Contrast Killers

Acres writing image

The invisible lines connect to the wrinkles on my face. An everlasting urge to hate, living with a fantastical dream that falls endlessly down the seconds of life. I don’t want to look at you and feel this way. I want to feel love for what you do. I see so much in the world on my phone. The exhaustion of success, self-propelled stardom, beautiful images of lust, and creative overflow, all should make me better. And in part they do, but the other half of it feels an edge, feels the blues, encourages a demise of confidence in myself. Life is short, but you also have to be patient? What a fucking bummer.

There might not be a way out of it. For decades I’ve turned my head away from taking some sort of mood stabilizer. Have you ever looked in the eyes of a person under that influence, or mixed the silence in the air with their tone of voice and body language? Not everyone is easy to see, but plenty are obvious if you honestly listen to them, and see passed yourself.

Before I moved from Michigan, I visited a Psychiatrist for an “introduction” session. We spoke for thirty minutes about my current vibe. He gave me a sense of his version of who I was, how I was behind the normal progress for “standards” at mid twenty, but he could help. He explained that his wife, who was an Artist, struggled for years with indecision and an inability to complete tasks. He prescribed her a magic pill, one that changed her life, set her free, and killed the contrast.

I was only 24, dumb as shit, and confused about everything. The days seemed endless, the beauty not pretty, the sun did nothing for me. I ran from companionship, in part from a sexual insecurity, but also as a game I could play where I controlled what I deserved. Here I was trying to grasp why I was running through the peaks and valleys of my mind. My head was a forest for getting lost, sitting in a depression bucket of fear, while writing bad poetry. I’d sometimes look at my plate of food, I’m satiated, I know I can’t eat another bite. Then the voice in my head says “you always complete 95% of what you”re doing, then quit” so I clean my plate. Not because I don’t want to waste the food out of guilt that children are starving in Africa, or down the street. I just think somehow it makes me better to finish something, anything. In some odd way it’ll help me complete a project, or fulfill a task thats important for me down the line. It could be practice for doing better, or an example that the crazy continues to win small battles, and my rationale self is in the corner crying like a little bitch. So I asked the dude in the office, If I take these “contrast killers” won’t it change everything else about me? Won’t it change the areas I believe make me who I am?

The psychiatrist was what you’d expect, the classic stereotypical male shrink, right out of Robin William’s portrayal in Good Will Hunting, except not so philosophical or interesting. He was bearded, wearing a cardigan, glasses, and casual enough to chat with me from a cluttered desk that suffered minutes of  nervously shuffling paper. I dressed like a psychiatrist for a while once, another way for me to pretend, or try on a career without all the hard work, or I just like cardigans and beards. The irony of our conversation was my ability to recognize my own issues, and explain how to solve them. He laughed a little, and said “You already know what you need to do, so whats keeping you from doing it?” But did I?

Early in my college years (a ten year period of dropping out, until I finally finished) I took an art class. I was about to get my first critique on this ugly cornucopia drawing we were required to do (on the first day I thought the class and teacher lacked creativity). Each person got to talk about their work first, then the class could expand. I spent five minutes analyzing (it sucks) this pile of shit, and the response from everyone was “he pretty much said everything there is to say about it.” Two weeks later I quit going to that class, and the whole “quitter” ethos continued to grow in my subconscious. I guess I just kept eating all my eggs, hoping it would change.

I wasn’t going to take any pills though, he wasn’t my first go with getting treatment. I went regularly as a child (no pills) when my parents divorced. I used to role play with stuffed animals, which was fun as hell, I ‘d do it right now in fact. “The teddy bear is my father, and the mouse is me. The teddy bear is getting beaten to death, and the mouse if full of glee.” I’m not sure if it works, but kicking that bear’s ass, in front of an old lady, certainly moved some kind of marker for me to let it go and begin again.

The point to this gets lost among the other general blurry ideas, and layer pealing. But I know that I can get pretty salty, and I regret who I am half the time. Do we have to accept who we are? Or learn how to fight against settling on that notion? The things that define me, keep me from making progress. Its my hope that realizing the contrast, and being willing to feel the burden of existence, even when its tiresome. Ultimately, it will make me feel whole, if only for a few seconds. The jealousy, the insecurity, body shaming, a general sense of failure, I need those things in order to become nothing.

Too often I hear from people, “I’m trying to focus on the positive.” Thats great, but how do you define that? How do you discern between the two sides of emotion? Its through contrast we exist. The relationship between the two is as important as you believe the “positive” is to yourself. What positive is to you, most likely is all about you, and not anything more than self serving the demon to gratify your own consciousness. The positive (all the time) is another way of saying you’re really not feeling anything. I want to feel pain, so I can figure out how to cure it, how to establish a grit in myself to come out of it spinning invisible love colors to everyone around me.

If I walk up to you and call you a “motherfucker” I’ve created a negative circumstance, right? I’ve also created an opportunity for us to shake our existence to its bone, kill off the stagnation, so we can become new again, refresh a sense of why we like one another. It creates a wrinkle that poses the question, why are we talking in the first place or why are we friends? I might be a loner most of the time, but thats a choice because most people don’t want real relationships, they want someone to justify the corner they’ve been shitting in for decades.

My core pals are still tight because its not all surface, all the time. We talk trash, we open up, we put each other back down to a level when one of us gets too big for ourselves. I just think thats beautiful, and I want more of that in people if I’m going to expand my circle and get close. Otherwise, just look down at your phone, and live someone else’s life. I’ll be around eating all the food on my plate.





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