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Long Showers

Updated on August 19, 2015

My sincerest apologies.

I take really, really long showers.
I know, I know.
It's wasteful.
It's selfish.
There are people out there who would literally kill for water, and yet, I let land on my head, roll down my shoulders, and slither down the drain.

In many ways, this is a metaphor for the theme of this piece.
While I feel trapped, even crippled by my problems, I wouldn't have to look far to find others who are more miserable than I am.
While things seem dark for me, there are others who consider this tanning.
But it bothers me all the same.

The Jackal.

I can't remember the last time I felt like I was at home.
The west coast just doesn't do it for me, and I really, really wish it did.
The air feels different, the earth is tough on my feet, and the people...
While I won't hesitate to admit I'm not fond of the people here, the people there aren't my type either.
However, it's hard not to prefer that when you're stuck in the house of 1,000 corpses.
Or... At least the clinically insane.
On a good day, it's just passive aggressive narcissism, on others, it's a battleground.
There's a hurricane of sticks and stones every time I leave my bedroom, and on some days, I'm better off squeezing out my bedside window.
The negativity is stifling.
Nothing grows here.
No light slips through the shades, and no warmth comes off the fire.
It's a graveyard where the undead moan about their miserable lives.
I take comfort in the shadow of night, when the others have retreated to their beds to mourn the loss of another unsatisfactory day.
In a building I'm supposed to call home, I've become the jackal.
I've become a scavenger, effortlessly dodging predators and seeking the opportunity to smuggle the remains back to my dark, empty corner of the house.
Food goes missing, money disappears, I've even lost a few articles of clothing.
I've reached a point where my paranoia is justified so I never know which monsters are creeping out from under my closet.
There is no air here, only suffocating darkness.

Anxiety.

I consider myself a very strong person.
No disrespect to the hours I spend every day at the gym, but I'm not referring to physical strength.
In my life, I've faced trials and tribulations, tragedies and heartbreak.
I've seen funerals on rainy days, and spent many nights curled up in the back seat of my car.
I'd like to think that while the powers that be can be creative, I'm prepared for almost anything.
I feel like with time, I can handle almost any enemy.
I say almost, because there's one enemy that I just can't seem to pin.
One dark antagonist that terrorizes my every nightmare.
And that's myself.

I've written a few hundred hubs on here, and they only compliment the thousands of short stories and articles I've written in my life, so it's safe to say that I'm a creative person.
I think that many creative types become creative because they need an escape.
When reality becomes too much to handle, I think that creative types escape to new worlds.
Worlds where the horrors of the real world are distant memories and they can't be bothered.
Sadly, I don't think it stops there.
While it's great to be able to stash yourself away in your own head, I think you make yourself vulnerable to trouble in paradise.
That same art that set you free... it returns to imprison you.

You can get up from being kicked around.
Hell, these days, you have to.
But you don't always get up quickly, and you're not always the same person when you get back on two feet.
Each time you get slammed on your back and kicked around, you lose a piece of yourself.
With each heartbreaking inch that you life yourself back up, you sacrifice a bit of who you are.
Your curiosity, your innocence, your ability to love and trust, you lose what makes you, you.
Soon you become very comfortable in cynicism.
Being cynical allows you to anticipate the next thing that will put you down without having to actually interact with it.
You can't miss if you don't shoot.
You can't lose if you don't play.
Life becomes more about surviving each day than truly appreciating it.

Obviously, there are consequences.
You can't expect anything to grow or work out if you don't completely commit yourself to it.
Especially relationships.
But ultimately... There's only so much left to commit.

Recently, I've wondered how much of myself I really have left.
Professional let-downs, a broken home, a wild variety of physical ailments, and previous romantic failures have me feeling... Well... Less than.

I've had a really rough 2015, if we're being honest.
Without getting into too much detail, I've been hurt by people I trusted, I've lost several really close friends, I've had a plethora of physical problems, I've been steamrolled at work, and the place where I live has become a battleground. Everyone I care about is constantly taking me for granted and just dumping all of their problems on me. I don't remember the last time I called someone and got to talk about what's bothering me. I'm always telling everyone else it's going to be okay.
It seems like every other day, I'm talking someone through a break-up, convincing someone not to kill themselves, listening to the most boring work stories, trying to sympathize with someone dealing with a problem that they caused themselves, trying to help someone with problems that are way too big for me to deal with, like, hell.
How am I supposed to help a friend with cancer?
I check up every day, ask how he's doing, tell him he's going to be just fine, take him out places to get his mind off of it.
That's not enough.
Or hey, another example.
The woman who gave birth to you, who took care of you, who showed you unconditional love for your entire life is sick, and she's not having a good time, and all you can do is sit on the phone and try to highlight silver linings.
This is going to sound insanely selfish, but what the hell am I supposed to do?
I've welcomed so much of everyone else's misery into my heart that I can't even find my problems until it's the middle of the night and they need to keep me awake.
I carry around a bag of bricks so that nobody else has to, but at some point... Aren't they going to come back for the bricks?
At some point, won't people start realizing that I've been breaking my back for them and they didn't even say thank you?
Something I learned from growing up in a crooked home is that love isn't love unless it's unconditional.
If you only do something because you expect something in return, you're not doing it because you love them.
And don't get me wrong, I do feel great about helping the people I care about.
When I walk away, knowing I improved the life of another human being, I feel fantastic.
When my friends or family are sad, and I can give them one smile, it makes my day.
If I think of the smallest way to make my girlfriend happy, you bet your ass I'll do it.
But this presents two problems.
One, I never feel like I'm doing enough.
I always feel helpless and like I'm disappointing them by not being able to magically blow their problems away.
And Two, I feel like I'm not allowed to have problems.

I feel like every time I have a bad feeling about something or need reassurance, I'm a burden. People always shush me or dismiss my problems because they just don't feel like putting up with them, and I've gotta tell you, that hurts a lot.
I'm not looking for things to be upset about, I'm not looking for reasons to be paranoid or insecure.
But sometimes I do get those feelings.
Sometimes I don't feel good enough.
Sometimes I feel like things aren't going to work out.
Sometimes all of the doubts and fears in the back of my head rush to the front and kick the living shit out of me.
And since I'm being honest, it happens more often than you'd think.
Late nights are a veritable feeding ground for my nightmares.

My mind and body are tired, I reflect upon my day, and God forbid anything doesn't add up.
I can deal with disappointment.
I'm a writer, trust me, disappointment and I get along just fine.
I can deal with heartbreak.
I'm in my twenties, I mean...
But the only thing I really have to fear, is fear itself.
And I do.
Blame it on my lizard brain, but "What If" beats "Why Not" every time.
I want to be prepared for the next unfortunate event to kick my ass to the curb, but sometimes I create my worst fears by attempting to prevent them.
I hold onto things so dearly that they slip through my fingers or cease to exist.

Maybe that wouldn't happen if people would actually talk my problems out with me.
Maybe I would feel better if anyone else tried to do what I do.
Maybe...
Maybes are pointless.
Nobody ever made a dream coming true betting on a maybe.
And let's be real,
When would they ever find the time?
Or the energy for that matter, I mean, they are all going through so much turmoil that my needs are lost by the wayside.

So instead, I'll just let all my fears and insecurities fester.
I'll just smile and continue to carry everyone else's weight while I wait patiently on a thank you.
I'll drive myself crazy, just hoping that at some point, anyone else puts in half the effort that I do.

Symptoms.

Every morning is a battle.
The first rays of sunlight are like swords through my eyelids.
I feel like the world's fastest drummer tried for a personal record in my head and the very sound of my heart beating shoots pain around my skull.
My stomach screams out in my pain and though the rest of my body has awoken, the tips of all my digits are fast asleep.
I open my eyes and I can see the earth spinning.

All I Want.

All I want is to wake up.
I just wanna wake up somewhere and feel like I'm at home.
I want to wake up in my bed, and I can be alone if I have to be, I know who I want to share my space with, but I don't necessarily need them there.
I want to wake up in a house where I'm wanted.
Where I'm valued and appreciated and I don't have to worry about breathing too loud and disturbing the monsters under my bed.
I want to wake up without a headache.
I want to wake up without the knots in my head, the nausea, and the tingling fingers.
I wanna wake up and know my body is fine.
That I'm 100%.
That I don't have to worry about adjusting to the sunlight or forcing myself to eat something I'll throw up.
I just want to wake up fully rested and ready to take on whatever the day has in store for me. And I'm not even saying I want everything to be perfect.
I understand that it's gotta rain sometimes.
I just wanna wake up knowing I'm ready.
I wanna wake up knowing I can take it.
I wanna wake up and know that it matters and that what I do makes a difference to someone somewhere.
I wanna wake up and feel appreciated for who I am and everything I do.
I wanna wake up and know that somebody is proud of me, and that all my hard work means something.
I wanna wake up without anxiety or doubt.
I wanna wake up with enough strength and confidence to handle the day.
I always feel like I missed a step walking down the stairs.
I always feel like I leaned back in my chair too far and I'm falling but I never hit the ground.
I always feel like I'm wading towards the shore but the water keeps getting deeper.
I wanna wake up away from all that.
I wanna wake up beyond all that.
I just want to wake up, feeling like the best me that I can be.
I just want to wake up.

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