This is my open letter

This is my open letter,
This is something to remember.
I won’t be buried before my time,
I’m not searching for forever,
I’ve got my eyes opened wide,
I’ve been searching under rubble from the past,
just looking for a reason to make your life last.
No need to look skyward for you to find hope,
no need for redemption to be saved from the rope,

Fuck No!

I’m not searching the sky for a reason to live
’cause I found beauty right here and found the passion
to give,
so let me give you my heart, let me give you my tears,
let me give you my life, let me give you my fears.

Just so you can hold on and sing while I do, sing these
words out so loud,
like I sing them for you.
This is your open letter, something to remember,
we can still keep on fighting even though life is not
forever.

This is my open letter, this is something to remember.
This is my open letter, I’m not searching for forever.

So let me give you my heart, let me give you my tears,
let me give you my life, let me give you my fears.

If I Died Tonight Would It Tear You Apart

Life is funny. And depending on my mood, I always consider the future to be a bleak masterpiece of darkness. No one really knows their future. And for most, they’ve come to the conclusion that “god” has a special plan for them. And only he knows. Like in my previous blog entry, I’ve gone back and forth on a faith-based belief system. Can a person really put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to “god” and religion? Doesn’t that seem a little risky? Wouldn’t you want to spread things out a little more? My other question is; do you really believe or are you just basing this on a “what-if” scenario? Like, what if there is a hell or heaven? I’m going to believe just to be on the safe side. Is that really a genuine belief? Or is that some sort of self-indulged bullshit idea to keep your ass safe?

If I died tonight, what would happen? Where would I go? These are my thoughts: it wouldn’t exactly matter. I’d just float away into nothingness and be gone. Why am I thinking about this shit? Well, to be honest, I’ve always thought about it since I got back from Iraq. I live with a lot of pain, anguish and mental trauma from my deployment. And you know what? I feel fucking guilty about that, too. Yeah, my tour seemed like a piece of cake to most; I was a tank mechanic, pulled some guard duty, hung out in the motor pool, did some patrols with the scouts and the Estonian Army, hung out with the Infantry guys, stayed in an outpost 20 miles from civilization for 21 days straight without real food and shower…but you know…there were plenty of guys that had it worse than I did.

Losing friends was the hardest. Seeing my fellow Scout brothers go through that shit was even worse. Because like I’ve blogged about before, I was stuck in some shit hole radio watch room doing just that; radio watch. When in reality, I could have been the soldier I trained to be to save lives. That’s the shit I’m dealing with. It’s like I have the weight of the entire fucking world on my shoulders.

I’ve come out of some dark places in my life. And not to sound too dramatic, but I’ve dealt with the urge to just self-medicate myself to sleep. You know, with pills, and alcohol and whatever else. Something keeps nagging at me to continue marching on. To be that soldier again, and soldier through all this bullshit we call life. To get up each day, make the best of my life, give 100% and continue. Something keeps nagging me. Like, a little pilot light in the back of my head. Eventually, I want that pilot light to go out so I can rest. And when I say rest, I mean, to just have everything stop for like 24 fucking hours so I can get some peace and quiet.

My brain doesn’t stop, people. Iraq and combat and my buddies, it’s all a constant reminder of my life. It’s all a constant reminder that I could have done more. I should have done more. But I didn’t. Why, I don’t know. These days, my attitude carries me far. Farther than any distance I could ever travel on foot. “I don’t give a fuck” is a common phrase a use on my day-to-day activities at work. And it helps me cope. It helps me succeed. For some reason, it’s my religious belief that as long as I don’t give a fuck, I will continue to survive.

 

pilotlight

Gilby Clarke and his epic photo shot

GilbyGilby Clarke is basically a talented musician that came to fill the role of Izzy Stradlin’ of the dysfunctional band, Guns N’ Roses. Gn’R is my most favorite band. I even have a tattoo of their band logo on my right shoulder. It’s awesome. When Izzy left the band in 1991, I was 11 years old. Too young to grasp the situation and too young to understand what was happening. Gn’R was owning America and Europe, and I was a sheltered youth in a non-religious home. For better or for worse, I’d be exposed to Gn’R and the world of rock and roll soon enough.

My first job was at an auto dealership where I was able to get fired from all three departments (sales, service and parts) in a matter of two years. Mainly, for my candid “I don’t give a fuck” attitude and my willingness to seek out other skills necessary to survival, like, learning how to properly do an oil change instead of emptying trash cans, from learning how to do brake jobs, installing radiators, overhauling engines, and learning how to balance tires. My boss was furious that I wasn’t outside pulling weeds and washing cars. Fuck him.

I first heard “Patience” on the radio in 1996. I was 16 years old, nearly turning 17, and I had my foot in the door of becoming an auto mechanic with the short lessons my Dad had taught me in my earlier teen years. I learned quite a bit of car savvy skills. More so if I had a boss that wasn’t hell-bent on making sure I was taking the trash out and whatnot. Before too long, I was working at another car dealership with a boss that was more of a push over than ever. I even had the mechanics trained to throw around the word “tippy toes” if said boss was even remotely close to the shop floor. That way I could help the mechanics swap out clutch plates faster, get oil changes done, and rotate tires in half the time.

I ventured off into the world of Guns N’ Roses and found out they had an array of songs my parents would probably be against. I didn’t care, though. They had meaning and I found insight in every Gn’R tune. From Paradise City to Mr. Brownstone, I was excited and proud of the fact that I could relate to songs so deep. These songs were gritty and mean. They made me angry and energized! I loved it! I wanted to sing Paradise City where ever I went. When I joined the Army at the ripe ol’ age of 19, I sent away for my Use Your Illusion albums. My Mother sent them and the reaction from the drill sergeant that opened my package was epic.

“What the fuck, soldier? What the fuck do you know about Guns N’ Roses?” he growled.

“More than you, apparently.” I retorted.

I did push ups the rest of the night to the tune of Don’t Cry and November Rain.

Burning Bright

I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry tonight. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the emotional trauma or the physical pain get to me. It’s all too greater of a self promise. I got drunk and wept in near-silence. The tears that rolled down my cheeks were cool on my skin, and hyrdating at the same time. I felt a need to cry. I felt as if I didn’t, something was wrong with me. I felt safe with my tears. I felt safe looking around my empty apartment and feeling that enormous void of nothingness that was there. It felt normal. But at the same time..it scared me.

Lately, I’ve been having realistic night terrors. Again. Oh, it’s nothing new, friends. I’ve been living with these things since my deployment to Iraq in 2005. Some nights are better than others. And some nights I get about three hours of sleep because of them. The last several nights it’s been quite a problem. I see this faceless being haunting around my apartment looking to steal my television. When I wake up, I see the figure slink down behind the Tv. I get up, throw a few curse words around, and approach like I’m going to do something about it. No one is going to steal my Tv and get away with it! When I get to the Tv, the figure is gone. I wake up to this happening three or four times a night.

I slink back to my bed unloading my pistol I had on my counter top. What a dangerous scenerio, right? Some whacked out former soldier living alone, loaded for bear, having night terrors. Seems like a recipe for disaster. For years, I’ve been able to keep my emotions under control. I’ve never went after these “night terrors” with a vengence or with some kind of attitude like I’m going to end them with violence. I do, however, grab my pistol, load a magazine, and search the apartment unit for said “night terror” figure.

The thing that scares me the most is the fact that the “night terror” figure reminds me of me. I can see what it’s wearing. I can see and recount for everything except it’s facial expression. It’s face is emotionless. Like, what the fuck is going on here. You’re here to steal the fuck out of my Tv but you can’t tell me if you’re sad, angry, or fucking happy? That doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

I’ve hated night terrors ever since I started having them. The doctors told me it’s just something you’d have to live with. Great. This bullshit will forever be in my life? I get to stay awake at night, afraid to sleep because I’m worried some faceless asshole is going to waltz into my apartment and steal the shit out of my fucking television set or start creeping around the kitchen or slink into my bathroom? Shit, that’s not even the worst of it! I remember when I first started having real night terrors.

I was at Fort Riley and we had just gotten back from Iraq. I was sound asleep and I remember my right arm going completely numb. I woke up and saw this huge fucking Boa Constrictor wrapped completely around my arm! I fucking freaked the fuck out! I mean, I freaked the fuck out! I scrambled out of bed and bolted towards my door! I hit the door with so much force that I woke up my roommate in the next bedroom over. When I finally got the door open, I found myself in the bathroom common area sweating profusely, gripping my arm, and looking back into my room like, “what the fuck just happened?!” My roommate was a bigger guy with obvious weigh issues and he started grilling me on what had happened. His initial thought was I was on drugs. Acid to be specific. Then he urged me to call the charge of quarters sergeant or the military police because he thought I was really fucked up. Somehow, I talked him out of it.

The next morning, shit was all a blur, more or less. I ate my breakfast in my barracks room with a concerned look on my face, silent, but thoughtful. Shit happened last night and I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. I buried it. I buried all of it. Every last episode of night terror that came my way. I buried it. I was put on medication at one point. But that shit seriously fucked with my heart. “It’s incurable.” said the doctor.

I was finished at this point. Scared and afraid. As the years traveled on, my night terrors cleared up. Every once in a while, they’d flare up like a bad case of herpes. I’d bury them, move on, forget, battle on…they’d go away. I fought for many years that alcohol was the answer. What a waste. What do you do with a problem that has no resolution? You self medicate.

Faith-Based Realism

I feel like a wandering soul. You are a wandering soul. I’ve been told. I’ve lost my way and as every day passes, I realize this. Lately, I’ve been having very vivid, very real dreams. My night terrors have gotten worse. Last night I probably slept for a total of two to three hours as I woke up to some homeless weirdo stalking around my tiny little apartment. At one point, I got out of bed to confront the figure and noticed it was me but without a face. It must mean something.

I lay in the middle of the road as the rain pounded on my face. My body felt cold and numb and I could hear sirens in the background gaining on my location. I closed my eyes as my breathing slowed. I knew this was the end. I could hear the splashing of feet near my head and people continued to ask if I were alright.

“Hey, man! Are you okay??! Are you alive?!” one voice exclaimed.

“I don’t know what happened, he was crossing the street and the car came out of no where!” another continued.

My body jolted as I woke up from my nightmare. Sweat was trickling down the side of my head and I quickly wiped it away to see if it was actual sweat or blood. I hated dreams like this. I hated them. My body ached with pain, my head throbbing. All I could do was look around in the dark as my eyes adjusted. The tv sent out a low gleam of blue light across the apartment…I slowly laid back down and started to cry quietly as if I didn’t want anyone to hear me. I was alone and afraid.

You’re a wandering soul, Wayne. You need to find yourself. What will it take for you to find your way? You’re smiling on the outside, but you’re a miserable train wreck on the inside. You’ve cried more this month than you have your entire life! What’s it going to take for you to find a path worth walking? When are you going to stop sending yourself down these deadend roads? You have no stability. You have no direction. You’ve lost your way, Wayne, and it’s causing you to lose everything you were always about.

I’m afraid. I’m afraid of how I am now. I worry too much. I over analyze everything. I over think the simplest notions. I’m like a butterfly that has climbed to 30,000 feet caught in an updraft that won’t let me go. I want to return to the ground. I want to land on my little branch and be with my loved ones again. I want to stop floating. I want to stop being alone and afraid.

My earliest childhood memories that made me feel safe was when I would think back on my early teenage years and I’d be riding passenger while my Father drove. We would be coming back from a Mariners baseball game and I would think back on the game. And I’d look at my Dad, how in control he was with the car. I wanted to be that in control. My Dad was my hero back then. What a great Dad I had. He kept us safe after a Mariners game. You always read about those families that get ran over by a drunk driver while coming back from a concert or from Disney Land or something. My Dad and I went to 25-30 Mariners games over a short 5 year time span. Not one drunk driver got us.

I look at my hero now…in his mid-sixties. I see his eyes looking hard at me. What have you become, Wayne? Where is my son inside of this body that stands before me? I am still here, Dad. I am still your son. The one you took to Mariners games. I have lied to you and broken our trust. I have ruined the integrity that formed a strong family bond. But I am still here, Dad. I am still here. I’m still the one who you took to Mariners games. I am just lost and afraid.

I am still alive. Everyday, I still live. Sometimes the pain is much greater. And some days the pain is a symbolic reminder that it is still there. Something is fighting for me everyday. Something has kept me up on my feet time after time as life bullies me and shoves me to the ground. I continue to fight through it all. I slug it out, day in and day out. Through all my physical pain, my mental anguish, my night terrors, my paranoia, my anxiety, my many sleepless nights…I continue to battle.

I know you have a lot left in you, Wayne. I know you’re a fighter. You give it 100% everyday. You don’t give in to temptations. You’ve turned your world around nearly 180 degrees since you got out of the service. You battled hard when were living in your car. You battled hard for job opportunities, you’ve battled hard for increased pay and benefits, and you’ve battled hard for respect from co-workers and managers. You’ve battled. I am looking over you, keeping a watchful eye, keeping you safe. But this is all you, Wayne. This is all you. I am just here to guide you when you need guidance. Not to give you strength, but to provide the opportunity for you to be strong.

I don’t want to be afraid anymore.

I don’t.

And now I wait my whole lifetime
For you
And now I wait my whole lifetime
For you

And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open

And if my face becomes sincere
Beware

And when I start to come undone
Stitch me together

 So long I wait my whole lifetime
For you
So long I wait my whole lifetime
For you