Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Not-Weekdays Are Great.

Hey everyone.

First I want to geek out for a minute. Criminal Minds. Season 4 Episode 3. You all know I'm a TV buff. But this is the only occurrence I've seen of a crossover of the cast of LOST and Star Trek: Enterprise. This particular episode has both Jeff Fahey (Frank Lapidus) and Connor Trinneer (Charles "Trip" Tucker III) in it, and I for one love all three TV shows and freaked out a little when I saw it all together like that.

In other news, I'm watching Criminal Minds right now. Good show. I recommend it.

But the real reason I'm here tonight is to talk about my weekend. My one last bastion of freedom and individuality. I spent last weekend in Oklahoma. I dunno if I've said much about how I feel about Oklahoma, but let me put it this way. To some, I'm only known for my catch phrase, "fuck Oklahoma." I hate it. I hate the state, the schools, the back country people, the way they call Oklahoma City "The City," the country music, the cops, the roads... everything. Everything about it is awful. The only good thing about that twisted, inbred, terrible state is their camping - the one place in the state untouched by the awful citizens.

Now, with that said, I had a pretty good weekend. My brother, for some ungodly reason, chose to go to OSU. Not the better known Ohio State, but good ol' Oklahoma State University, located in the middle of nowhere bumfuck Stillwater, Oklahoma. I met up with his girlfriend in town and we drove up. Now, this is a four hour drive with no rush hour, but we left Friday afternoon in the heart of it.

(please excuse me if I sound like a rambling idiot through any of this, I just finished off a bottle of wine I opened about 3 hours ago.)

Usually when I visit Connor, my brother, I drive alone. I blast music and enjoy what little scenery OK has to offer. This time I had Kayla. She's great. We went to high school together. I was her senior section leader when she was a freshman. Remember those blog posts from then? When I talked about how awful my section was? She was one of the exceptions. She was great. We all loved her. In the end, though, Connor won her and they've been dating for awhile. Plus, she's at Baylor now, so we have that in common too. So we went to Stoolwater together and made a grand ol' road trip out of it.

And we talked the way up and down. And I realized something. I talk. A lot. It's uncontrollable. I think when I moved back to Dallas and started effectively living alone, with my own thoughts and no one to share them with, I just about snapped. Like I mentioned last time, I need this blog. And it's something I didn't have for a long time, so I have a lot to say. Maybe too much. I don't get to vent. So when I finally had an audience trapped in a car with me, I couldn't stop. I vented. And reminisced.  About high school, about Baylor... about whatever I could. I am a story telling fiend.

Too much so, I think. You'd think it'd be a two way conversation, right? It was sometimes. But I talked so much. I finally had someone to talk to. Someone who could relate. Someone right there and in person. And I just unloaded. I feel so bad about the whole thing.. I even realized while I was doing it. That little voice in my head was screaming, "shut up Kyle! It's her turn! Why are you going off on some tangent that didn't relate AT ALL to the original topic of discussion. Shut up. SHUT UP."

I'm probably exaggerating it a little. It wasn't so bad. We had a good car ride and good conversations. But I feel like I talked at least 80% of the time. I'm so wrapped up in myself and my memories and I love to talk about it all. I talked about high school. College. Religion. Relationships. You name it, I talked on and on about it.

Eventually, we were in Stilly. We met up with Connor and his roommates. Soon after, his two roommates decided it was time to go to bars. Now, I wasn't about to pass up a good bar on a Friday night, and besides, the two needed some alone time. So I went to some bar with the two roommates. They both went to Coppell, one was a trumpet. I know both of them; we're all good there. It's not like I decided to go bar hopping with some strangers.

Another little side track.. I stopped smoking awhile ago. Maybe six weeks? I dunno, I haven't kept track. That's a whole other post waiting to happen about bettering myself, but I'll get to that later. The important part is that I've been actively trying to stop smoking. So you can imagine the dilemma I faced when we got out of the car and I found a pack of 19 cigarettes on the ground. If you don't smoke, you don't know the minor excitement that comes with seeing a pack on the ground, not knowing if it's empty or not. Usually it is. Usually someone has thrown it on the ground when it was empty, just casually littering like they would any other cigarette butt. But the optimist in you has to check. Every time. This time it paid off. Nearly a whole pack of them. It was a gold mine. And I didn't have the self control to say no. So the rest of the night I justified it by sharing with whoever wanted one. I even gave them away to strangers who I overheard saying they were bumming cigs all night. Oh what's that? You say you're looking for a cigarette? Well, friend, it's your lucky fucking night, I'm giving them away. I was a philanthropist that evening. Afterwards one of the roomies and I went to his friend's place and hung out till about 5 or so, then I headed home.

Three hours later, my brother woke me up to go golfing, but there was a competition on the course, which destroyed our plans there and left acting a bit like a zombie, as anyone tends to do without plans and working on 3 hours of sleep. I ended up playing Peggle all day. If you don't know what Peggle is, look it up. It's basically a cellphone game. I first played peggle on my iPod Video, before the iPhone existed. It's evolved, to say the least. So I played it for hours on the household xbox, until I couldn't think straight and hated myself. It's one of those games that makes you just give up on life after awhile. So after my brother's midday nap and my masochistic video games, we decided it was about time we did something productive. We went shopping for stuff. That's right. Shopping because we were bored. Now, shopping for me is a little different than girl shopping. I came home with a case of PBR and new whiskey glasses.

The case of Pabst was for beer pong for the evening. We only drank 6 of them, if that explains how the evening went that Saturday night. Kayla had a few friends over, Connor had a friend show up, but largely it was just us playing beer pong. I've accepted that I'm wildly out of practice. I was a god at beer pong back in college. All those times I mentioned those parties, beer pong was a staple, and I was just killer at the table. Those days are long over, and I'm just so, SO mediocre now. Freshman can beat me. It's sad.

But I met a few new people and we had a good enough time, and now I have 26 PBRs that I'm not sure what to do with. Sunday Connor had work, so we visited him there, had some of his amazing pancake brunch, and then had the trek home, which was more of the same Kyle talk Kayla listen to Kyle ramble and talk and talk and talk that I mentioned earlier.

All in all? A pretty solid weekend. But that pack of cigarettes might have destroyed my urge to quit. I caved and after claiming 'last cigarette ever' on the way home, AGAIN, I went and bought a pack today. I don't have any self control. Not for something so readily available and so addictive. But again, that's another story for another time.

I promised not to complain about work, but today I found out I was passed up for another spot with a new job description. I won't call it a promotion, but it was something besides taking calls from idiot homeowners all day. And they decided on someone else, even with insiders on my side and actively (and avidly) recommending me. I'm so thankful to Reem for trying, but big boss man does what he wants, and choosing me wasn't what he wanted, I guess. So that was a downer today, but all in all, the past week hasn't been bad at all, and the outlook keeps getting better. Tomorrow I'm going to an FC Dallas game - major league soccer, you should check it out - and Thursday I'm going to play golf with an old high school friend. It's an exciting week, as far as work weeks are concerned, so be happy for me, even through all my venting and depression.

See y'all soon. Maybe next time will be the time for that story for another time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I just read through each of the 138 posts I've written in this blog over the course of the last day. This was prompted by a conversation I was having with a friend of mine over the value of therapy. Why, I asked, would you pay someone to listen to you complain about life, when you have the whole of the internet at your fingertips? When you have a diary, or a blog, or somewhere like /r/offmychest on Reddit, where people just want to listen to you. That's all the therapist does anyway, right? Listen to you rant, and then "insert comments to make you think she understands even though she doesn't," as my friend put it. Why pay for that?

Why shell out money to have someone do in person what the internet can do all the time? So that brought the discussion to this blog, which I haven't looked at or thought about for a little over a year. Remember those times I would come back after a month or so and say that nasty little blogger icon in my bookmarks was staring at me again? I deleted it. I had learned my lesson. This honest, open place was no longer the online diary it started out as, because I could no longer be honest. There was too much at stake. Too many interested parties that could take what I say here and use it against me. An employer. A concerned friend. Parents. Those sort of people. So I stopped. For just over a year now, I stopped. Left it to rot, to be forgotten. I left it as a tribute to my high school and college years, a everlasting diary on the internet, with almost no way to find it. I deleted the link to it from my Facebook. I deleted a few incriminating entries. What was left was just a portal to the past, to how I felt as an angst-filled teen. To how I was a lost little freshman in the world of college. To how I slowly came to accept that what I was feeling was depression, not just laziness or apathy or simple unhappiness.

All 138 entries are honest. And they tell a story. It doesn't have a beginning; it only references the beginning. The first blog. The MySpace blog. MySpace revamped and is now a music site and the blogs are lost forever, or at least I can't find it. But it picks up in 2009, near the end of my Junior year of high school. I felt used, ignored, under-appreciated. I felt like what I thought or wanted didn't matter. I was just beginning to see my parents as real people. I was naive. Innocent, to an extent. I had never been drunk. I had never tried marijuana. I was the purest I would be for the rest of my life. But I was not happy. I worried about school because I was supposed to. I filled the roles set in front of me - leader of boy scouts, leader of band kids, hardworking (albeit rebellious) son and student. I did these things without the recognition I thought I deserved, but I did nothing about it.

Then I died and was reborn. I went to college and life started over. I had one friend that semester. I was lonely and I blamed myself for it. I missed high school and my previous life. But life went on without consideration for how I felt. I blamed my new situation on my sadness and indirection. I left as though if I just had friends near me, I would be whole. With graduation goggles permanently in place, high school seemed like a perfect time. Putting aside those times I called my parents nazis, those times I was stressed about a million things at the same time, those responsibilities I reluctantly took on, I remembered only my friends, and how I now had none. I was almost completely alone and certainly lost. I considered therapy but never went. I needed friends, not a therapist, I argued.

I pledged. I made band friends. I met Eric, who I don't think I ever mentioned by name on this blog, but who has been there since that second semester of college. Now I had friends. The invigorating drama was back. Taylor entered the picture. Ethan and I moved into an apartment, but grew apart as K Psi and the friend group around it consumed my life more and more. Now that I had friends, surely I would be happy. But I still wasn't. I found my classes boring. I found life uninteresting. I wanted someone I could never have, and even attended her wedding. I complained about wasting my life away watching tv but did nothing about it, and still constantly worried about not having a direction in life. Friends had not been the solution.

After that year I got into trouble. I stopped blogging. There was a gap. A whole semester undocumented. I was too scared to trust people, and far too scared to talk earnestly here, so instead of lying, I said nothing. I wasn't about to make the whole blog sound like how I talked about that girl I was in love with. That wouldn't do at all. During that blackout, I lived alone for the first time in my life. I was lonely again. I watched more tv than ever, I was unproductive, sad, and alone. I had excellent grades, definite prospects for a future, but none of that interested me. I finally accepted the fact that I needed help. Since I couldn't rely on this blog to be my safe haven, I finally visited the counselors on campus.

It was a wash. I liked going and being able to talk freely, to not have to hide and worry what people would read into or hold against me. But it wasn't helpful. As my friend said, they say they understand. Unfortunately fake empathy doesn't translate to answers, and certainly not happiness. This poor grad student couldn't help me. Said I had depression and that I should consider a proper psychologist, but the on campus one wasn't taking new people. Encouraged me to find one in Dallas once I moved there. But in true Kyle fashion, I took a small task like choosing a new, real therapist and blew it out of proportion until I was overwhelmed. It was effort, and I was undermotivated, so it never happened.

Then I graduated. I took a road trip with Eric. I got ready to start working. And when I started, I left this blog to rot in the archives of internet history. Classes won't fire you for complaining about them. They won't kick out out if you admit to not doing the homework. Baylor could have probably taken action against me for the admissions of occasional cheating, but with fifteen thousand students to keep track of, what were the odds they'd find this little blog? The company I work for is not fifteen thousand people. I finally became too scared to say anything at all, because if they found it and held it against me, I was done for.

So that's where the epic journal ended. Four years of intermittent note keeping that just stopped without a goodbye. I do apologize for that. I didn't mean to disappear, but I thought maybe it was better this way. Maybe I shouldn't document the transition from college to real life. As uneventful as I thought college was at times, or as distant as I thought friendships were, it was ten times worse in real life. Everyone concerned with their own lives. So little time for new friend making. Working forty hours every week doesn't lend itself to exciting nights 5 out of 7 days a week. My blog started looking prophetic; I've spent my evenings too tired to do much except watch tv. My weekends are spent with old friends, both college and high school friends, but the rest of the time I'm alone.

Right after I graduated, I moved home. I did exactly what I thought - spent a little time with old friends, but largely I spent the evenings watching tv with my parents. Eventually the old frictions started to set in. I needed out. I patiently waited for Eric to graduate since he was only 5 months behind me. We got a nice apartment in uptown Dallas. His boyfriend quickly followed and moved in nearby, and after that I almost never saw him. I was alone again.

Taylor - remember Taylor? - has her own story, but she was even more lost than I was. Deserted and alone, I offered Taylor refuge from her mother's home at my apartment. We lived together for a time. I wasn't alone. I had someone who legitimately cared about me. We played house for a few months. I still was not happy.

Taylor didn't have an income. There were other problems I don't feel like expanding on. Eric, who had been there for years now, moved out after 6 months. He moved in with the boyfriend. Taylor went home. I was left out of Eric's new life, forced to fend for myself. It was still too early for the friends my age to have graduated, so I had no one to turn to. This brings us to present day, where I reside alone, in a bad part of town because I can't afford a nice apartment on my own, with Berkley as my roommate. Waiting.

Waiting for my life to get going. Waiting for my friends to have enough money to rent a house with me so I can move out of the ghetto. Waiting for the chance at a new job. Waiting for a chance to go back to college. Waiting to be happy.

This blog has told the story of a depressed adolescent trying to find a place in the world, trying to figure out what's wrong and where happiness is. The chapter is over for that kid, but the book keeps going. I may have to be more careful, but I need someone to talk to. Somewhere to talk, anyway. I don't need to pay a therapist, but I do need somewhere to rant. I need this blog. It took a year to realize it, but I need it. I don't mind if you follow along or not, but I'm bringing this sucker back from the dead.

Thanks, Reem.