Doldrums · Personal

“3 Words, 2 Hearts, 1 Maybe”

The voices go quiet. Their 408 km/h force reduced to a collected exhalation. If words were swords, our silent moments slay dragons. I want to write your name in permanent marker. Carve initials on Cerberus’ bark. Scientists state that the pupils become dilated when seeing someone you’re attracted to; mine must have their own event horizons, their own gravitational pull somehow connected to yours.

Personal

“And I know it makes you nervous”

There aren’t too many moments in this life where I can say that the voices in my head are completely silent. From the phone call last August to my petty life grievances, they have been ongoing, nonstop. They articulate the worse aspects of me. They pen a memoir of failure, an autobiography of depression. If I wrote that book today, what would I title it? “The Procedural Manual of All That Can and Did Go Wrong?” “Live Life to Its Fullest Potential: A Cautionary Tale of Being an Introvert too Afraid to Tie His Shoes Because He Might Tie a Noose Instead?”

The most ineffective piece of advice given: “If you’re unhappy with being unhappy all the time, why not try to be happy instead?” As if happiness is a choice that we can actually make. It’s not as if I’m never happy. There are moments when it doesn’t win. Times spent with my son. Times when I sit close to her, side by side in my bedroom or living room, watching whatever movie or show we’ve chosen for the night.

Depression is not a career choice. For those who think this is the path I chose for myself, you’re mistaking chemical imbalances to bad decisions. The forests have no say when they burn. No control over the raging winds, engulfed in flames.

What are the steps to exit the mourning? How do we repair the body when the scars are still visible? When the echoes of their voices fade, the sounds of their laughter still haunt those hallways. The way they smiled. The way they loved us.

Doldrums

A Few Things You Should Take Note About Me Before We Start Dating

One.

I’m not good at this. That should be painfully obvious. Like stepping-on-a-Lego-buried-deep-in-shagged-carpet-in-the-middle-of-the-night obvious. Like running-a-marathon-after-a-year-of-being-a-couch-potato-and-wondering-“What-the-fuck-was-I-thinking?” kind of obvious. It’s taking-up-the-Bird-Box-Challenge-and-taking-an-evening-stroll-on-the-expressway kind of obvious. It’s like reading-then-watching-every-adaptation-of-The-Diary-of-Anne-Frank-and-hoping-this-time-it-will-be-different kind of obvious.

Two.

I’m allergic to pineapple. And kiwi. But I will eat kiwi more times than not. Say, we’re at a fancy dinner. I’m dressed up and you’re dressed up and everyone’s dressed up. And there’s music playing, and people are swaying. But we’re not dancing because: (A.) I can’t dance to save my life despite bragging how I took a dance course in college (but that was years ago and it was modern dance) and, (B.) I’m too busy coughing up a storm because the spread contained kiwi and I rarely buy kiwi (you know, because I’m allergic to it) and I love kiwi (despite being allergic to it) so I still eat it and now my throat is raw like I swallowed a swarm of bees and they all stung at once.

Three.

Speaking of dates. My idea of the perfect date is staying home with a good book and some distance between us. It’s not that I’m not interested in you. It’s not even that I don’t want to know you. It’s just being around someone I’m interested in leaves me thinking of all the ways I’ll inevitably screw this up. Because you’ll say you’ll take me as I am, but in truth, you’ll take me as the illusion I’ve conjured up for you. Beneath this veneer, I’m a more of a landfill than a mess that needs reorganizing.

Four.

Depression hits me like a bag of bricks. I took antidepressants for a year, but they only made me feel less human than usual. Sometimes, I amaze myself with small feats. Getting out of bed. Dressing myself. Grooming. Manage to walk out the door and not run into oncoming traffic. It’s a voice inside my head giving a history lecture on all my failures. It’s the meteorologist forecasting the future ones. It’s a gallery of ex-girlfriends and possible love interests.

Five.

Being a father scares me. I have no point of reference because every father figure I had left me before I came of age. My grandfathers died three years apart. My own father is more a stranger than someone I owe half of my DNA to. And the years that we’ve been apart, he still manages to find away to remind me that I’m not something of value in his life. Despite all my reaching out, he mastered of the art of pulling away. And as a sickness grows in him, I can’t help but fear that this permanent loss of a man who never gave me a second glance isn’t something I’m prepared to handle.

Six.

I’m not sure if my jaded view of romance is a product of my parents’ divorce or my own shortcomings as an adult. Or if it’s because these days I put more importance in wondering about the next time I’ll eat tacos rather than wondering if I’ll ever allow myself to fall in love again. And that’s it, isn’t it? I get to choose when I’ll get tacos, but I’m powerless over my own emotion.

Seven.

Asking me when I’ll get back on the horse is equally annoying as trying to set me up with someone (and that’s only happened once, and I shut that shit down fast). This is because it demeans my decision of being single. See, I have a type. You can call me shallow if you want, but the person must have read more books than the years they’ve existed. They must have a library card. A Barnes & Noble membership works, too. Better yet, be employed at a library or Barnes & Noble. And, yes, I confess there have been a string of flings and crushes. I’m only human after all. Please understand that I’m no stranger to being alone.

Eight.

How do I write a poem about you and not give you my history? Because I like you and that scares the shit out of me. I know what it’s like to kiss the girl in the fast food parking lot and knowing there’s no future. I know what it feels like to wait for an answer that was never meant to be received. I know what it’s like to love someone for ten years and lose them. Most of all, I know the difficulties that come with being in a relationship with me. That I give it my all but ignore their feelings. That behind every I-love-you there’s an escape plan. Because I know love isn’t a flame, but that doesn’t prevent us from being burnt. I know the difference between saying I love you and being in love. Because I don’t fall for people; I plunge. Because I treat love like an allergy. No, an allergen. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, with you, love is like a kiwi.

Note: This is an amalgamation of a few older poems (posts, whatever) of mine. Namely two. You’ll find some of it here. A good chuck of it originated here. This piece was Frankensteined together for the Love & Chocolate event. If I’m being honest, I love this version better than the older ones. It still needs some work, though.