Skinny Love

On the days that I have tried everything and it still isn’t working. There I end up, sobbing and shaking like a rain drop

clinging on to the bottom of a gutter

not quite ready to let go.

I’m stuck asking; what is the point?

I am searching for a connection to show me that there is something more,

like a drainpipe for all the disappointment that pours

out of me.

I want to be right about something.

And yes, I always wanted to be right more than I wanted you

but right now I am wet paper and dry ink

I can’t write about anything but you .

I can’t connect the dots from all the love that I’ve lost.

You loved me like I was a battle worn brick wall

I wanted to be impenetrable

but you loved me for the damage that had been done.

And you thought you’d love me forever

but expectations are just resentments under construction.

Now thinking about your joy is a crime and my heart’s the one to blame

your fake sweetness doesn’t weigh as heavy on my heart as the sugar of your love that I left behind.

Now I am honey in hot water

I will melt into you no matter how bitter you become.

Bring all my insignificant lovers to the slaughterhouse

feed them my vulnerability

right before you shoot them right in between the eyes that saw what I could have been.

It seems you’re stuck on who I was

I’m stuck on who I’m gonna be

reality is probably somewhere in between

letting go and holding on.

Letting go, it is not holding your hand palm down

and letting everything and everyone you ever loved fall to the ground

no letting go is holding your hand palm up

and convincing your fingers to not curl in and grip onto what used to be

or who you used to be.

The sweat in my palms sprint for my fingertips

just as the tip of my tongue sprints from my lips

I can’t tell you who I am anymore.

I used to admire you like an uncut diamond

loving you for your sparkle without worrying about your worth.

Now diamonds put pressure onto us to make something of ourselves.

Roses have thorns that stick into our clothes and beg us not to go.

Books gather dust just as screens gather us

and we’re watching who we could be instead of being who we are.

My buddy tells me not to get caught too deep

but I’ve gone deeper into you than I’ve ever seen into myself.

My buddy tells me to not talking about the growing gap in between my thighs and yours

but your thighs are the closest thing to happiness that I have ever known.

I howled for you, but I only ever looked out for me

I am the top dog in my lonely pack

it is too bad I only feel as strong as my weakest moments.

But they say that if you truly love someone; tell them

I say if they do not believe you; then show them.

Right now all that I can see are our shadows

the sorry’s that we’ve suppressed so much that we forgot they are still following us.

Beach ball projections of our problems popping up

we play whack-a-mole with our insecurities all lined up

and you talk of my mental illness as if it is that friend that always takes the comfiest spot on the couch.

You tell me that you are going on a diet

because you need to cleanse yourself from eating up all of my false promises.

I say late night stores are convenient when I want to give up on myself.

I am eating Dare-free as in I am staying in my comfort zone.

An apple a day will keep the “I miss you” texts away

but my thoughts have gone rotten to the point that I become spinning tires in apple sauce

a sinner starving at the cross

I die and then come back after the 3 days it takes you to text me back.

I am a cinnamon heart

star crossed and starving

I create a crucifix to convince myself

that without you I am just a kid who is standing in front of a vending machine and can’t afford his favourite candy bar.

And you. You are a glass shattering rescue team.

The woman in my world who helps me wonder about a safer space

where the moon is no longer a martyr

but rather it lights up a path.

To follow it would be to walk on water.

That is to say that

it would take a miracle

for you to love me again.

LOVE: When Everything Goes Wrong

Fast forward through falling in love.  You already know how it goes.  You’ve seen the movies.  You’ve felt those butterflies.  You know what it’s like to be wrapped up in that bliss.  To be ignorant of all those flaws.  Fast forward through all that sappy, cheesy stuff.  It’s not what truly understanding love is about.

Love is about when everything goes wrong.  And you’re constantly stuck thinking why can’t this be like the movies and the fairy tales as tears fill up in your eyes and you’re driving away.  Over and over again you end up in the same spot.  With so much love for that person.  But it’s all f*cked up.  And you see their flaws so strongly.  It angers you.  They keep pushing and you need space and then finally you push and then they need space and you cry and you’re so confused and the pain in your heart is so real but everyone around you will point out their flaws more and tell you that you don’t need them.  But they’re wrong.

They don’t know you like I do.

This is supposed to be different.  We aren’t breaking up like all those other couples.  Our love is stronger.  And we keep telling ourselves that until we are finally walking away from each other.

And it’s not okay anymore.

And then you go so long thinking about all those times they cried or they yelled or they didn’t understand.  And you get angry.

Why couldn’t it have gone differently? Why’d everything have to go wrong?

You sit with those questions for quite a while.  You sit with the sadness.  You sit with the anger.  You sit with the heartbreak.

And then a memory will hit.  That moment that you were in bed and she quickly lifted her head up so you could tuck your arm underneath as you wrap your other arm around her.  And you’re supposed to be sleeping but you lift your head upand over her shoulder to catch one more peek at her face.  And you can just catch the corner of her lips as they curve upwards.

Beautiful.

Because even when everything went so f*cking wrong.

Those little things went so f*cking right.

No one can take that away from you.

Thank you.

-Christopher

A Steady Glow

I remember the first time we were staring into each others eyes and she smiled saying “you make me happy” and I smiled too. I thought it was beautiful. I felt amazing. How could I not? I was responsible for someone else’s happiness! Is there any other responsibility as powerful? Not that I’m aware of.
But then it changes.

It flips.

There we are down our path and the smiles aren’t coming as easy.
“You make me cry” she sputters at me. And I want to cry too. I thought it was heartbreaking. I felt terrible. How could I not? I was responsible for someone else’s sadness. Is there any responsibility as painful? Not that I’m aware of.

I think of the idea that we must first know the feeling of sadness in order to know and recognize happiness. We must first know pain to know pleasure.
Being the reason for ones pleasure feeds the ego. One could reach for God like ambitions.
But to be the reason for ones pain?
A candle can burn for hours, even days, lighting up a room with its consistent flickering. A steady glow.

And then in one instant. All that light that has been provided without question can be smothered out with one breathe. The pleasure can be forgotten and only pain remains.

Darkness.

It’s hard to put a heart back together in the dark.

It’s a good thing that happiness is a light. And it transfers through a smile. It is our own responsibility to receive it. Just as a candle accepts another flame. We are all responsible for our own happiness. And we have all known sadness. The moments of pleasure feel so much better when we know our pain but choose not to let it creep back into our breaths.

And soon enough.

The world may be a room full of candles.

 

Is it weird that our tears taste like the ocean?

Oh come on don’t be salty. Is it that the waves of our mind wipe us away from the thoughts of reality. The current of our stressors pulls us down so we cannot breathe. The sharks that are our thoughts smell the fear that is our blood and bite down with self hatred and judgement. We build boats of self compassion and of kindness. We ride above the waves with enjoyment. Safe and dry. The sun shines down, the seagulls swirl above exclaiming “you’re alive, you’re alive”. Take a deep breathe in. We smell the salt in the air that reminds us of the salt that once poured out of us. It reminds us of how bad it can be. It makes us so thankful for our boats. But sometimes the salt in the air and the wind act as a warning. And as the wind picks up the waves beneath us start to crash louder and louder. The thoughts in our mind are back, wiping away the simplicity from up above. The salt water jumps over the sides of our boat and soak our feet. And suddenly it’s pouring from our eyes. The clouds up above rush over us asking “what’s wrong what’s wrong” and we exclaim “I don’t know!” Our boat starts sinking under the weight of the water. Fish gather to nibble at our skin, peeling away with the water invaded cells; freeing the sadness that they once caged in. The water reaches our mouths and drags us down further, stopping us from finding words to explain. Our breathe is once again gone. Our life is nothing but frantically throwing ourselves threw the waves, no longer sure which way is up. The emergency alert in our boat frantically beeps along with our empty gasps. It struggles to get out a signal. The coast guard finally responds; “why are you so salty?”

Here’s to waking up.

Real Men Go To Work

Toxic Masculinity and “being a man” somehow got mixed up into meaning the same thing. And it’s sickening. Toxic masculinity is not strength. It is weak. And it is good for no one.

The ‘manliest’ man struggles because he cannot ask for help. Men discourage men because the conversation can never be about the last time you cried or the person you care most about.

And what is the result? Nothing less than a swipe right movement. The conversations about how many women you’ve slept with. And it’s never about their names.  It’s never about who they are.  It’s only about the notches on the belt.

The same belt that beats down the hopeful imagination of young boys.

The same belt that hangs from a ceiling fan because a man would rather tighten his neck than loosen his heart.

The belt that holds up pants which cover up your real manhood. The pants that disguise your sense of being a man with a fake sense of belonging and a false confidence that spreads like wildfire.

Truth is real men don’t need belts. Real men wear pants that fit.

Pants that wrap around their bodies comfortably, accepting the imperfections of their body just as they accept the bodies of real women instead of sizing them up to unrealistic standards. Pants that trail down to the top of work boots.

Work boots that go to work for equal rights for all human kind.

Work boots that go to work using their strength to protect the people who feel weak. To use the power in their voice for the people who are not heard.

They are not boots that stomp over the people below. Crumbling their pride, their confidence, or their consent.

Real men grab a hat as they leave for work. Not a hat that hides their true intentions and protects them from any consequences. But a hat that humbles them of their privileges and sets them out to do good.

Real men take sticks of gum and take time to chew on their words instead of spitting out insults, judgments and sexist remarks.

Real men have eyes that see the beauty in women instead of casting down shame on their image.

Men are taught to measure twice and to cut once. Measure your self-worth, build it up, and cut others some slack.  Don’t measure to show off how big you are and cut other people down.

Real men wear dirty shirts. Shirts covered in blood sweat and tears. The blood from their mother that taught them how to treat a woman.  The sweat from chasing after their goals and passions. And the tears that they cry when it all seems a little too hard.

Not the blood of your victims, the sweat from others doing your work, and the tears of the girls you’ve left behind.

Real men go to work. You can pick them out of the crowd by the gas masks they wear to protect themselves from the toxic masculinity that surrounds them. The toxic masculinity that closes in on them and asks what notch of the belt they’re on.

But I say don’t worry. I know my privileges. I am a white male in North America.  I have more opportunity than anyone else on the planet. And yet it sickens me to be a part of this stereotype. A stereotype that is all to true.  A stereotype that reads ‘rape’ all over headlines.

To have girls tell me that my friends have taken advantage of them but no one else can know. Because the verbal assault that follows might be worse than the physical.

To have men all around me cheat and lie

And when they tell their buddies it results in high fives

Cause you got laid bro.

And this is what manhood is. But you’re such a man because you get up and go to work in the morning.

Real men go to work.

They go to work for the ones who can’t.

To the kid I never knew

To the kid I never knew-

“If I fail this test I’m going to jump off the building” I’ve heard similar words being said thousands of times while I walk through the library. And I’m sure you heard them too. Too bad no one realized just how real those words could be.

But of course I don’t know why you did it. I didn’t even know you. This is all I will ever know you for. Many students will shutter at the thought of “the kid who jumped off the library roof”

I don’t know why you did it.

I don’t know you.

But I wish I did.

And I wish I could say there will be only good things left behind. But they will talk. “What kind of loser does that” “that’s so selfish” “I couldn’t even enjoy my Starbucks”

I remember my high school history teacher informing a class full of young students that anyone who commits suicide is a coward. That word has stuck in my mind ever since. Coward.

But I don’t think you’re a coward. Not at all. I think you’re brave. And no one will know just how much courage it took for you to hold on as long as you did.

Isn’t it hard to explain what it’s like to be driving down the highway to go to school and to wonder if you could turn the car and drive head on into the cement barrier. To take your meds every morning and wonder how many of them you’d have to take to die. To look out a buildings window and wonder if the fall would be enough to kill you.

Yes they will talk. And they will show that the negative outlook on mental illness is alive and well. But I want you to know that you didn’t die for nothing. You’ve given us a gift, whether people want to admit it or not.

Because of you, people will hug their friends and family a little tighter. They might end stupid arguments that have been going on for too long. They might smile at the stranger walking past them on the staircase.

Maybe “Go kill yourself” could stop being a common insult and instead could be the words no one ever says.

Maybe the words “I’d jump off this building” won’t be joked about anymore.

To the kid I never knew

I hope you have lost all the guilt and shame that came along with those thoughts.

I hope people may see you for who you were; not a loser or a crazy person but a good kid fighting an invisible war.

I hope you never have to see another person face the same choice.

I hope you have peace.

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