My Struggle with the “H Word”

In early 2015 the US Army added Asatru and Heathen to its list of recognized religions. This is cause for celebration for the estimated five thousand soldiers in the armed forces that identify with one of those names, but it’s had me grinding my teeth since I’ve read the news nearly three weeks ago. You see, only one of those names makes any sense to me, personally, as the word “heathen” is a bit of a pet peeve. Asatru and Heathen, or Heathenry, both refer to the traditional religious beliefs of Northern Europe and Scandinavia. So what’s the difference? Why two names for a single belief set? The difference lies primarily in etymology and is not as nuanced as the differences one might encounter when choosing between titles like Protestant versus Lutheran. Asatru literally translates into “true to the Aesir,” or the primary deities of the faith. Heathen is a bit more loaded. One of the largest religious organizations that represents this faith, The Troth, says this right on their homepage: “There are several modern names for various forms of our religion: Asatru, Forn Sed, Urglaawe, Theodism, and others. Historically, we were called Heathens, and we still use that name now, too.”

While this claim is true it gives no explanation for the name’s origin or who it was that called the Northern Europeans that. Generally, heathen meant “not Christian” and was thrown around by those that were. If you dig deeper you can find possible roots in Old Norse and Gothic languages that meant “dwelling on the heath” or scrubby, uncultivated land. There is no evidence to suggest it was an epithet that the Norse and Germanic peoples used to self describe themselves in a religious or spiritual context. Most of the time, like you might find its use in the current King James Version of the Bible, it was derogatory or patronizing. As I said earlier, I hate the term. Don’t let my belief in old world sky gods fool you; I am exceptionally well educated. I have backgrounds in Biology, Psychology, and English (literature and creative writing, specifically.) I have lived in several metropolitan cities and seen much of the world beyond my home country. I am not a subsistence farmer living far from civilization and feel that my beliefs are perfectly legitimate, so why would I self identify with a word that undermines everything I’ve accomplished? Why would anyone? Unfortunately, the answer may be simple ignorance, or chosen for divisive reasons.

The first time I reached out to a larger community that shared my belief system I found the local folkbuilders of the AFA, or Asatru Folk Assembly. These are the people that are meant to carry the AFA’s message to the new recruits and populations that may be underserved. Apart from myself there were maybe six others and their children. Aside from what I considered to be interesting parenting choices I was disturbed by how quickly the conversation fell to mocking Christianity. “Your god is nailed to a cross, mine has a hammer.” Charming. It dawned on me that everyone in the group had a previously bad encounter with Christianity and a few seemed to regard themselves as still being in the thick of the struggle between our religion and Christian oppression, a struggle that was effectively resolved several hundred years before any of our births. Calling themselves heathens could be an extension of this identity, adopting and owning a word that is decidedly un-Christian. This is why I prefer Asatru. It says everything that I feel is important about my faith with as few pretexts as possible. I am simply true to the Aesir, and not part of some senseless centuries old conflict that requires polarizing appellations that are not historically specific to any race or religion. I am not a heathen. I am better than that. We are better than that.

How you label yourself is ultimately your decision and frankly none of my business. Religious identity is a big deal in this country, a country that has a foundation on religious freedom, and is only growing more important in an age of religious conflicts at home and abroad. All the more reason, I think, for us to be making informed choices about how we present ourselves and our faith to the world. Perhaps the next step in the process of bringing our ancient beliefs into the modern world might be setting a particular “H Word” to rest, once and for all.

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A Thank You Note. Reverb14 for 12/22

Dear Ex-Girlfriends,

I’m writing today just to drop a quick note of sincere gratitude this holiday season. I know we’ve drifted and lost touch as our lives have progressed and turned down different avenues of life, especially in this past year that brought so many changes, but I’m hoping this season will be kind to you. This being the second day of Yule I am thinking of the role of justice in my life. For me this means looking back at wrongs – both those I feel committed against me as well as those I’ve willfully committed. I look back on both with equal regret and I deeply wish things could have been different. I wish I were mature enough to never have lashed out in anger or jealousy, or withheld my true feelings for fear of the consequences. If I could do it all again I would have been generally more honest and genuine because I’m seeing how short my life actually is, and what a disservice I had done because you never really got to know me to my fullest. Each fight, each resentment, each bruised emotion we both suffered have undoubtedly reverberated across our lives like ripples on a pond and I hope your current and future partners do not suffer because of the hurts I’ve caused you as I know my partners have felt the effects of your collective influence on me. We have damaged each other and I am hoping this season we can close the wounds, cover the scars, and live and love better for the experience we brought into our lives.

Thank you and Happy Holidays,


To That One Particular UW Student,

You marked my final quarter of undergrad education with a note of irritation but I’m also thankful because you reminded me of a valuable lesson I had previously forgotten; I can be friendly, but don’t need to be friends with everyone. I tried being friendly to you and after a time you rebuffed that for whatever reason. You’re young so I forgive your behavior. Perhaps you thought I was overstepping a boundary in asking about your health, even though you’d freely brought the subject up the week before. You told me that you liked to keep your email purely for school purposes, but didn’t seem to realize that every time I used it I was doing so purely for school purposes. We were comrades in the same class, and you were smarter than the average student so I was simply trying to establish a rapport and keep you as part of my writing community post-graduation. That’s it. If you suspected something more was up, you need a bit of a reality check. Why would someone as glorious as me, who already has a romantic partner, his shit together, a home and real life want ANYTHING from a mouthy, dorm-bound, under-drinking-age brunette like you. You’re fucking lucky I gave you the time of day after the gutless display of fear you showed at a little spider that I magnanimously extracted from your space with my bare fucking hands. All I can really say is thanks for reminding me not to give a shit about every person that crosses my path and I hope your holidays aren’t completely ruined by the centipedes in your vagina or whatever the fuck your problem was.

peace out, dumb ass,


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My First Day at UW

It was overcast my first day on campus.  Being the university of Washington in Seattle, it was exactly how I hoped it would be.

Aside from going to the bookstore, I had only stepped foot on campus twice and both times I felt like a bit of an interloper.

I found my classroom in the basement of the school of social work building.  Which was weird. I’m taking a class in literary criticism, so why I was in the same building that was my ex’s alma mater, and the school I had tentatively planned on going to before realizing I’d rather die than be a social worker was beyond me.

The hallways were close, unlit, and sloped downward to unseen expanses.  Fixtures for overhead flourescent lighting sat empty.  Maintenance of basements is not a huge priority during the summer quarter for UW’s staff.

The elevator smelled like a subway restaurant; yeast and failure.  I hoped that this would not act as an omen for my first university level class.  Sure, a public university, but still a huge step up from community college.  I still have 45 minutes before class, so I go exploring.

I found the Odegaard Undergraduate Library with relative ease and went in to get my Husky Card, the university’s identification, payment, and bus pass.  The picture was actually pretty good, and I pulled out my state ID to compare the two.  In the state’s picture I am clean-shaven and heavy, in the husky card’s picture I have a red beard and very little fat on my face and neck.  It strikes me that I’m looking at the metamorphosis from boy to man and I feel proud to finally be where I am, inside the University, finally.  Then I realize that it’s taken ten years to get to where I am, and that pride evaporates.  I’ll be 10 years older than the average student. 6 or so years older than other students in my “grade level.”  That’s annoying.  It’ll be an obstacle to making those “lifelong friendships” I keep hearing about.  It will probably limit my accessibility to females attending UW to get their MRS degree, should I choose to go that way.

I decide it’s all immaterial anyway.  I just need to get back to my classroom, make it through this quarter which is only 4 weeks long then I can worry about getting more funding, class loads, part-time employment, etc…  For today I just need to survive.

I’m the 3rd person to class, and I go in feeling like it’s my first day in prison.  I size my classmates up, looking for one of similar size so that I can kill him to demonstrate to the others that I’m not to be trifled with.  One is a light-haired crew cut boy wearing a purple UW pullover hoodie.  He’s watching something on his laptop and doesn’t notice me.  The other is a girl with red hair and cut off jean shorts, eating a scone and checking her Facebook on her iPhone.

They’re both just children.  I let them live and sit down.


Others file in slowly.  A boy wearing a fed ex uniform, and an Indian girl with Egyptian style eyeliner and a hoop in one nostril.  She glances at me several times with a look of mistrust or disbelief.  Nice.

Another male follows her.  A surfer douche.  Tanned skin and curly hair peeking out from underneath a cap worn backwards.  A braided hemp and glass bead necklace and a matching bracelet.

A middle-aged man from Iran who looks like he used to be a civil engineer.  Everything about him is generic and understated.


Then a wisp of a girl drifts into the class room.  Flaxen hair, pale skin, a round face and large round eyes spaced a bit widely.  She is a Scandinavian gem, and my genes react instantly and I feel my skin tingle.

“Take her!” screams my inner Viking marauder into my left ear.  “Take her and make her yours!”

“Bah!” mutters the Greybeard chieftain, my voice of reason, into my right.  “That?  Yes, she is fine and fair.  And slight.  Not a scar on her shins or a line on her face.  No ink or metal has marred her flesh.  Since when has that ever interested you?”  I consider this council and look at her again.  “No,” he says “she is a girl.  You need a woman.  Someone with calluses on her hands and tales to tell.  That one has nothing to offer you.”

The marauder and I agree, and we haven’t looked at her since.

The rest of the class is from Asia.  Literally 60% of my class is between 18-20 years old and non-native English speakers from every country between Laos and Japan.  I am head and shoulders taller than them and my arms are like their legs.  I feel very out of place.  I am an elderly giant and I hate every breath I take.


The class is almost full and the teacher comes in and arranges some of her papers on a table.  Promptly at the beginning of class she asks the class if they did the reading from last time.

Dammit, I’m in the wrong classroom.  After all my reconnaissance I still manage to get the classroom wrong.  Nice.

Students begin to pull books out.  They look familiar.  They’re the same books I have in my bag.

“Did anyone who was not here last time get the syllabus from the website?”

Whaaaaaaaaaaat.  What do you mean “last time”?  B term starts today!

“Ok, this is English 200, Reading Lit Forms, and unlike most of B term we met for the first time last Thursday.  You should all be finished reading Heart of Darkness by now.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I break out in a sweat.  This is a nightmare.  My first day as a university student and I’m already behind.  Woefully behind, as heart of darkness is 76 pages of poetic gibberish and a chore to read, and I need to endure the next two hours trying to make myself invisible and avoiding discussion or being called upon.  I have none of the materials, none of the reading done, can’t even find the class website!  Ugh!  This isn’t working!  The elevator was an omen!


I’m 3 days in now, my book is read, I have all the materials, and I’m not bragging, but I fucking dominated the discussion today.  Nobody in the class even picked up on the allusions of cannibalism in book 2, and the professor was impressed that I caught it.


I think I’ll be ok.



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An Anniversary of Sorts

363 days ago I checked myself into the emergency room for extreme suicidal ideation.

I had the means.  I had a plan.  Without intervention I would have followed through.

Even after the help I received, from mental health agencies and friends, I did end up hurting myself and leaving scars.  They are superficial, and hard to see unless you go looking for them, though they do serve as a reminder.

The ordeal left heavier emotional scars on me.  Just as deep scarring can hinder the mobility or flexibility of a limb or joint, the scars on my psyche and my heart have left me changed and functioning at a lower capacity. 

I ended two relationships within days of eachother (it’s complicated) and was relatively devastated.  I was hurt, I’m still hurt, but doing much better than I was.  Hope was essentially lost for a while, and that desire to be a partner again kicked off something of a sexual rampage that lasted until early 2012.  I saw a pattern emerging, a pattern I did not like, so I stopped myself and have settled into a more appropriate “business model”.

My capacity for love has decreased greatly, my willingness or ability to trust is degraded.  My hope for the future is not as bright as it once was, but I keep trying.

I’ve learned to be truer to myself than ever before, and have accomplished much in this past year.  I’m slowly but surely becoming the person I want to be, and had I chosen death I would have left this world without the level of self-actualization I’ve achieved.

So if you’re going through a hard time, you have my sympathy and my empathy.  And remember, as bad as things are, you need to stay alive at least long enough to see the end of The Avengers trilogy.  Thanos, bro.  It’s going to be awesome.


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Quite the Cast of Characters


I’ve mentioned a few times on the twitter that my gym is interesting. I’ve been robbed there, hit on by HUGE naked men there, made and lost friends there. It has seen the birth and death of at least two relationships. If you remove the fact that I sleep at home, it’s the place that I spend the most time at work. I go there after work to help me calm my mind and temper my body. I go on the weekend as an act of reverence and worship, saying the names of my gods and runes of strength between each rep. It has become an essential part of my life, but is also fraught with perils of its own.

This isn’t just any gym, it’s a Gold’s Gym, and I’m told this attracts a certain type of client. It is also located on Capitol Hill, which also attracts a certain type of human. When you put these two elements together you get a gym that has become known as a scene, meat market, and gay spawning ground.

Now, a disclaimer: I’m not a homophobe in any respect. I’ve worked for, volunteered for, and befriended several people in the gay community. I support marriage equality.However, I’m about to make fun of gays in this post. I’m about to do this for the same reasons I make fun of other people who appear to be walking stereotypes; because they seem to have nothing else to them once you look past their stereotypical traits. Fat Italians who wear gold chains and track suits who revel in their Italianess, black/white kids who buy into thug culture and want nothing more than to be rappers and are super loud about this on my morning bus, straight white boys who want nothing more than to go out, get drunk and get pussy. None of you are actual people to me, you are simply archetypes to fill in the background of the story I am the main character of and live day by day, page by page. It’s nothing personal or discriminatory.  I’m not mocking any group, I’m mocking individuals who exemplify a stereotype.  If you’re funny, I’m going to mock you. It is the circle of life.

So! That being said, I’m going to assume you have no problem with this. If you do have a problem with this, and you’re going to read on anyway, you are probably just looking for something to be mad at and you should really go outside for a bit and get some fresh air.

This gym has an interesting cast of characters I see consistently. I shall list them for your amusement.

#1. Moses: This old guy is always here, wears sweat pants and braces of every conceivable type but is dedicated to his fitness and has nothing but my respect. He doesn’t hog machines, he doesn’t even wear headphones. He’s so motivated he doesn’t need that extra boost that music can provide. He is hardcore in a Jack Lalanne kind of way that I hope I can emulate when I’m his age.

#2. Lazy-eyed Adonis: This guy was chiseled from marble and then had life breathed into him. He is built. His physique is flawless, his hair is always perfect, his stubble the perfect uniform length that gives him that blend of ruggedness, mystery, and sensuality that I just can’t duplicate. I would kill to be this guy. Except he’s got a fucked up eye. I don’t know how he feels about this. Maybe it’s what drives him to be so god dammed perfect in every other way, or maybe he doesn’t care because 98% of him perfect and he figures he can afford to have a fucked up eye. Maybe he fucked up his own eye to level the playing field. He sacrificed his right eye to make sure that slobs like me would be able to attract a mate. My hat is off to this man. You are an inspiration to me.

#3. Smug Hispanic: This guy lifts a respectable amount, but uses 2-3 benches at a time and sits down between sets looking around at everyone else with a look of amusement on his face. I am unable to know what goes on behind those brown eyes and greased back hair, but his crappy gym habits are enough to earn my enmity and motivate me to thwart his multiple bench using habit whenever possible.  That wipes the smug look off his face.

#4. The Portu-gays: There are two men who go to my gym, almost 7 feet tall, with dark skin, oval faces, and big waves of brown hair. They look kinda like lamas to me. They speak something that’s almost Spanish sounding, but not quite. I’m thinking it’s Portuguese. Either way, one is dedicated and usually focused on his workout. I have no quarrel with this one. It’s the other that upsets me. He often dances to whatever is on his headphones while the other is working out and once asked me to move my bench so he could do lateral raises in the space next to me. This makes him an asshole. What I was doing required a bench, what he was doing did not. He could go anywhere and do his exercise whereas I could not. I’m pretty conflict avoidant, and didn’t really want to deal with this were-lama, so I scooted my bench, like, two inches to the left, but on the inside I was telling him to take his shitty 15 pounders and go eat a fucking dick.

#5. Hypertwink: Another binary entity of my gym. One is small and built, the other is tall and a work in progress. The small one has this perfect, effeminate, porcelain little boy face complete with one curl in the center of his forehead and little pin curls by his ears. It’s like this guy goes to this gym because the one in Whoville closed down. He’s never done anything to piss me off, besides looking ridiculous.

#6 SHE: Named after the character in the Henry Haggard book, this blonde girl instantly caught my eye. She had the kind of curvy build that I found so desirable, big blue eyes, and dusky blonde hair. She always worked with a trainer, a huge black protector that stood as an omnipresent wall between my person and her majesty. I’d stare at her between sets in a manner that was almost predatory, watching her movements, trying to catch onto a pattern of where she could be and at what time so I could inch close enough to pounce. But that fucking trainer! Always there! Always engaging her!  This hulking eunuch was ever watchful!  Despite my stealthy approach, I never found an opening to sprint forward and seize her heart. I finally asked a friend there to get some information on her for me. Turns out she’s in a long term committed relationship, a mother of a special needs child, and has a dubious source of income. Fuck that. I called off the hunt.  As tantalizing as she seemed, I decided there was easier prey elsewhere.

That same so called friend finally chatted this girl up and let her know she had an admirer at the gym without revealing who. She was flattered, but also surprised. She had no idea that any straight men even went to that gym.  I found this news troubling.  Had I employed too much stealth, or do I look gay?  Or, like the chameleon or cuttlefish, was my camouflage so effective I appeared to be gay so as to avoid detection in plain sight?  Who knows.  Next time, I’m going to be the perfect mixture of leopard and peacock.  I will approach unseen, blending in until I’m close enough to strike and reveal a mating display that says “LOOK AT MY FEATHERS BITCH.”

#7. The Huxtables:  Two middle aged and avuncular black men who spend more time talking sports than they do lifting weights. They seriously look like they could have been characters on the Cosby Show.  But when they do lift weights, they lift HEAVY.  It’s pretty impressive.

#8.  Captain Asshole:  This guy comes in with a ridiculous amount of accoutrements for working out.  A huge water bottle, notebook, iphone, towel, little grip pad glove thingies.  He is constantly asking people if they’re almost done or how many sets they have left, and no matter the answer, he’ll just stand there waiting like a creep.  He always wears the same workout clothes and shoes that aren’t even really athletic shoes.  Instead of looking around he just scowls at himself in the mirror.  He doesn’t dance or sing or talk to other people, which is a plus, but he will sometimes say “dammit!” a bit louder than might be necessary.  Also, he once farted on a slant board while doing weighted sit-ups and laughed so hard and so loud that he dropped the weight and slid off the board, then called someone up to tell them what he just did and laughed about it some more.

Yes, you’ve guessed right.  I am Captain Asshole.


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Old Homes, Murder, Heartbreak.

The anxiety dreams continue.

Last night’s was pretty grim.

I have a lot of recurring themes in my dreams, but the most cryptic of these is the house I lived in when I was 13-15 in Tennessee.  The house itself sometimes changes, but there is always certain key elements, like the deck, the huge and densely wooded back yard, a fenced in dog run that was never used and covered in ivy, and animals everywhere.  Sometimes they are wandering around the front yard, sometimes pouring out of the back yard.  Owls, raccoons, mountain lions, bears, elk, animals I never saw while I lived at this can be found in abundance in the dream version.  Sometimes the trees had faces.  Sometimes there is an ogre or troll thing that lives in the dog run.  Sometimes the house is the same as when I lived there, and sometimes it has improvements made to modernize it.  I’m not sure what the significance of the house is, but I will always remember one dream where I was standing in the driveway looking at the house, felt hands on my shoulders, and a voice saying, “this is your home.  Your true home.”

Anyway, now that you know that bit of history with the house, we can proceed to the dream.

There are some parts I can’t really remember too thoroughly, like taking a bus to the mall in Bellevue, getting stuck in a turnstile, arguing with someone as to whether or not an animal in the mall was a hippo or a tapir (it WAS a tapir) but none of that matters.  I returned home to the house in TN, and my mom was cooking.  She told me a package had come earlier that day and I was very excited.  It was several components for a stealth suit I was designing.  I put it all together, put it on and activated the sound dampening properties and the night vision goggles.  It would, in theory, make me almost invisible in the dark, as well as muffle any sounds I made.  I put it on and went outside.  I sat down near a tree and waited for all the animals I knew would be coming out once the sun had set.  I remember waiting and waiting, then a stray dog, a german shepherd, wandered into my yard.  I began sneaking up on it.  Its ears only perked up and began sniffing around when I was only a few feet away.  I turned the suit off and gave the dog a little pat.  The test was a success as far as I was concerned.  If I could hide from a dog’s keen senses, I would be completely off a human’s radar.

I was feeling very proud of myself and went inside to tell my mom about my success.  I went up the stairs to the kitchen to tell her, when I saw her on the floor.  There was blood everywhere.  She had somehow been murdered in the short time I was outside.  Police and a SWAT team was approaching my house and telling me over loud speakers to give myself up.  I was being framed.  I crashed through the sliding glass door and turned the suit on, disappearing into the woods.  I stole equipment from the SWAT team and lived in the woods, always moving to keep from being captured.  Sometimes I’d attack the people who were coming after me.  FBI, US Marshals, Special Forces teams.  I’d take their equipment and augment their gear to my suit, becoming even harder to catch the next time.  Sometimes I’d kill them, other times I’d leave them injured as a warning to not come after me again.  It was very real in the dream; holding a gun on two men and disarming them, forcing their hands into zip ties to restrain them, killing one with a shot to the head, taking a boot knife from the dead soldier and then sticking it into the abdomen of the other.

It was awful.  I felt awful, but in the dream I just wanted to survive.

I would break into houses, small hotels along my path, whatever I could find to steal supplies.  One hotel room was empty and I was going through things when I realized that I knew the person who was staying there.  I recognized the luggage, the makeup bag, etc…  My ex was staying there.  I decided to not take anything and just ran.  I had to get away before she knew I had been there.  I ran for days.

Also, in the dream, I knew I couldn’t run forever.  I came upon an area I expected to be dense woods only to find it had been cleared for timber and was being squatted on by several families with trailers.  A boy saw me and shot at me.  He was very far off but was obviously well versed with his rifle as he was almost hitting me and getting closer with each shot.  I hid behind a rock, and remember spitting into the air, and seeing a bullet hit that spit.  I gave myself up by putting both hands in the air and slowly coming out from behind cover.

Turns out, he was only shooting at me because I was trespassing.  Not because I was a fugitive.  They had no idea who I was or what I’d done.  Once they found out, they believed I was framed and said that I could stay with them.  They would introduce me to their community.  They’d help me hide.  They were going to cook a big venison dinner for me and I agreed to help cook.   I was chopping up onions when the mother of my host family asked me to go next door to borrow something.  I knocked on the door but there was no answer.  The community was small and tightly knit so I let myself in and announced myself.

I walked into the kitchen and saw a man and a woman kissing.  One was my work crush, the other a different person I work with.  I gave them a look of shock, I’m sure, and they gave me a look of surprise, confusion, “we’d thought you were dead”, etc…

The work crush just said “Jesse, I’m sorry.”  She kept saying it as I walked out.  I walked out of the clearing and trailers, back into the woods.  I walked until I’d crested a small hill that had no trees on it.  I looked around at the wilderness, mountains, a river.  I knew I couldn’t run anymore.

I took out my gun and shot myself.

Then I woke up.


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I’ve got lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head this morning.
First up deals with my spiders. I have two, which many of you know. The smallest one, named Baby, is very creative. I bought her a fake crocodile skull about 3-4 inches long to play in. This was awesome for a long time, then a couple months ago she decided she needed more privacy. She lined the inside with webs and then lined that with coconut husk fiber. She dug up the bottom and burrowed out the side and then built that tunnel entrance up to almost half the height of the skull. This might be a terrible description of what she’s done, but it’s the best I can do. Well, picture an igloo; that’s the croc skull, now picture a wall/turret that serves as the entrance to the igloo. That’s what we’re looking at.
Anyway, she molted in there not long ago, much to my chagrin, because I can’t get in her fort to retrieve it. So it’s just hanging from the roof of her fort like a gross hollow corpse chandelier. That seemed like a crazy goth thing to do, but I wasn’t too worried.
Now, however, she’s taken it down, pulled some of it apart and used the legs to reinforce the fort. That seems like something a serial killer would do. Plus, she’s been super shy, so I’m twicely worried about her increasingly disturbing and antisocial behavior.
Have I failed her as a father somehow?
Are all spiders goths, just because they’re spiders?
Is there a spider somewhere that wants to wear a pink polo shirt with the collar popped collar and spend spring break in Cabo?
Not my spiders, that’s for sure.

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102 Questions and 102 Answers

1. Think of the last person who said I love you, do you think they meant it?
Yes, I believe so.

2. Would you date an 18-year-old at the age you are now?
Oh lord no. Actually. Hell, I dunno.

3. When’s the last time you were aggravated and happy at the same time?
Probably when I caught my cat eating my dinner.

4. Would you ever smile at a stranger?
I smile at kids, dogs, cats, and MILF’s I don’t know.

5. Is there someone mad because you’re dating/talking to the person you are?
YES. YES, INDEED. To be fair, she’s probably more mad that I wouldn’t change for her.

6. Have you heard a song that reminds you of someone today?
Not yet this morning. I’ve only listened to NPR, and “How was your week?” with Julie Klausner.

7. What exactly are you wearing right now?
Black short sleeved dress shirt with a white tie, black polyester undershirt, black undies, blue jeans, white socks, black all-stars that are getting pretty beat up, black leather cuff on my right wrist, black hoodie with white drawstring and a zipper with white accents, black “gotham” style glasses, black plugs in my ears and a 2mm steel ball in my lip.
This is me 5 days a week.

8. How often do you listen to music?
Every day, for the majority of the day.

9. Do you wear jeans or sweats more?

10. Do you think your life will change dramatically before 2013?
I’m waiting to hear about a University of WA application, so I hope that it changes dramatically. I’d really like to cut my hours at work and go to school full time. Or quit the job completely.

11. Are you a social or an antisocial person?
I am an introvert. That is different from being “antisocial.” Antisocial is a word that describes traits associated with certain mental disorders. I’m not a psychopath, sociopath or anything else like that. I’m just shy and would prefer to spend my time either alone or with a beautiful girl. Or cats n spiders.

12. Have you ever kissed someone whose name begins with the letter ‘A’?
Yes, once. Spin the Bottle. Allison, 7th grade. Fuck she was a weird looking girl too. That’s the only one I remember. If I’m missing someone, I apologize.

13. What about ‘R’?
Yep. A Robyn and a Rachel. A Rebecca, but she just went by Becca, so I’m not counting her.

14. Can you drive a stick shift?

15. Do you care if people talk badly about you?
For a few seconds, then I don’t care.

16. Are you going out of town soon?
It’s possible. If only to go up north a bit to hit a reptile zoo.

17. When was the last time you cried?
A few months after my dad died when it really sunk in that the chapters of my life where I had a dad were done. That book closed and the story is over.

18. Have you ever told someone you loved them?

19. If you could change your eye color, would you?

20. Is there a boy who you would do absolutely everything for?
No. I’m not the type to do everything for someone. Now if you asked if I’d do “anything”, then perhaps. This question sounds like you’re asking if I’d be a caretaker. That answer is a solid no.

21. Name something you dislike about the day you’re having.

22. Is it cute when guys kiss you on your forehead?
Not really, because I’m a boy and straight.

23. Are you dating the last person you talked to?
No, the last person I spoke to was a coworker who told me she was going upstairs for some decaf tea. I mumbled “Get some AIDS while you’re at it.”
I don’t like this person.

24. What are you sitting on right now?
A high backed “executive chair.” It lets me slouch like you wouldn’t believe.

25. Does anyone regularly (other than family) tell you they love you?
Yes. A few people.

26. Have you ever wanted someone you couldn’t have?
Yes. I’ve had a few situations where there was someone I couldn’t have because I was separated by them in age, distance, economic standing, etc… There are people I had briefly and then lost though I still wanted them. See several of my past entries about this.

27. Who was the last person you talked to before you went to bed last night?
My best friend.

28. Do you get a lot of colds?
No, only about 2-3 a year that last 2-3 days.

29. Where is the shirt you are wearing from?
The internet.

30. Does anyone hate you?

31. Do you have any empty alcohol bottles hidden somewhere in your room?
I’m getting the impression this survey is created for the 12 year old girl demographic. I’m a 30 year old boy. I can leave empty alcohol bottles where ever I want, eat candy for dinner and watch movies of people in various states of undress at any moment of my choosing. Eat it, 12 year old girls. Being an adult male rules.

32. Do you like watching scary movies?
Indeed. It’s almost 90% of what I watch. Why? Because I think monsters are cute.

33. Do you want your tongue pierced?
I want YOUR tongue pierced.

34. If you had to delete one year of your life completely, which would it be?
Oh good lord. This is too difficult to answer. For reals. Too difficult. If I had to choose…No, I can’t. This is literally the hardest question I’ve encountered in a really long time. I’m surprised it doesn’t involve math.

35. Did you have a dream last night?
I did. I sorta wish I hadn’t, but oh well.

36. When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Last night.

37. Do you think you’ll be married in 5 years?
I don’t want to talk about this.

38. Do you think someone has feelings for you?
I’m sure a few people do. I can only handle one at a time. Hell, I can barely handle one at a time.

39. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?

40. Did you have a good day yesterday?
Ugh. No. I did not. It was my 6 year anniversary at my job and it was like 6 years of bullshit compressed into an entire day.

41. Think back 2 months ago; were you in a relationship?
2 months ago would be 2/18…I was dating, and was just horribly rejected and cut off from someone. Which I have no issues around. At all. Totally over it. I’m a liar.

42. In the next 48 hours, will you hang out with a girl?
Hang out is kind of a loose term here. I do have some plans to help my best friend be domestic. We’ll carpool to a store and buy some thangs, then I’ll help her with her floors and she’ll help me fold some laundries. We might play Castle Crashers later, but I dunno. It’s not really hanging out, it’s just a symbiosis.
43. Has anyone told you they don’t want to ever lose you?
Yes. They’ve all lost me, one way or another.

44. What’s the best part about school?
It isn’t work and occasionally I can see down a person’s shirt. I’m kidding. Mostly.

45. Do you have any pictures on your Facebook?
I’m not on facebook.

46. Do you ever pass notes to your friends in school?
No, but when I was in school I’d just text my friends or class partners stuff. Usually when someone we hated was presenting, I’d text something like “gawd, STFU.”

47. Do you replay things that have happened in your head?
Every goddam day.

48. Were you single over the last summer?
No. But I also wasn’t exclusive. I mean, I was, but I had the option to see other people if I wanted to. But I didn’t. So you tell me if I was single or not.

49. Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
I’m having less sex and I’m sadder. I have more muscle, more spiders, I listen to more dance music, and I’ve graduated. Aside from that, pretty much the same.

50. What are you supposed to be doing right now?

51. Do you hate the last guy you had a conversation with?
The last male I had a conversation with isn’t my favorite guy in the world, but I don’t hate him.

52. Are you nice to everyone?
No, absolutely not.
I’m either nice to you or completely introverted and removed.

53. Have you ever liked someone you didn’t expect to?

54. Do you think you can last in a relationship for 6 months and not cheat?
Yes. I’ve done it before. My cheating days are over.

55. Are you good at hiding your feelings?
Yes. Even from myself.

56. Do you think you like someone?
Well I’m seeing someone right now, do you mean aside from that? There are people I have crushes on because I don’t actually know them. They’re basically objects I’d like to possess. History has shown me that as soon as I act on those crushes and humanize them, I lose interest in the crush.

57. Have you kissed someone whose name starts with a ‘J’?
Yes. Jessica. Jesse and Jessica. Hilarious. Oh! And a Julie.

58. Do you prefer to be friends with girls or boys?
Girls. They smell better, are nicer to look at.

59. Has anyone of your friends ever seen you cry?
Yes. One or two.

60. Do you hate anyone?

61. How’s your heart?
This question could be interpreted in several different ways. My heart is fine. My blood pressure is normal. My cholesterol is low.
As for the other implied meaning, I’d say I “feel” about 40% of what I did at peak middle school heart levels.

62. Is there something that happened in your past that you hate talking about?
Tons. I won’t get into it here or now.

63. Have you ever cried over a guy?
Again with this crap? My dad. Sort of . It was more crying that I no longer have a dad.

64. Who is probably talking a load of crap about you right now?
An ex. Several ex’s. A coworker?

65. Are your toenails painted pink?
Why the hell would they be? I’m a friggin boy over here.

66. Will your next kiss be a mistake?
Only if I miss and I hit that person in the eye or nose or something. I once pounced on a girl to kiss her at the exact moment she pounced to kiss me and we banged teeth. It’s why I have a chipped tooth.

67. Girls love it when boyfriends cry; correct?
Don’t care.

68. Have your pants ever fallen down in public?
Ha! No.

69. Who was the last person you were on the phone with?
My best friend.

70. How do you look right now?
See question 7. You decide how that would look. It’s subjective.

71. Do you have someone you can be your complete self around?
Yes. Farts and all.

72. Can you commit to one person?

73. Do you have someone of the opposite sex you can tell everything to?

74. Have you ever felt replaced?

75. Did you wake up cranky?
Today, no. In this past week? Yes.

76. Are you a jealous person?
Somewhat. Usually about stuff that I can’t change and aren’t the other person’s fault.
Like I wish I had that person’s features or body or economic status they were born into, or their girlfriend or something like that.

77. Are relationships ever worth it?
For me, yes. For you? Don’t care.

78. Anyone you’re giving up on?
At the moment? No. Have I given up on someone in the past? Yes. It’s basically what happens every time you break up.

79. Currently wanting to see anyone?

80. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Work. Poop.

81. Last person you cried in front of?
My best friend. I was in the emergency room with suicidal ideation. Bawling my eyes out.

82. Is there someone you will never forget?
I will never forget several people, either because they improved my life, did something very memorable, or traumatized me.

83. Do you think the person you have feelings for is protective of you?
Hoo boy, good question. I guess. She would want what’s best for me, would like to protect me from harm, but that’s as far as it goes. She wouldn’t forbid that I do anything, per se, in the interest of protecting me. I think she’d forbid me from doing certain things in order to protect herself and what we have. That’s just being reasonable however. For instance, if I’m dating someone, I have a no narcotics rule. I also have a no having sex with other people rule. These are because I don’t want to catch the second hand bullshit associated with either of those. Once I’m out of your life, go nuts, you degenerate piece of filth.

84. If the person you wish to be with were with you, what would you be doing right now?
I imagine I’d still be here working. Gotta pay the bills, and even if they were super wealthy I’d probably still work so I could supply my own food and comics.

85. Are you over your past?
Some of it.

86. Have you ever liked one of your best friends of the opposite sex?

87. Is there anyone you can tell EVERYTHING to?
See question 73.

88. If your first true love knocked on your door with apology and presents, would you accept?

89. So, the last person you kissed just happens to arrive at your door at 3AM; do you let them in?
Yes. WTF.

90. Have you ever liked someone who your friends hated?
9 times out of 10 it feels like.

91. Will you be in a relationship in 2 months?
Who can say?

92. Is there anyone you know with the name Michael?

93. Have you ever kissed a Matthew?
No, straight male. Again.

94. Were you in a relationship in January? How was it going?
January was hard. I was romantically entangled in several different ways.
The Everett incident happened in January. There was the girl from the summer I was still occasionally intimate with. My feelings for the ex were still there. My feelings for the other ex were still there. January was hard, ok???

95. Were you happy with the person you liked in March?
This march? Or last march? This march, yes. Last march, yes and no.

96. Don’t tell me lies, is the last person you texted attractive?

97. Who do you have texts from?
My best friend, my sister, another friend, the girl I’m seeing, a friend from work. AT&T saying I’m running low on data and I may experience reduced speeds once I’m over.

98. If the person you like says they like someone else, what would you say?
Sucks to be me I guess, see ya.

99. Have you ever kissed someone older than you?
16 years older. Shazam.

100. Who’s in your profile picture with you?

101. Ever kissed under fireworks?
Yes indeed.

102. Has anybody ever given you butterflies?
Butterflies in my stomach? Yes. It’s kind of a rare occurrence now. I think that’s because my heart is only working at 40% optimal performance.
I have never been given an actual butterfly.

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Good night?

I should be getting ready for bed.
Instead, I’m on my couch writing this and listening to my cat complain about something. We had an exciting night of wrangling escaped crickets.
So why am I not getting ready for bed? Simple: I’m afraid.

I’ve been having anxiety dreams every goddam night for a week. My left eye has been twitching for a month. As stoic and reserved as I may seem, I’m flipping out inside. I can’t take another night of anxiety dreams.

What do I dream about that has me so stressed? In no particular order, we have:
Work. Doing work things and having it not go well.
Past work. I’m forced to return to my previous position. Guh.
My dad. He’s dead.
My ex. She’s alive. I think.
Being naked in weird places/times.
Bears chasing me. Then killing me.
Being homeless. Again.
School. Not being able to afford it.
Not being prepared. Not being talented enough. Not being worthwhile.

Why am I having all these anxiety dreams? Good question.
The thing that bothers me most is that I’m now beginning to have compound anxiety. I’m having a combination of 3 or more stress themes appear in a single dream. Last night’s was being in prison, seeing the ex coming towards my cell block, escaping by flying through the roof to avoid her, being homeless and eventually making it to my dad’s girlfriend’s house and talking to my dad on the phone about when I’d be around to visit him (because he’s dead, that’s why he’s not at home with his girlfriend, I’m talking to him from beyond the butt-fucking grave) and arguing with him about seeing my sister, going through the dressers in my room at his place and finding no clothes that fit and knowing the cops will be there to get me at any moment, and I’ll be naked when they do.

So what are the interpretations of these dreams? Well, obviously, frogs are scary as shit. Being naked means being vulnerable, which I hate to be. The ex girlfriend and my dad will always be bound together because I got back with her the day after seeing my dad for the last time, and she was with me when I learned he had died. Both people symbolize a relationship that ended abruptly and on terms I am unable to reconcile or change. They appear in my dreams to make me feel powerless.
So vulnerability and powerlessness come together with the other themes and make me feel the worst of the worst: hopelessness. Will the dreams stop? Will my eye cease doing the samba of its own accord? My emotional magic 8 ball says “outlook not so good”.

I checked in on another blog a bit ago, authored by someone I know/knew and was called a coward by proxy. In the scope of the context it was said, she’s right. Tonight, especially, she’s right. I’m afraid to go to bed. I’m afraid to see my ex. I’m afraid to hear my father’s voice. I’m afraid of the frogs and toads and bears that will come for me. I’m afraid of the well of tears that is threatening to overtake my cold, hard Viking facade.

I’m afraid.

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