1. Dust is constant. It is a symbol of time telling you that either something needs to be cleaned, or you need to take a picture.
There will never be complete cleanliness so when people say "cleanliness is close to Godliness" promptly hand over an invitation to have dinner at your dusty house. And then show those people where you pray. Notice that sacred space has dust.
2. Chairs are complicated. They can have 4 legs, 5 legs, no legs, wheels on their legs. Chairs are such a wild forever changing species that we don't really have a good concept of what a chair is. Which begs the question, what is true chairness? Plato believed that somewhere somehow there is a perfect concept of such things. Which begs the question, what is it to be truly human? From where I stand, we all wear skin, breathe air, and hate high school anyway.
3. Appreciate your couch. I realized this at a young age when I figured out that dying means, never seeing a couch again.
4. The bed is not sacred. It is not a stronghold or sanctuary. It is the place you go when you are either done or satisfied with the world.
5. Windows are the windows of your house. It doesn't sound as good as eyes being the window to your soul but my point still stands. The windows are beautiful. And snowflakes freezing on them is a captured moment of nature being transparent.
6. Take a painting class. Learn how to make art of a canvas and hang that shit up. Buy a painting for no other reason other than that it costs more than $50. Travel and bring back a print and frame it. Learn to cross-stitch and hang that up too. The walls may change colour from time to time, but at least put hang something on them.
7. Look for imperfection. When I was a kid I took a pencil and wrote in jagged penmanship "The end" at the bottom of my staircase. My mother, of course, scolded me for writing on the house, but for whatever reason, she kept the phrase there. Maybe because I knew the end had to be somewhere and I might as well end in the home I started in.
8. Buy refrigerator magnets that teach kids the alphabet. Organize them so that reading a message in the morning makes breakfast seem a little more inviting. And as a firm believer that breakfast is not a necessary meal, I too, need something in the morning to make me feel less alone.
9. Fill one closet with cleaning supplies. We may never get to the end of many tasks, but we can clean this house. Clean the cupboards, wash the windows, sweep the floor, write on the walls, just so you can erase it. And when you finish cleaning, and you bring all of your supplies to that closet, organize your closet. Notice that there is a small amount of dust on the shelves of the closet.
10. Work around the house, big or small, is never completely over.
I've said this so many times to so many different people.
I have been told this phrase by maybe 4 of those people.
2 of which for sure don't miss me anymore.
1 I'm not sure of, and the other does miss me.
But it was out of desperation, and bad decisions, so that one doesn't really count...
I miss you.
I miss you.
I miss you...
I'm so... so...
Yeah, okay I get it this is weird.
I'm talking to you from the past and you don't even exist yet.
You will not be reading this for a long time.
Maybe this won't even make it to you.
But these words will hold anyway. They always do.
My dear son...
You will try to fight authority every day. And when you are young, that authority will be me. Whether it be toddler tantrums or hurtful words firing from your jaw, it will be directed at me until you are old enough to realize that when you stop fighting with me, I will teach you how to fight the correct way.
Yes my son, I do intend to teach you to fight.
I learned how to fight when I was 10, and I haven't stopped because you will learn how much I fought to bring you into the world.
And I don't mean the physical labour. But the guilt.
I've always wanted a son more than a daughter because I didn't want your possible sister to be too much like me.
But maybe you too will be so much like your mother.
My dear boy, take care of your sisters and brothers and maybe the dog if you bug me enough to buy one. Your smile should be enough to bring me joy, not because I might see myself or your father in your eyes, but I can see that you do indeed look with want, desire, and the utmost joy.
You are one of the only things in this world that I will be able to call solely mine, you are my blood, and you are my legacy, but you are my son so please, tell me anything.
Or tell me everything. Or tell me nothing, but show me everything.
Your dreams, your passions. I hope you get a job young, and learn to hate it. I also hope you get a job that you love but have to leave eventually.
My boy, not all things last forever. Learn this now before it is written on your skin like a tolerable tattoo that seems faded, but you always know what it says.
Treat your lover well.
I will come to protect you from everything, but love is a curse in its own league so be careful.
Do not resort to physical aggression against them EVER I have taught you better than to do such things.
You have only learnt to fight so that you never have to use it for such things.
Be smart, be kind, be gentle to your lover.
If they ever hurt you, or threaten to do such things, tell me and I will go kill them.
They say the best contraception back in the old days was fathers with shotguns.
But your mother is a lethal weapon unlike any other. Your father knows this well, it's one of the many reasons we found each other.
My son, love is a complicated thing. And if you find yourself alone at an older age, find someplace to store your love.
Whether it be your job, or a child. Be happy my son.
Of the many things I have to say to you...
I wish you happiness.
That is as honest as it gets.
And I'm not talking about all the political BS and how the world becomes more and more broken each day.
I've already put that in a spot in my mind where I don't venture often.
I try not to venture at all really.
Most days, I am awake but not conscious.
I am eating and not filling.
I am composing and not thinking.
Very much has changed about my life and I do know that most of it was my own damn fault. I have been there.
I have one person I wish I could talk to always.
She is close to me and not close in range.
I am sometimes the embodiment of a donut.
Sweet on the outside with no center.
Nothing there deep down.
I am sometimes a corpse who hasn't yet realized its full potential.
A bed is no resting place for a lazy student turned zombie.
I know these things.
So why did 2017 make me this way?
Well... it didn't.
A year by itself cannot make you do anything, it only marks the time that I marked day by day in hopes that the next day would be harder to hate the last.
It is a constant reminder that time is the only thing you know when you don't know God.
It is an epitaph to your future saying "I'm sorry I knew the way out and just didn't take it".
It is to shove in your face that sometimes no resolution is the only kind of resolution you really like to hold.
If only for 365 or 366 days you didn't hate yourself for it.
That you are not only lazy, but self loathing and lazy.
I didn't come home from a war or natural disaster, but I came back a changed person.
And as the clock proceeded to march forward to midnight.
I felt nothing.
This was the second year in a row where my family didn't celebrate with another to bring in the new year. No, they went to bed.
Or at least, most of them did.
2017 was 2 parts trauma, and 1 part self concocted pathological fear of everything.
Eleven... out of twelve months... were disastrous.
And I did not even try to make it better.
Lying is not my strong suit.
So I will once again pass with the resolutions nobody tries to keep.
Somethings are supposed to get better.
This may be the first year when my birthday is once again a forgotten 24 hours nobody knew was important until I said so.
So yeah, 2017 was the worst year of my life.
I just hope it wasn't the worst year of my life so far.
I wish I was in love.
I wish that a lot.
I wish most days that someone would love me.
But it all seems like so much to ask of a person.
To love a broken person like myself.
I won't bother giving reasons to love this empty shell of a body.
Most days I just want someone to hold.
Or perhaps... someone to hold me.
I think it is easier to love after pain has been brought upon you.
Because people will tell you that love can bring pain.
So if you have already experienced such pain...
It cannot be much harder to not only love, but to love someone with pain.
I wish so much that I would be swept away with the blissful thought of another in my head.
But such things do not come to the broken hearted.
Big house, big family, big heart.
Something like that, I remember.
But clearly, I am the uncivilized person at the table as I hold out the salad bowl, asking for the main course.
All eyes turn to me as if I am foreign.
Now it is just a simple mistake. I won't make it a big deal.
But when you're as much of a perfectionist as I am...
You seem to hate these little things that get in your way.
Things that you just didn't do right the first time.
Being so hypercritical of myself just magnifies the things I do wrong.
So something as stupid as a salad bowl got under my skin.
I don't think I envy your family.
I don't even think I envy your lifestyle.
I won't call it rich, or comfortable.
I'll simply say that it's not mine.
And that is reason enough to not feel at home in it.
The night was long, and the conversations were longer.
My ultimate honestly always hanging around like a sad puppy.
And yet, I can't help but think of how you could be ashamed of me.
Or embarrassed by me. My ways, my habits, my lifestyle.
My awkwardness, my jokes, the things I do in default.
I wish I were a better spectacle to show off sometimes.
Although most days, I talk more about you than I do about myself.
Often talking to myself.
How sad is that?
To feel all of this in an instant at a supper table.
But there's no time to be sad.
Be a part of the conversation, don't faze out, act like it's all okay...
And pass the salt.
I felt so sad as I took a jar of paper stars from the top shelf of my school locker and held it close to my chest as I walked down the halls and I knew you were watching... Arden.
You just didn't do anything.
You knew what it was like to cling to life the same way you hung from death, like it was some kind of sick game. However, this is not a one player kind of match now, is it?
I powerwalked through the halls once, wanting so much to die. I had no plans, just a few ideas. You know, I didn't consider hanging myself in my mind to be a "plan to die" because I didn't actually write out the plans, I just thought about them a little too much.
I answered "No." when asked if I made plans to kill myself, because in my mind, I really didn't make plans.
When asked if I was homicidal, I don't remember what I said, but I remember not saying "no". I remember that I've imagined punishing people, but never killing people. I want to hold their lives in my grasp and hear them apologize like they actually mean it.
But I am too nice for that. Too Christian for that.
It takes a strong person to lift weights, but a stronger one to lift the personal weight off your own back.
I've thought about retiring my poetry career 10 years too early, not even making it to my mid-twenties before quitting simply because there were too many people too eager to get offended at my work.
I will not play innocent to your sickly made games.
I am no fool.
Although, I will not retire my poetry career just yet. Because every time I feel the urge to quit, I am here at 3:22am writing long strings of poetry.
Arden's gonna have a fricken sleeve of tattoos.
Alex is gonna have pain.
Baer is gonna have me taking care of her sister.
But who really cares about that? Because Arden's gonna have something.
Arden has friends,
Arden's gonna have love.
Arden's gonna have fuckin' love.
Alex is not going to beg for my jaw unhinged from all the fighting.
Alex will not bend.
Baer has hired me as the worlds worst babysitter, and her sister, only a few years younger than I already holds me to a higher standard than most.
But Arden has more to life than me.
There's no comparison.
I too, want to die when I'm not staying up this late to escape my thanatophobia.
I will not live to see Arden's graduation.
But I will live to see the hurricane that comes after it.
I don't feel special Baer.
But no one really needs to know that.