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tw: substance abuse, sexual violence, rape, suicidal ideation, self-harm
1 - here goes whatever man / dreams & a short summary (2010)
when i was eight i had a dream where i was much older and walking down a street that was older again. there were rows of squashed houses, with grassed & rosy front yards, curved-top brick walls, a smattering of trees extruding from the sidewalk and a general feeling of grey, cold, cloudy light. i was wearing a lot of herringbone greys and stained browns over a paisley shirt. i would have been in my late twenties in this dream, but eight year olds aren't exactly the best judge of age, i must have just felt old & a fair amount grizzled. somewhere along this street i stop, pull this big ol' orange horse pill out of a pocket somewhere (there were a few of them—pockets, that is), ram it into my mouth & keep on walking. after a while everything starts becoming a little strange, like i can see the static behind my eyes coalescing like it does if you stare at the sun or press your knuckles against your lids. i felt worn, but so peaceful & the trees looked so friendly & tentacled.
[it was a nice dream in comparison to my other dreams which mostly involved being mauled to death, or the terrifying creature telling me it was going to haunt me forever.]
eight years later i took acid for the first time at university about a half-hour before a lunch-time concert. as i was shuffling to my seat i started coming up & what came next was + remains a bit of a blur, suffice to say that as soon as it was over i flew out of there & into the backseat of a car where i experienced all manner of incoherent profundities about the human condition & the war on drugs while i was being driven somewhere friends were at. one of them was a close friend from just before i dropped out of highschool, Carl, who i'd conspired with to get out & go vagabonding in the bush (before recanting & trying the university gig). the other was his then partner, Alan, she considered herself something of a spiritual guru at the time, always cleansing everything with smudge sticks or purifying herself with a little obsidian stone under her pillow & dreamcatchers above her head.
when i arrived things were a little strange, they were living with some fairly straight-laced foreign students who had begun to suspect their proclivities (incense can only cover the smell of so much weed) & we decided to get out for some air before the smudge sticks started blotting our lungs. next i remember walking down a street of crammed in houses with rose-gardens out the front, & trees protruding from the sidewalk. the air was cold + grey, & i remembered my dream.
up until that point i had lived a very insular experience in terms of memory, let's say two weeks either way, & cobbled together moment-to-moment based on what little i could recall + what those around me were saying. the LSD started slowly bringing things back, painful stuff, so i smothered it in more marijuana, incense & faulty buddhism. several things happened between that first dose & the first rememberings:
i'd impressed a beautiful girl called Foal by smashing a window of an abandoned house (more on that later),
i'd met an awful boy by the name of C. Pastel (he was afraid of the broken glass),
i'd dropped out of university, admitting a pattern into my life that would be better broken,
i'd tried to live in a squat, but was evicted in the first eight hours,
i'd started thieving food & drinks & whatever else i could lay into from big chain stores (they didn't need the profit anyway, right?),
i'd been almost arrested twice for possession & gotten off by good grace / the color of my skin,
i'd moved into a gusty shed in the back of a house in Raudivetown that existed just about a minute before ten.
we were a reckless bunch, it was me, Carl, Alan, Jenk, Poland, Nou Veau & a few others at the time (at a minute before ten). Carl + Alan shared a room, Jenk had his own, Poland was living with their sister if memory serves, & Nouveau had just been kicked out of their hostel for possession, they were staying with their brother + sister around the corner. there were other players, but we never got that close, so it seems like mentioning 'em wouldn't serve much good. keep in mind as well that this memory of mine is awful compromised.
most of this time, despite my spiritual protestations, i felt lonely. everyone else seemed paired up or getting some & being a horny teenager who'd decided to become a stoner bodhisattva my thinking now is that i was pretty torn. i started touching myself frequently (i had before, but i couldn't remember much, my four week amnesia principle still applied), which in and of itself wasn't so much of a problem, it was more the whole consent thing which in my mind was still yet to forment. i was doing a pretty good job of ignoring my past sexual abuses of girlfriends, which consisted of pressuring & bullying. i was an unsavoury kid, & i mince no words about it, i was an asshole. i felt that i deserved love from someone, but also that i was incomplete without it.
[i once had a dream where i met the devil & he was red with four horns]
2 - strange baptism / hazy in Raudivetown
one night we decided to take a trip & a trip near the hostel that Nou Veau had been staying at. there was a big nature reserve close by where me and Carl had spent a little time throwing doritoes in the fire + listening to Animal Collective. our little spot was in a grove of trees—which had been creatively nicknamed "the Grove"—all set up with couches & a dug in pit for a fire (we had a few country boys & girls about who liked that sort of thing, i wouldn't have known where to start). anycase, our town is coastal, with the sea never all that far away, so we decided to start our trip at the beach, where we disturbed a meditating sikh & rushed around the sand & sea, throwing up plumes of seawater (we dropped on the bus about thirty minutes earlier). after a while we started walking & got to our spot, where we found a whole lot of nothing. the couches and the music player must have been taken away by the ranger, & the firepit had sand kicked in it. for a moment we didn't know what to do—no-one had spoken for at least an hour in any intelligible way—but then Alan laid out a rug which she'd brought & sat down on it.
a lot of strange things happened that night, not least of which was inter/extra-terrestrial contact, strange baptisms, levitation & walking on coals (that's right, we got that fire going), however the big one was when we started meditating together in a semi-circle. i remember joining hands, & then i remember not having any. it was like we were all arms linked, but no fingers twined, just minds connecting & projecting into each other. a shiver ran through us, apprehension in what was left of our selves about the idea of joining, & a part recoiled, but we stayed stuck fast for at least a little while. i can only speak for myself—& we've spent years recounting that night, trying to figure it out—but i recall someone opening their eyes (i'm not sure who), + across from us was an identical semi-circle of people, looking back with the same bewildered expression. that was enough of that, thought our recalcitrant little ego's, & we disjoined our hands.
[at some point i remembered banging on a stained-glass door with infantile fists while the murky shadows screamed at each other.]
the next day was a lot of walking because we were all dirt broke, & Raudivetown was about four hours away, through a hot asphalt city, barefoot. the conversation was haggard, but centred on a common theme: what to do with this knew understanding of reality. how were we to incorporate such a separate world into our own? what did this experience mean? what were our obligations because of it? i don't think any of us have yet figured any of it out, either given up or gone political—or both, heck. afterwards some of us became vegetarian.
we spent a lot of time smoking weed the next few weeks, although we'd all decided we didn't need it any more & things went back to usual. but there was a little tiny difference, a nagging voice in the back of my head that was telling me to do something more, to keep on pushing towards that spiritual goal. several trips later, including one particularly traumatic one where me & three other people were stuck in a loop for a few hours + had to run out of the house to get away from it, things started changing. i started noticing that my lack of funds was affecting those around me, i started developing what i'd call—for lack of a better term—adult self-awareness. we were all fucking each other over + manipulating one another in subtle ways. at first i wasn't sure if it was real or if i was going crazy (who doesn't have a family history of mental illness, i ask you?), & eventually i broke down in the middle of the CBD + moved back home to tape myself back together again.
my loneliness had not improved, i'd only become more separate from everyone through my lack of acknowledgement of it. one night, when i was hanging out with a few friends from another social scene (Lilac & Johnny & MM), i realized that my bus service was no longer running. i was allowed to stay & share a bed with Lilac who i'd never been particularly close to, but who i'd always had a crush on. i was lying there trying to feel holy when she rolled over & kissed me on the cheek + said something on the lines of "only if you're interested, no pressure". & we screwed all night on her uncomfortable bed, trying not to bang the headboard against the wall too loud because the rooms were only an inch apart. i never came, but it was beautiful. she was sensitive & kind, + i knew that she didn't think of it as the start of anything, or the end, just a comfortable middle-ground we could both stand on (and we still do.)
3 - fuck, i broke it bad / white horses (2011)
now, my mothers house, that brought back memories, even of things i'd done while living at a minute to ten which i'd repressed. first i recalled her changing the locks on me, then why she did that (i tried to emotionally blackmail her for money to set up as a marijuana dealer), then other things i'd done. i remembered my first sexual attractions—i was sleeping in my childhood room so remembering was often just a matter of going to sleep—& how i went about pursuing them. i tried all kinds of crazy things, i tried to use subliminal messaging software on my neighbor to get her to blow me when i was twelve for chrissakes! i remembered watching pornography almost every day after school since around eleven (when i started hanging out with a pushover called Neve & a hypersexualized deviant asshole called Kisstane), & jerking off constantly. i felt ashamed about all of it, it didn't sit with my holier desires for enlightenment + nirvana, so i did nothing about these feelings but try to bury them in something else i had remembered: alcohol, & through alcohol: cigarettes.
when me and ma moved into the house there were two living across from us with traumas of their own. one of them has ended up becoming one of my only long-lasting friends, & he is called Big G. Big G is an alcoholic, & we started drinking together. now a certain time of year rolls around here & people come from all over to check out this big agricultural fair a few streets away, & being enterprising young lads we had always sold parking on our verges. this particular year we used up the money on booze just as fast as it came in. we started inviting other people to drink + smoke with us, including a lot of old highschool friends who had started drifting down the paths that i & the others had. Dickinson & Polka came once or twice, + Anie & Alluvia on most days, & they found it pretty agreeable. me & Big G took mushrooms together once & laughed all night with the big open sky roaring along with us—& i remember my hands looking like a praying mantis while i rolled cigarettes. after the agricultural show was over we continued in much the same fashion but with our paychecks.
now i had had a crush on Anie for some time, & she was dating this guy who i thought was a jerk. i'm just going to call him Jerk, because he was (unfortunately it doesn't mean that i wasn't, if only things were so neat). so i was trying my darndest to ride in on a white horse & fix the whole thing, whisk her away to my land of chivalry & fedora-tipping [honestly though i have only ever owned one of those things & it was a present... a present!]. however this fixation on people came from an unhealthier root, a lack of self-esteem unless being in pursuit, or being wanted—even a tiny bit. so, like all unhealthy addictions, it moved around through various people alarmingly quickly + so it shifted to Alluvia. she was, at the time, seeing Pastel C., which only provided me with another reason to get involved. so one night my worst self won out.
[i remember my father telling me "i think she likes you" about every girl i introduced him to.]
me & Big G had procured two tabs & decided to take them while my mother was away overnight for work. i invited Polka, Alluvia & Dickinson around for some mary jane, whiskey, marlboros & lucy. we joked around & drank some as Big G dropped, & we started smoking. Alluvia reacted very strongly to it & started behaving very strangely, so i told her to get some rest in my bed. Big G started complaining about the LSD, saying that it must be fake because it wasn't working (he had by this point drunk a whole bottle of Jack Daniels & was starting on the second). so while Big G & Dickinson were browsing youtube looking up funny pictures i went into my room & dropped the other tab. at this point i went & lay down beside Alluvia + started kissing her, running my hand along her side. she swatted me away but i continued as she repeatedly said "not now". i put my hand down her skirt & rubbed her clit, & kept pushing & pushing until we started fucking, at which point the acid kicked in.
i felt ashamed, & needed to forget what i was doing so i rushed out of the room, & watched some stupid cartoon about a baby chicken going into a meat-grinder. i watched & laughed until i felt absolved/repressed enough to go back. what happened next i don't remember, i really hope that i just fell asleep, but right now i don't remember. i sexually abused one of my closest friends, i raped them: i've fucked up a huge part of their life, & that's enough to know. a few days later we fucked again & i don't think either of us know why.
4 - honey, give me just a'one more chance / colt & booze days (2011-2013)
this one's going to be short & sweet: my first major breakup, my second breakdown (or third? but who's counting) & my third time leaving home. around new years of 2011 or somewhere just before there i moved back into one minute to ten in Raudivetown, & spent a good while being lonely there, feeling hard-done by, & unloved (which i was, but i was also pretty despicable). i made a lot of attempts to secure the love of others, embarassing ones which just seem stupid in hindsight. but i also committed my second major sexual abuse there, of a young woman who i barely knew & had met at an occupy rally. it followed a similar pattern of intoxication & violence, & again we had sex a few days later for questionable reasons.
i kept drinking heavily, every day if i could afford it. i was angry, i wanted someone to hurt me because i didn't have the courage to hurt myself. i managed to stay clear of fights like i had mostly managed to stay clear of self-harm, but i did get a few solid thwacks in that time. there were a few near misses with death, i almost choked on red wine bile after finishing my second bottle & starting on my third in the vacant lot out the back of Nou Veau's place. some stranger came & laid me on my side. Big G was around often & we strengthened our friendship with liquor & bad decisions. Jenk, Poland, Alan, Carl, Dickinson & a few others were living at a minute to ten with me.
[i remember my mother telling me that i was going to make a great classical guitarist (i just wanted to play the beatles)]
a few months later i met up with Foal again through facebook, we met for dinner & bollywood movies at hers & i asked her why i was there, she said "i don't know" & i asked if i could kiss her. she nodded & we did just that for a good year & a half, moving in together for the latter third of it when a minute to tens lease expired & we were kicked out by our dickhead landlady (most of the others moved to the east). we lived together in a suburb called PrincessDiville, on Big Dance Street at a place that we called the Bacchanal. I organized a few housemates as soon as the lease appeared & soon enough we had opiate addicts coming out of our ears (i wasn't so good at choosing friends, then), Big G moved in & drank his welfare away & Dickinson smoked his as reefer while playing video games all day, just like he'd done at the end of a minute to ten.
there were beautiful times, when me & Foal would take acid together + listen to Flying Lotus while talking about god or whatever. we used to take trips down to the south together (not a euphemism) to where the country is green. we'd stay in little shacks & eat daal + snacks while watching documentaries. we'd also take psychedelics. nothing affirms a bond like that can, i guess. sharing minds is just that touch easier, if not also a touch more dangerous. she was cute, emotionally supportive + loving. i think she might just have been the best lover i ever had, but definitely the most well off, she came from wealth (and that's a strange bird).
things started going downhill when Carl + Alan came back from over east for our housewarming. they had some special shroom caps that they'd brought for us, so i felt obliged to take them, even though the house was packed with people. i was terrified & hid under the covers for most of the night, having visions of hell. i was convinced that humans were secretly monsters for at least a week while i was coming down. ain't projection a powerful force? so said Jenk anyway, we'd become pretty close & spent a great deal of time debating gnosticism + various occult ideas, talking at length about the nature of creation, the sephiroth & all manner of strange things. i played the skeptic, he played the devout. by this stage i was pretty chewed out.
[i remembered lying on the bed crying while an aeroplane carried my dad to another country.]
anyway time went on & on + eventually my condition evidently was not improving. i quit my job & lived weekend to weekend collecting clothes from outside second-hand shops & selling them at vintage markets with Foal. this put a lot of stress on her good soul, seeing as she was working a job as well as going to university. the vagabond lifestyle looks impressive when it nonchalantly strolls into abandoned houses, but up close it's dirty, messy & complicated, which is what i had become. everything was breaking down, she ran out of patience + i ran out of cash when we stopped going to those markets together. i tried to leave, but it wasn't right to leave her in that house with two habitual oxycontin users, an alcoholic + a stoner, the last pillar of sanity in a collapsing sharehome. as soon as the house was gone it was a shambles, i tried to keep it together for her, but—you know—you've got to want it for yourself.
i lived between various couches, & during this time Alluvia finally had the courage to speak up. i'm glad she did, because i was disgusted every time that i omitted telling people. if i were a little more dedicated i would have tattooed "rapist" on my forehead, just so people knew without my having to find the right time & place to bring it up. the drama was escalating on every front though, new players were being introduced, old couples were breaking up on a weekly basis & new ones were forming. i guess that's what you get when you try to do monogamy when you're free lovers at heart, a lot of people get broken up.
i was left with a bunch of messed up friends & all i wanted was to be back at the Grove again with the people i loved but that was a no-brainer. my first major suicide attempt was about a month later, a few weeks after my 18th birthday, when i found out that Jenk & Foal were dating & i tried to walk out onto a highway. hell, this got long fast.
5 - third strike
so i ended up wondering again like i had been with Carl, trying to piece it back together. me & an old school friend by the name of Jackie-o—who'd been a part of the minute to ten scene—had become quite close. we spent a good while writing music together, learning how to make beats + releasing it under a few pseudonyms. i worked for my aunty for a time in a port town, building sandcastles with her kid & babysitting him while she drove around. i swam in a sulphur pool one time & it turned my underwear bright green. me & Jackie-o also talked about love (they'd just broken up with their girlfriend Jessie) & how we wouldn't fall into those same traps again, the codependent ones. well at least one of us was succesful on that front. we also debated philosophy & ethics, trying to figure out the wrongs we did as men & how to repair it.
i moved back in with my mother, who at this point had, i think, given up on me completely. went to see a variety of psychs but figured i was doing alright & didn't need help of any kind, seeing as i was pretty sure i was depressed by the world & not by my state of mind. for a brief span i went to art-school but quit when i started hallucinating every time i tried to do a self-portrait requiring a mirror, i wish they'd just let me be: abstracts are way easier. i dropped out of that too & moved on back to work at a hardware store that had been good to me & hired me twice before, spent like a sailor on music equipment & decided that that wouldn't be a bad way to earn a living.
[i recalled my step-mother kicking me out of my dad's house & having to catch the bus home to stand shivering in the living room with no idea what to do.]
so anyway, i met this pretty young girl on the internet whose name was Samantha. we met up at a party & she was up to her eyes in vodka, leaning on my shoulder while i played sad songs on the guitar. we didn't talk much for the first few weeks, but when we did it was pretty clear that we had a spark. i was politically conscious enough of womens struggles—partly through my own perpetration of that violence—to talk about it at length, + do my best to prevent myself & others from doing it. i was also just getting to be familiar with some other struggles that she was going through, & i tried to help her sort through her issues around her body + her eastern faith in moderation (which coexisted with a lifestyle of excesses, but hey, we all have our sins "love the person, blame the symptom", right? cheers Jesus).
we got on well for a year + a half (i think that's how long all my loves are doomed to last), but this one cut a little more because i thought i'd finally learned my lesson & didn't have to keep on keeping score. we were over east when she said to me that she didn't think she could keep on loving like that. i said let's be friends but she couldn't leave it be, & we kept on jumping into bed together for a few more weeks. it's only in retrospect that i can see that she was emotionally manipulative + toyed with me, letting me get close then avoiding for days, then breaking down + letting me in before finally shutting me out again. the last time it stuck, but i think i can live with that.
while samantha & i were dating i moved out again with old friends, Nou Veau & Dickinson, who came back from the East. Poland, a person called Plum, along with Dickinsons ex, all shared a house together around the corner. we did MDMA therapy together & tried to psychoanalyze each other, find ways to solve each others problems, & it seemed to work for a little bit until Dickinson + i stopped doing the dishes. Nou Veau wasn't very happy with that. things escalated & it ended one night when i decided it was time to try the old escape methods again. i took the razor out of my shaver & was looking up which way to slice when i thought a bit of warning might be a good idea, so i sent a message to Jackie-o, who sent a message to Plum who came around & told me all the wrongs i'd done, followed up by Dickinsons ex, who seemed to have a bigger axe to grind. i fetched a bottle of vodka & drank it to keep the suicidal thoughts at bay while all my wrongs were laid out on display. it's not that i mind, it's just the timing seemed a little poor. i've been a monster & i'm not sure if i get to make the rules any more.
anyhow, i got my bags together & moved back to my mothers, & right now that's where i'm at, so that's that. i'm remembering more each day, & someday maybe i'll remember everything.
[i don't remember much of the MDMA therapy, but i remember Nou Veau's face turning into a wolf & being five screaming "Where are you?" into the black behind my eyes.]
//e - bowled out in no-chance county
"I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
That we could sit simply in that room again
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat
I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that"
last weekend i went around to my most recent house & told my old friends that it's highly unlikely that we'll meet again. i think maybe when you cause enough pain in one place you owe it to those you love to get the hell out, let them be for a while & try to change whatever's in you that caused so much strife. so i'm saving up & selling off music gear to fund a move over east, to a bigger city where i can get lost & find myself again. Big G is talking about coming with me, & i'm not so sure about that but right now i could use a friend.
You can write about anything that is important to you – your whole life, personal trauma or events that have affected you in the past.Share Your Story
Ok, here goes...
I have been married for 11 yrs but I'm not sure if it's considered a marriage anymore. After our second child was born 5 yrs ago I became the 3rd or 4th wheel of the family. I started being yelled at for everything. I can do no right and even minor things like sitting by myself or breathing in an irregular fashion will get me in trouble. When things get real bad I get t...