward the light, that small glimmer and you focus on it as if it were the answer to everything.

Soon you’re standing, you’re able to walk normally and you carry this weight like you were born to do it.

After long days your feet burn and ache from the weight and you can sit down and you can rest because you know you have it in you to stand back up and keep walking toward that shining something.

You don’t think so much about the weight anymore, it’s just this thing you have, this thing you can’t get rid of but it’s not a big deal because you make progress everyday.

Months pass and you’re faster on your feet now, not so much running, although you’ll get there, but for now it’s just a quick pace and you can see that the light ahead of you has opened up a little, it’s bigger and that means you’re getting closer.

Day after day, you walk. Further some days than others, sometimes you remember the weight on your back and you think about why it’s there, how it got there and what exactly you could have done to stay out of its way.

Things are the way they are though, there’s nothing you can do to change any of it.

You carry it earnestly now, stoically as if it was some cursed gift from above.

Some days, you’re able to jog for a little while before the pain in your feet comes and the light is getting bigger, it’s only a matter of time now.

Soon you’ve found a good pace with your jog, not too fast that the pain comes but fast enough to know you’re making progress, the light gets bigger everyday, soon, you can see that it’s an opening, it’s like you’re in some pitch dark train tunnel walking miles upon miles toward the opening but you’re getting there, and that alone gives you hope.

You jog everyday, day after day, week after week.

You’re getting real sick and fucking tired of all of this, the weight, the fact that you only get a little bit closer everyday.

You want more, you think you can do more, you think you can get there faster and one day you start to run.

The running is a liberation. It feels amazing to know you’re moving faster than ever.

The opening gets bigger and bigger and you run until you can’t bear it anymore.

There’s still so far to go. You’ve done this for years now though, you can fight, you can push yourself until you’re sick, you know you can do this.

It seems you’ve been moving for ages now all while carrying this weight that you were barely able to hold before.

You can see the trees, you can see the fog covered forest through the opening, the tracks below that lead to somewhere but you’ve made it so far.

Mere days pass and through sheer strength of will finally you’ve made it to the opening. All that’s left now is finding your way home.  

I’m dozing

The weariness is heavy on my chest.

It’s hard to breathe and I just want to close my eyes and lose myself to whatever maniacal rumination my mind can conjure up in between the dark and the day.

I keep thinking about her but I asked whoever exists beyond the clouds and the feeling in my gut was that I should stay away.

I don’t know if it was the doings of the cogs in my head or an impulse or the voice of god but I know it’s not right, I know I shouldn’t continue to torture myself over something which is so convoluted and has no basis in proceeding in the future of a reality I want so bad it hurts.

It takes time to come to your senses, it takes time to breathe in the air of the morning and find the voice of reason.

What am I expecting to happen anyway? Happiness? Good luck with that.

Both of us are too young even though the years are so strong.

I have no reason to go back other than to breathe in that drug, that smile, and doing so would complicate everything.

I need to let it go. I want to let it go but she still haunts me in the mornings before the full weight of the day has landed on my shoulders.

The mornings are when I used to see her and to slowly loosen the furious grasp on that impossibility is something I need to come to terms with.

I’m holding on so hard and I have to tell my fingers to relax, slowly, until the smoke can drift away.

Don’t listen to these words though, they are the result of years of desperation and the loneliness that comes in the dark after the sun sets.

It sticks around in the mornings though.  

Moving on

She was like this need.

This thing I couldn’t let go of.

I needed the rush of that look, that way her eyes widened.

I tortured myself for days about it, trying to get a handle on something that wasn’t right for either of us.

The years between us would’ve hurt, they would’ve been too much for those looks and those widened eyes to sustain.

It’s for that reason that I chose to quit her, to move on even though every fiber in my being told me not to, told me to at least try.

I did my part though, long before I knew it wasn’t right, I made the effort but she didn’t follow through and even after that I wanted nothing else in the world but to just see her face.

My time in that place was overspent though, occasionally turned to frequent and before I knew it I became keenly of how it smelled, how it made my clothes stink. I became aware of the mugginess of it all and the way my skin felt when I stayed there for too long.

I had moved from the place but that smile kept me coming back for much longer than I should have.

The need is still there, don’t get me wrong, but it’s calmed down a bit, it’s become more muted with every day that goes by and I know that if I just stay away, regardless of the wanting, things will get better and I’ll see a new smile that sends lightning through my heart, that kills me and takes my last breath because there’s more than one fish in the sea.  

I’m ok

I walk through this life, the forced smile.

The confidence which never used to come naturally, but I use it and I know that it’s nothing more than a tool.

A function of forming a place in this world where I don’t have to feel like I’m outside.

It gives me a place to stand but I could do just as well without it.

I don’t feel the need to fight so much anymore. I don’t feel the need to escape so much anymore and I wonder if it’s just that time of year or if it’s what I’ve done with my life that gives me the ability to not be afraid of the frivolous.

I’m learning to not devote my time to things which won’t come through. I’m learning to be comfortable with these things too because I’ve already made a mark. I have my pride.

I’ve been talking to an old friend lately, one who I was enamored with all through middle and high school and she’s off in some other country changing the world and we just aren’t the same people we used to be and that spark isn’t there anymore.

Life is big, and it changes slowly over the years and you grow into something strong and you wonder where all that fear went, you wonder where all the sadness went and you kind of miss it because there was a kind of warmth in being so unsure of yourself that you’d do anything.

I don’t need that hunger anymore, I’ve eaten. I’m satisfied and it’s just small steps from here on out.

I write about things that happened in the past and how hard it was and it’s a good reminder of the places I’ve been but I’m ok now.

I don’t have to prove anything anymore.

I still love the woods though and I still want to dissolve into them and leave this world of frivolity behind but I’m ok for now. 

On Suicide

Too much life is hard. I know that better than anybody.

Life comes fast for people with mental illness.

It has a way of blowing past you like a bullet that just barely grazes your shoulder. The thing about this bullet though is that it doesn’t keep going only to end at some unnamed target.

If it sees that it missed you it will turn around and come twice as fast the other way aiming for your heart, This bullet also never makes the same mistake twice. It won’t miss you the second time around.

That’s life. That’s how it is with the endless parade of waking up, doing things and then waiting for the dreams to come again, it’s so trite, it’s so nothing, but then sometimes it’s more than you can handle. Life is just what you do because you do it. Unless you have the backwards courage to decide to put an end to it.

But what would that do? Sure, it would take you out of it but then where would you go?

Maybe there’s a heaven where all your family waits for you and where everything is great but it kind of seems more likely that once you take that step, it’s all just black deep nothing.

Personally I’d rather have the parade of boring days then even the possibility of nothing.

And if there is a heaven, I’m sure it’ll still be there when my time comes.

Who’s to say the endless days won’t bring you something good though?

Maybe it’s an opportunity with a fat paycheck, maybe it’s the peace you’ve been looking for all your life at a quiet house in the woods, maybe it’s even the smile of a cute girl with so much possibility behind it that you can barely get to sleep at night.

Either way, there’s no harm in sticking around until the day comes when it is your time.

Even if shit sucks, I can guarantee that if you just keep waking up, even if that’s your one and only victory for the day, the shiftiness will pass and you’ll feel ok.

Just please don’t end things on an impulse you get when you’re lost in the thick of it. You will find your way out.