…down on the floor, scratching for more…

Title from Fistula, “Smoke Cat Hair and Toenails”, from the album Vermin Prolificus

image

Manic as fuck. This has been building. It’s a frantic race to nowhere. A deranged rat on a hamster wheel. The sedatives aren’t working (“I think I can handle my sedatives, bro…” -Charlie). Cyclical thought experiments. Running through my past transgressions. Recall, revisit, rewrite, restore. This is why the lines get blurred.

Suddenly, focus. Something intense, white hot, piercing, and its all that there is. It envelopes from the inside out, wraps tentacles, consuming. It is all that there is.

It is gone. And there is nothing. Less than nothing.

Fractured psyche, rearranged. The protective cover of scar tissue. Healing. Growth. Change…

image

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Beast Possessed

image

Fevered, purposeful growling. The thunderous boom of paws quaking the ground. Unmistakable commotion. Looking out, I notice Herman trying to get at something on top of the fence in the backyard, so I go out to investigate. Come to find there is a pigeon perched calmly atop the fence, mere inches from his savage, clamping jaws (dude can JUMP).

Wondering why the bird doesn’t fly away, I look closer, thinking perhaps it decided to construct a nest at this precarious and exposed location. Finding nothing, I decide the bird must be hurt, and try to distract the Herminator away to leave the poor fowl in peace.

Herms, in classic obsessive compulsive fashion (he is my boy, through and through), can’t break his focus from this feathered intruder for more than a moment at a time. Eventually, he gets a running start through the yard and flings the full weight of his body into the fence, his gaping maw snapping down furiously where that idiot dirt birt sat only seconds ago.

The fucking pigeon bastard was taunting Herman this entire time, only to finally take flight at the last possible moment. It is long gone into the crisp Wyoming sky, and now Herman is a beast possessed. He is obsessively combing the yard, circling around, leaping against the fence with head towards the sky, searching in singular purpose for that foul fowl which dared invade his space and raise his furious canine ire…

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Not our feathered antagonist...

This reminds me of Molly Malone’s many dinosaur hunting expeditions in the feverish Arizona desert…

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part IV)

Image by Daniela Huhurez

Image by Daniela Huhurez

What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and has been presented here in several parts over the past week or so.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I, click here for Part II, and navigate this way for Part III.  BEHOLD, the Finale, Part IV, below:

strawberry-field-sweet

One night, months later, as we lay together, entwined in one another, I look deeply into her entrancing, oceanic eyes, and I feel as if that moment will stretch on forever. I hope to myself that it does. I have something I’ve wanted to say to her since the moment we met, and the feeling of this moment tells me the time is right.

“I…love you,” I say softly, stroking her delicate cheek with the tips of my fingers. She smiles and kisses the tip of my nose, burying her head in the crook of my neck. But not before a flash of surprised, perplexed fear plays ever so briefly across her face. I say nothing, but I am disconcerted by this, a feeling that haunts the halls of my mind for weeks, festering and growing until I can focus on nothing else.

Images of other men begin creeping into my mind more and more often, no longer restraining themselves to times when we’re apart, and I take to visiting her perhaps too often at her job, sometimes lingering outside the entrance watching, waiting, minutes, hours, before even going in. I try to mask my suspicion and jealousy, but this becomes increasingly difficult. Too often I come upon her talking to some handsome, masculine guy, and I wonder at what’s behind her warm smile with him, the proximity of their bodies, the generosity with which she shows him to various sections of the bookstore. Sometimes I hang back and watch during these encounters, but most often I rush up, putting a possessive arm around her shoulders, maybe kissing her cheek or neck, as I shoot the bastard a contemptuous glare in warning. Usually I am a decidedly non-confrontational person – I generally just don’t care enough – but this is different. This girl is mine.

We are eating dinner at Vincilli’s one evening, our favorite spot for those rare occasions in which we dine out in style, when the already awkward conversation between us takes a turn for the worst.

“I need to talk to you,” she tells me, putting down her fork and pushing away a half-eaten plate of chicken alfredo. Her eyes are surprisingly cold, her face tight and emotionless.

“What is it, babe,” I say, trying to mask my fear and unease with overt sweetness.

“I think we need to cool it off for a while.” Her words are a kick in my chest, a vice-grip on my heart. That familiar, sickly, sinking feeling creeps into my gut. I clench my jaw to stifle the nausea.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she continues. “It’s been great being with you…” She pauses, my mouth hanging open in shock and loss. “Well…it was great, at first, but…but lately, things have gotten sort of…suffocating.” My head falls with this last word. I want to bring it down with a bang onto the table, to cry out, to do something, anything to release this vicious, pulsating tension building up in my skull and chest, climbing its way on sharpened claws down my spine. That’s the same thing Kate said, years ago, the last time I had dared to open myself to another person.

“I just think, y’know, if we saw other people for a while, maybe…maybe we’d remember why we got together in the first place.” Disconnected thoughts run fleetingly through my mind, countless things I want to say, but I can’t grasp any of them long enough to form them into coherence. I feel my brow wrinkle, beads of sweat gathering as my eyes dart wildly across the cluttered surface of the table, unable to focus on any one thing. I certainly can’t bring myself to look up at her.

“Aren’t you going to say anything? Are you just going to sit there, pretending like you didn’t hear me?” I close my eyes, take a deep breath, try to collect myself, desperately grasping for anything that might make her stay.

“You…you’re breaking up with me?” The disbelief in my voice is obvious. “I thought we were going to spend our lives together…I thought we were…made for each other.”

“I thought so too, but…I just think if we could spend some time apart…see how we both feel about…about giving some other people a try…”

“But, I don’t want anyone else. All I want is you. I…I love you.” She smirks at those last words, condescending.

“I’m sure you think you do. But, how can you be so sure? I mean, you’ve only really been with one other person. I’ve only ever been with you, so…so how can we know something like that?” She waits for me to respond, but I have nothing left to say. I can’t focus on the moment long enough to react to it. I feel myself begin to grow cold inside, my heart withering, a brief surge of pain shooting through my body before it goes numb…again. And when she finally gets up to leave, I can’t make myself go after her.

Image by Dambreaker

Image by Dambreaker

Months later, I’m on the phone with her again. Supplicate. Pleading with her to allow me a place in her life.

“It’s too late for that,” she retorts, her voice thick with aggravation. “You fucked that up. I told you I wanted some space, but you couldn’t give it to me. I’ve seen you outside my work, outside my home, every day for the last month. I feel like you’re stalking me, and now you want me to let you back into my life? Forget it, you fucking psycho, there’s no way.” I try to break in, to tell her I’m different, I’ve changed, I’ll give her space if that’s what she wants, if only she’ll remain.

“Get a life,” she snaps before slamming down the phone.

After this, eternity. I find myself in a sick state of self-loathing, plunged down into the blackest pit of misery and dejection, a hole which the light of nothing can pierce. Even that splintering speck of pleasure and superiority I once felt at focusing on the pathetic weakness in others is now gone, and I feel nothing but scornful contempt at the world around me. There is nothing, a perpetual emptiness, in everything I see.

I try to call. Her number is disconnected. I go by the bookstore, pretending to search for something in the Fiction Anthology section as I scan the store for her face. She is nowhere. Nowhere to be found, regardless of how often I return, how long I stay. Gone.

Blinking my eyes, I shake myself free of this fantasy turned dark. I look up, searching for my girl. She has crossed the bustling mall food court, making her way slowly toward the glass door exit. A guy walks next to her; they’re embraced hand-in-hand. When did he appear? Her head rests delicately on his shoulder, his black beanie matching the style and hue of her wooly black sweater. Quickly, I rise. Make way across the sea of tables, following her. Following them. She has changed me, in this moment. She has taken grasp of pieces of my tender soul, my innermost being, and I must pursue her to make them complete. I must possess her.

She will be mine.

Grey Matter by Amy Goodwin

Grey Matter by Amy Goodwin


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

more

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i have
more of the
surface
than i
know what
to do
with
yet i
cannot stop
grasping
for always
ever
even
MORE.

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part III)

From Kurt Vonnegut: Drawings

From Kurt Vonnegut: Drawings


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I, and here for Part II.  BEHOLD, the ecstatic majesty of Part III, below:

strawberry-field-sweet

“Oh my god, I love David Lynch!” I exclaim. “I can’t wait until they put the rest of Twin Peaks on DVD, which they better do…otherwise…” She grins at me, her expression one of admiration or perhaps growing attraction.

“Yeah, Twin Peaks was pretty cool, but my personal favorite is Mulholland Drive. I have no idea what the hell is going on most of the time, but it’s a great movie anyways. I’m not a lesbo or anything, but Naomi Watts is sooo hot!” My mind shifts briefly to the sex scene in the film before returning to the conversation.

“Well, maybe we could watch it together sometime, and I could explain what I got out of it. I think I have most of it figured out, except I’m still struggling with the blue box and the monster behind Winky’s.” Her eyes glow as her smile grows even bigger, and I think I notice her cheeks redden ever so slightly.

“I’d like that. Aren’t you going to drink your coffee?”

Eventually the conversation turns to body modifications when I mention the silver stud piercing the middle of her tongue.

“Do you have any other piercings or tattoos?” She answers by pulling down the top hem of her jeans, which fit her form nicely, revealing a colorful tattoo of a faerie sitting atop a magical mushroom. It is on the part of her left hip just underneath the curve of her belly, inward from the subtle, sexy protrusion of her hip bone, a spot I confess to her is extremely sensitive and ticklish on my own body. I also catch a glimpse of a silver, crescent-shaped stud, the ball on the end glimmering like a diamond, poking out from her navel before she smoothes her top back down.

“I like your belly-button ring,” I tell her, a hint of anxious seduction escaping with my voice. “I think that’s a really sexy piercing for a girl to have.”

“What about you, what kind of body art do you have?” I respond by turning in my chair and pulling up the back of my shirt, displaying the grinning, demonic painted faces that adorn my shoulder blades.

“Ooh, scary! I must confess, I have a sick fascination with jesters and trickster figures, as well. They’re so creepy, but in an oh-so-appealing way.”

“I have my nipples pierced, too, twice in each one,” I tell her, lifting up my shirt again to show them off. She pretends to wince in pain, but I can tell she is fascinated.

After finishing our coffee we decide to go for a drive, chatting and flirting over the trip-hop sounds of Tricky pulsing rhythmically from my speakers. The music grooves perfectly with the coming twilight as the sun begins to descend in a magnificent pool of brilliant reds, yellows, oranges, and purples, the texture of the billowy clouds designing the sky made all the more pronounced by the sun’s rays. I tell her I feel as though I’ve known her since before forever, and she confesses to feeling the same. I spot a Baskin Robbins near the next intersection, and we pull in to share a cup of Daiquiri Ice.

We end up at my place, and I apologize for the mess as I hold the door to my apartment open for her. She smiles mischievously, pulling me inside and pressing her lips to mine.   She is wearing lip gloss, or was, most of it worn off by now, but the faint taste of strawberries still lingers. We stumble over furniture I had forgotten was there as we make out way toward my room at the back of the apartment, grabbing and pulling feverishly at one another’s clothes while kissing deeply, passionately, lovingly.

“I don’t usually do this,” she breathes into my ear as I nibble at her neck.

“Me neither,” I gasp, but can’t help wondering, Why would she do this now, here, with me?

I notice right away that she’s not turned on by the same things as Kate was. I try to recall some of the articles I’ve skimmed in waiting rooms or while browsing magazine racks, giving advice on how to become the perfect lover. As we explore one another, she makes the appropriate muffled moans and occasional ecstatic cries, signifying that she’s having a good time, but she seems distant, disconnected somehow. Each time our eyes meet, she closes hers, or looks away. I wonder to myself how many times she’s done this, with how many different people, and as if she’s reading my mind, she answers.”

“This is my first time,” she moans between frantic breaths. “You feel so good.” I smile and relax, burying myself in the moment and letting my fear and paranoia wash away in a sea of pleasure.

“This is my favorite part,” I whisper as we lie spooning afterward. She coos in agreement, snuggling closer and pressing her face into my chest. I kiss the top of her head lightly, and suddenly it is morning, the warm dawn sun streaming in broken rays through the shade covering my window and painting fragmented orange designs on the floor below.

                “Oh my god, I have to be to work in ten minutes,” she exclaims, jumping up, her eyes frantic as she searches the floor for her clothes. “Quick, get up! I need a ride!”

Image by John Sloan

Image by John Sloan

To be continued…


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

all mementos of an awareness unwelcome

Image by Madchangeling

Image by Madchangeling


i wish
you
thought of me
the way i
think of you,

with desperate persistence,
impulsively
in stumbling inadvertence

triggered by myriad
detonations
of surging escalated memory

yet another thing
i can’t control.

Image by Antaryamin

Image by Antaryamin


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part II)

Image by Bill Vernon

Image by Bill Vernon


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Go here to read Part I.  BEHOLD, Part II, below: 

strawberry-field-sweet

I’m sitting in my bedroom a few days later, staring at the blank wall and trying not to think, when the phone rings. It takes me a minute to retrieve myself from the mountains and valleys of cracked paint before I can answer it. I’m delighted to hear her delicate voice on the other end.

“Hey, it’s me! Listen, this new piece I’m working on is driving me absolutely mad, and I really could use some normal human time. What do you say we get that cup of coffee? I know a great place. They have this cinnamon and cherry mix, you wouldn’t think it would be good, but just wait until you try it!” I wrinkle my nose at the thought of cherries, but accept her invitation anyway. Maybe it won’t be so bad.

The directions to her place are simple and I have no trouble finding it, but I circle around the block a few times anyways to kill time, not wanting to appear too eager. Finally I feel that it’s been long enough, and pull up to her apartment, a duplex with a small, yellowing lawn nearly overrun by ragweed and dandelions. As I walk towards the caged front door, I notice a dead sparrow lying at the edge of the walkway, its eye sockets seeming to stare at me regardless of their hollowness. There are bite marks around the head and wings, and I hope the cat belongs to the neighbors.

“Hey there, pretty lady,” I say with a hint of absurdity when she opens to door. She smiles, apparently satisfied with my meager attempt at humor, and grabs a woven green handbag before stepping out and shutting the door behind her.

“So, how have you been?” I ask, bringing up my hand to fiddle with a loose button on the western-style black shirt she is wearing over a deep purple tank top. I’m dismayed to find what appears to be a clump of shed cat hair clinging to the shirt, and brush it away, wiping my hand on my faded denim jeans and trying not to appear too disgusted. I think she’s saying something about the painting she’s been struggling with, but I’m too preoccupied with the thought of the cat to pay attention. We begin down the walkway, and I move my hand to the small of her back, letting it rest there lightly.

“Better now, though,” she replies, crossing her arms and leaning into me. “I’m going crazy spending all my time in that cramped apartment breathing paint fumes. It’s good to have someone to take a break with.” I ever-so-slightly tighten my grip around her and lead her to my truck, a beat-up brown Toyota that I can’t help but apologize for.

“Don’t be silly,” she says, jabbing me playfully in the ribs with her elbow. “I’m not the kind of girl who cares about nice cars and money.” I smile down at her, catching the scent of strawberries and cream as my nose brushes past her hair.

“Mmm, you smell delicious,” I say, and she smiles, cuddling underneath my arm. For a fleeting moment I can’t believe how easy this has been, and a slight twinge of anxiety begins to creep up inside of me, one of those “too-good-to-be” sensations. I also can’t help but think about other guys she might have been with – is she so trusting and open with every jerk-off who approaches her? The feeling of anxiety begins to turn into resentment, but I quickly push it down, suffocating it.

At the coffee shop I let her order for me, forgoing my usual bitter, black coffee in favor of the cherry-cinnamon concoction she so highly recommends. She asks for them grandé with a double shot of espresso, and once served we sit at a tiny table for two in the corner near a bookshelf, under a large print of Dali’s La Persistenza della Memoria. She catches me studying the minute details of the painting, and asks what I think of it. This reveals that we hold a shared fascination for his work, and I discover that she owns a print of my favorite Dali painting, Idylle Atomique et Uranique Melancolique. We are oblivious to the endless stream of self-important art neuveux intellectuals entering and leaving the café as we sit together in our own little world.

Dali_Idylle_Atomique_et_Uranique_Melancolique

To be continued…


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcelain Strawberry (Part I)

Image by kanryuzonas104

Image by kanryuzonas104

What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  “Porcelain Strawberry” is the second piece of short fiction I can recall having ever written, not including whatever crap I may or may not have been churning out in my adolescence, and will be presented here in several parts over the next few days.  It was initially written for an assignment in a creative writing class at the University of New Mexico, and was influenced and informed by Nicholson Baker’s novella The MezzanineBut I won’t tell you HOW…that’s for you to discover, intrepid reader!  Behold, Part I:

Image ripped from Isabella

Despite its glorious capacity for mindless consumerism, the mall for me holds next to no value save for one redeeming quality – it is an ideal place to watch people. For the most part I have no use for the human virus plaguing this otherwise richly beautiful planet, but I enjoy watching them now and again, to remind myself of my superiority. The pleasure I receive from witnessing them ignorantly going about their meaningless lives exceeds most any other joy in my life.

I’m sitting in the bustling food court, during the late lunchtime rush, eating the grilled chicken and avocado sandwich I brought from home, and am delighted to find that the chaos at this hour is, as always, magnificent. This place is a churning pit composed of various antagonistic compounds that have no business existing within the same sphere. They assemble here at or around the sociologically predetermined time, bouncing and weaving feverishly amongst one another, to stuff themselves stupid with globs of congealed grease disguised as chicken and pork, bleeding slabs of meat purported to be 100% beef accompanied by sides of fried dripping wet with vegetable oil, and an endless array of processed cheese products.

The doomed offspring of this middle-class ocean of dead dreams and extinguished possibilities gather salivating at the technicolored candy shop near Pacific Sunwear, their noses pressed to the glass, their grubby little hands smearing it with greasy fingerprints that the pocked-faced teenager behind the counter comes to wipe off every hour or so. On the other side of the court, hear Burger King, a table-full of guffawing frat boys have gathered for a break on their weekly scout-out for vulnerable and impressionable high school girls. In the corner across from me sit a couple with matching lip piercings deep in conversation, the face of the guy reading a mixture of frustration and concern while the expression of his partner is showing of distance and irritability. Next to me I notice three elderly women sporting puffy crowns of bluish-white hair gossiping about someone named Lois, who is apparently not present to defend herself. I scratch the back of my head, smooth down my shaggy, dirt-blonde hair, and roll my eyes at this sea of meaningless drivel.

All of this bustling action and delightfully absurd entertainment, and yet the only thing I can really focus my full attention on is the girl casually walking the edge of the mess, her long, chalky fingers trailing along the wall near to where my table sits. She is a dark angel, a succubus, a materialization of all my longing. Her jet-black hair falls lightly around her face, the tips of her long bangs curving ever so slightly under her delicate chin. Her aqua-blue eyes shine brilliantly in contrast to the soft, porcelain skin that surrounds them, her slender neck leading down to smooth, milky-white shoulders that barely peek out from under a wooly black sweater. Every so often her eyes shift around the court uncomfortably, but for the most part she gazes at nothing, her thoughts lost in some other world far away from this one. I look at her and my stomach tightens at the thought that she’s in the same space with me. She is the only individual, the only thing real in this faceless crowd of forgotten identity, and I curse them for overlooking her. I watch her tracing lines in between the tiles of the wall as she walks, back and forth, back and forth, and my heart aches with longing to hold her, to touch my lips softly to her temple, to let her make me feel at home.

After a moment I work up the courage to approach her, running my hand across the stubble beginning to sprout up on my chin as I slowly, deliberately make my way towards where she dances absently with the wall. The noise and bustle of the food court has all but disappeared. I feel the eyes of everyone in the room following me, half-chewed strands of Cajun noodles dangling from their mouths as they pause to obsess over my every move. I take deep breaths, trying to calm my nerves, going over and over again in my mind what I’m going to say when I reach her. Hey there, pretty lady … Hello beautiful, how’s about I buy you a … Hi, my name’s Corey, what’s yours … So, I couldn’t help but notice you were … Um, nice shoes, wanna fuck?

“Um…hey. How’s it going? Are you…waiting for someone?” I curse myself for the tremor in my voice, the obvious hesitation, the pauses in between words. You’re going to fuck this up, my mind yells at itself. You’re going to lose her before you even have her! Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to notice. Time has grinded to all but a halt, and I see her hair flip in slow motion, like a wave, as she turns to face me. My stomach jumps into my throat, my heart nearing explosion, when her eyes look up to meet mine. I feel as though she is gazing into my soul, and I shift uncomfortably, averting my eyes, afraid of what she might see down in there.

“No one in particular,” she says to me, her voice bright, sweet, and delightfully feminine. I notice the neon lights flooding the food court glistening off her lips as she speaks, and I wonder if they’re naturally moist or if she’s wearing lip gloss, and if so, what flavor. I realized the moment that has passed in silence, and frantically search for something to say.

“So, do you…come here often?” This escapes my lips before I have a chance to realize how terribly cliché and predictable it is. Idiot! Loser! Is this how people start a conversation?! Her eyes widen amusedly as she notices my exasperation seeping through the look on my face, which I try hard to control, and she giggles, her lashes fluttering…is it seductively?

“I used to,” she replies. “I usually wouldn’t be caught dead in a mall…they’re so, I dunno, typical…but they have got the best baked ziti at that pizza stand over there! I can’t help it, I’m addicted.” I open my mouth and take a breath, preparing to tell her about the article I read in Mother Jones, a study of the conditions of fast food restaurants, but hesitate. My stomach curls at the thought of what goes into the food here, but I don’t want to gross her out, and so I keep it to myself. If things go well, I’ll have to remember to ask her to brush her teeth before I can kiss her.

“Anyways, I’ve been stuck in my tiny apartment painting for days,” she continues, “and I needed a break, so here I am!”

“Wow, so you’re an artist!  That’s really cool. I’ve always wished I could draw, but I’ve never been any good at it.” I’m surprised at the ease I’m starting to feel in her presence, and when I notice how comfortable she’s making me, I find myself drawn ever more strongly to her. I reach out to stroke the sleeve of her sweater, and am glad when she doesn’t pull away.

“Listen, what d’you say we get out of here,” I say, smiling to mask my fear at asking her out. “I know a great coffee shop.” This is a lie, and I search my mind, trying to think of the nearest non-corporate café around.

“Well, that sounds nice, but I sort of have to be somewhere. Maybe I can take a rain check?” I make no attempt to mask the disappointment I feel at this, but give her my phone number, glad that I might still have a chance.

Image by Flammietta

Image by Flammietta

To be continued!


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

stuck

stuck
inside
my head
with
All
of This
consummately
continually
eternally
with just
All
of This
to
keep
for me
toiling.

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Crazy Pills and Brain Storms

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I am going off my medication.

There are several reasons for this.  The first is the Perfect Storm I unwittingly rowed into.  Without going into too much detail, I ramped up the Crazy, quit my job, lost my insurance, all in the middle of finding out my doctor was retiring from patient practice. Without insurance or a job, I’ve been unable to get a new doctor or have my prescriptions refilled. With the Crazy running increasingly out of control, I’ve had trouble searching for a new job and have ruined the few potential opportunities that have come along. Perfect storm.

So, I’ve known for about a month that my prescription would be running out. I started taking half doses for the last couple weeks in an effort to wean myself off physical dependence. I did try every avenue I could think of to try and maintain these medications and to obtain medical advice, but the medical system in this country is still faulty and broken and plenty of people like me get dropped through the cracks. No biggie, it has happened before.

Regardless, getting off of these particular medications is something I feel I would have chosen to do even if not forced into it by circumstance. Events in my life of late have led me to a great deal of introspection and self-reflection. Certain psychological and emotional issues that I mistakenly assumed were extinct assembled in hordes below the surface before finally coming unleashed upon the world in horrible misery a couple of weeks ago. We’ve weathered the worst of it, I think, but that leaves the hard part: sifting through the wreckage.

What I am trying to say is, I have been looking back, tracing lineages, and introspectively dissecting my own history of madness to try and get at the sources, the core of what is housing and feeding these festering demonic creatures that insist on destroying everything I try to cultivate in my life.  While it is clear that my issues go back ages into the Ryan’s troubled and ancient history, I have truly come to believe that this psychiatric wonderdrug coarsing through my veins, while intended to help curb and treat the problem, has in fact only been compounding it.

Evidence of this is as follows. After having been off psychiatric meds for several years (following the previous meltdown), I finally got myself enrolled with medical insurance and back under treatment for anxiety and depression in the Spring of 2014. During the time I was without treatment or medication, I maintained by either self-medicating or isolating and “powering through.” Most days were okay. Some were bad. The worst were relatively few and far between, but are what drove me to get back under medical care.

Following the initial month of physical acclimation to new medication, during which the drug’s active properties build up to effective levels in your system, I started to feel pretty damn great! Some of the potential side-effects were potentially troublesome, but with Crazy pills they all potentially are. I remembered feeling some apprehension when I read about the difficult withdrawal symptoms patients have when stopping use of one of the drugs, but it seemed to be working so well that I decided the risk was worth it.

Unfortunately, the apparent effectiveness of the medications quickly tapered off, even declined. At first, I just assumed my body was acclimating to the drugs, and that what I was feeling was me growing accustomed to this newness, settling in to “normal.” Soon, however, I could tell I was doing worse. It was not long before my Crazy was back to the level I felt before starting treatment.

So, of course, I discussed this with my doctor. And, of course, the solution was to increase my dose. Makes sense. Everything followed in due course much as one would expect: the acclimation period; effectiveness; plateau; descent. It seemed my body was just too good at adjusting itself to new levels of drugs, my Crazy too proficient at adapting and overcoming. After all, I was an active drug addict for more than half of my life. I have tolerance, yo.

Again, I went to my doctor to discuss. Maybe at this point it was worth it to abandon this pharmaceutical cocktail and try something else, I thought. Unfortunately, I found my doctor in the last week of retiring from direct patient care. Apparently I had missed the notice in the mail. It was just my last bit of good luck that I called to schedule an appointment a few days before his last day. All he could do was refer me to a new provider and give me adequate refills to get through a three-month waiting period. New patient problems, yo.

In the meantime, while waiting until I could get on the panel of another medical provider, all hell decided to break loose in my brain. Confusion. Mania. Depression. Whirlwind of thoughts. Paranoia. Bewilderment. Anger. Violence. Defensiveness. Scorn. Anxiety. Lashing out. Self-loathing. Misanthropy. Suicidal ideation. Hallucination. Destructiveness. Ruin.

What started as a slow and gradual decline soon sled steeply into full-on maddening descent and downward spiral. I get the sense it was painfully slow and toilsome for the people around me. In here, subjectively, from my perspective, the whole thing happened so quickly I couldn’t even see or feel to get a grip until the worst of it was done. Hindsight and all that.

I woke up to find myself physically and mentally bruised and bleeding. Alone. Bridges torched, relationships in shambles. In my madness and loathing, in those moments of lashing out trying to stay afloat, I severed some vital ties that I fear in my darkest moments might never be mended. I found myself having dug in, burrowed, hidden myself below the surface of all beauty and magnificence. I had led myself to the lowest point yet in a pit of despair that had become so comfortable as to feel like home. I didn’t want out, subconsciously. And so I hurt everything, everyone that tried to lead me towards the light.

This Shadow has always been a part of me. It always will be. I made the mistake of believing I could separate from the darkness through sheer willpower and focus. I know now that belief is a fallacy. It is not about separating from the diseased parts of ourselves. It is about reconciling those parts of ourselves with the whole, with finding balance and harmony and seeking healing through the whole, the absolute, with becoming complete and not separating, dividing, or removing. Nothing will be gained with trying to cut diseased flesh from bone, with dividing or fracturing. It is about rebuilding.

In any case, I can see now that my issues extend outside and beyond the realm of pharmacological interactions or biological side effect. However, in looking back, in searching clues recovered from the wreckage of this latest subjective event horizon, it seems clear to me that the medication I have been on has not done me any favors. If anything, it felt like the medication was water on the Gremlin of my Crazy. I need to get back to a baseline, to find out what “normal” feels like for the Ryan at this point.

I feel like doing that is the only way to move forward.

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.