In which Nicholas Jones and Wes Engelbach stop by the studio to bro down about the music business, tell how they met on a golf course (they weren't golfers), Jeff and Shakim bust out some poetic stylings, Jeff's Facebook Feed is long and rambling, and Shakim closes out the show with his newest jam.
Closing Track: "Forlornly" - Shakim "Luck" Leckie and producer Joey Braswell
I can't tell you how great it is to be out of the trough of depression. If you've never dealt with it, you probably can't understand how bad it really is.
The thing is, I'm not lazy. All that stuff my brother and ex-wife used to say to me was bullshit. I needed help, not criticism. And why did I even take the words of my abusers seriously anyway?
That's the thing about trauma. Each new injury piles up on top of the ones that came before. Eventually your soul becomes like one of those hoarder houses, with abuses and scars piled up so high you can barely get around. If it's bad enough and goes on long enough, some of us develop debilitating personality disorders that are nearly impossible to treat, if we even try.
I've been trying to face my trauma and my bipolar disorder for two years now, and it's finally paying off. I'm not perfect; I still make decisions on which tasks to blow off, but I'm doing better.
It also doesn't hurt that I've made some really wonderful friends in the last year, who don't judge me or think less of me for the struggles I'm facing.
In addition, I've made friends with at least one woman that thinks I'm pretty cool. I've never been very good at accepting compliments, but after receiving a few I'm realizing why I needed them so badly from my last girlfriend. When they're missing from our lives, we feel the lack. That's exactly why I try to throw them around to my loved ones, even when I'm in the depths of my depression. Sometimes just honoring someone for being kind, or thoughtful, or for accomplishing something great, can build up positive energy that they might send your way when you need it most.
At our most primal level, we humans are selfish creatures. We take what we can get because biologically we never know when it will be gone. But what's so interesting is that when we give of ourselves with no expectation of reciprocity or gratitude, something shifts inside of us and gives us a good feeling. Which tends to make even our darkest days just a little bit brighter.
That's partly why I'm doing this. Because I want you to know someone loves you. Someone experiences the world with some of the same pain. You are not alone, and neither am I. And in that realization, we find we can keep on going one more day, one more hour, one more minute, and we stay alive.
So stay alive. Give love. Be a part of the love that surrounds you. There is hope. Go share it with someone, and see what happens. It could change your life, and theirs.
Bedbugs? Are you fucking kidding me?
Woke up two weeks ago with some gnarly bugbites all up in a sensitive area (no, not my junk). I figure theyve been hiding in the driver's seat of my car and latched on to me the first time I fell asleep in there since moving back in with my parents. Very few things make me as angry as these little products of God's evil sense of humor. Fuck.
And please don't send me a bunch of gd advice for getting rid of them. I'm well aware.
It's been awhile. Originally when I started blogging I was committed to doing at least one thing per day before going to sleep. Then I fell into a pretty serious depression. Perhaps the first since I started on this new medication.
So I'm back, having slept over 9-10 hours the last two nights and getting down to the last two nicotine patches before I'm fully over smoking.
For those who don't know, depression doesn't make sense. Nothing about life the last two weeks has been any harder than before. I've treated myself well, kept stress down, and generally done what I can to stay on top of these feelings.
But I stopped making lists. I stopped walking the dog. I couldn't even think about exercise. And my thoughts about my ex girlfriend were overwhelming. You can say it's about grief, withdrawal or just plain feelings that come and go like the wind. But on top of every other shitty struggle it was nearly unbearable.
But let's be real. It's been months since I've seen her. As beautiful and funny as she was, she was selfish, closed off, and hard to trust. Maybe the hardest part to accept is that someone I loved more than anything could be doing things with another man that she never did with me. That I am inadequate, or that the very thing I feared has come to pass, that once she began healing and treating her mental illness she would have a status, enabling her to date someone taller, stronger, richer and more handsome than me.
Now that I'm rising from the depths of depression, I'm beginning to realize just how sad my life is right now. It sucks. I project this image of a confident, happy-go-lucky artist, but really I'm a faker, still unable to finish things, still unable to convince others to take part in my projects, and lonely as fuck.
I know what to tell others: tell yourself "I do enough, I have enough, I am enough". And yet, I'm still hungry, still lost, still longing for something that cannot be. Maybe that's just my natural state. Maybe it can't be changed. And that's what's truly terrifying.
Got a few weeks of support groups under my belt, and I'm feeling more connected and loved than ever before. It's pretty great.
So why do I still hurt whenever something reminds me of you?
cruisin down the street with the radio on
and maybe this will be my new favorite song
breakin old habits and makin new ones
i been breakin thru the sorrow
and havin fun
i can laugh just hard as i used to do
so why am i still thinkin
runnin down the alley with no plans to stop
i been chasin good feelins but my head stil drops
had to cut you from my life
cuz all you did was take
when I think about you baby
all i do is shake
its not enough
its still so rough
i aint that tough
i bet youre over it
but i guess im not
wanna get beyond it
wanna make it
but it aint no use
nothin i can do
i still aint over
So that's what I'm working with. Stay tuned to Everything is Awesome for our next episode. Bonus Episode: Ghosts and Speakers. Thanks for readin this stuff, gang. Can't do this without you. Tweet at us: @EIAPodcast
I'm Email: email@example.com
I wrote an entire blog and accidentally deleted the whole thing by hitting the back button on the browser.
It was all the things I'm grateful for.
One of those is not mobile websites that can't auto save documents in such a situation.
I am grateful for the ability to maintain serenity though.
And all of you. Much love, Jefé.
Okay. I didn't do a post yesterday cuz I was on a date. Some cool stuff happened: Rusty came with, I smoked some doobage on the beach, had a donut and a frappychinomocha, ate some tackos in a corn tor tilla, and listened to great music with a cool lady.
Then it was over. But it was still early. So I went to a friend's place nearby (holla, Justin and Marika) and got legit blazed. Once good times were properly celebrated, I returned to the Southland. And promptly went to sleep in my car with Rusty in a Fife parking lot.
Breakfast at Denny's, followed by lunch at the Pup. The whole day gettin my soshe media on, and discovering something most excellent:
What the hell is tsu.co? It's only the sweetest new social media site and it is faster, cleaner, simpler, and cooler than facebook, instagram, and tumbler combined. So I joined the club of intelligent folk spreading the word. And the biggest reason I have for tellin y'all about it? Facebook has chosen to ban all mention or linkage to tsū so you can't enjoy their services in a convenient manner.
So here's what I say: everything we would have shared on Facebook, we share on tsū instead. And we blow this boycott right up in Jesse Eisenberg's face, or whatever that guy's name is. Boom. If you also have snapchat, join me in sharing this shit as quickly as possible. Make it Snappen.
Getting trashed in sunny Auburn, Washington. Still in my postal uniform. Living across the Narrows Bridge is a pain in the ass cause I don't wanna go home to avoid two tolls in one day. Thankfully my folks have been taking my dog out every night so I can stay on this side without too much guilt.
I'm excited to see my buddy Shelby's comedy show, but I must admit today's been a bit of a struggle. Not due to my mental state finally; that's actually been pretty good. Pain level is around a 2. No, this has largely centered around my grief over losing The Love of My Life.
I don't know how many of you have lost your soulmate but it's not great. I once thought my ex-wife was destined for me, but I realized pretty quickly that she was a terrible person. I just didn't have the strength to abort the mission. But this time I'd found someone worth fighting for. And believe me, I tried.
So I'm sitting in my mailtruck listening to the Mental Illness Happy Hour (a fantastic podcast) and lamenting my piss-poor behavior when it came to treating her with kid gloves. I'd never really understood how to deal with an extreme introvert and always bristled at being closed out from physical affection. So in the absence of my love, I was feelin the feels.
Luckily, the sunshine and a great new podcast, Pretty Misandry with Maggie Strong, brought me out of my funk and enabled me to reengage with the human world. Maggie Strong, the erstwhile host of Pretty Misandry, commiserated with me regarding the difficulty of maintaining relationships when mental illness is a factor, and it was awesome. There's nothing like relating with someone who understands your issues, especially in matters of the heart.
I don't know what comes next. Comedy is on the agenda for the evening, which is always great. But love and happiness are elusive targets. I have a few new female friendships, which are always welcome, and I'm involved in a couple codependency support groups, so I expect some quality healing, but my heart still aches for the one woman who moves my soul.
I don't know how to end this post, so I'll just say this: if you're struggling with loneliness, depression, or any other mental confusion, know that you're not alone. We're all in this together. Love rules the world. Embrace it, and each other.
It's weird. I actually had a good day today. Woke up feeling actually okay, got to the kitchen where Pops had made me a cup of coffee, let the dog out, and got ready to go to work. The sunrise was magnificent, skies more or less clear all day, not too cold.
I know I'm feeling better because for the first time in at least two weeks I didn't have to nap on my first break. I finished up Dune Messiah (there's a weird book) and cleared up some mail I'd been putting off. I even got my ballot filled out and sent in. Maybe voting day is what pulled me out of my funk, lol. I do love democracy.
After work I got my oil changed (only 4000 miles too late) and discovered that I'd let the oil run below the point the dipstick could even measure. Depression is such a cunt (sorry, Mom). Seriously, how many things have to pile up before the fog lifts? I can't even imagine what people with constant depression go through. Being bipolar 2 I at least get to dip in and out. Thankfully my medication keeps me from getting too high or too low. But even two months of low-grade depression has made a deep impact on my ability to get things done or to enjoy the things I normally take pleasure in.
God damn I have a lot of problems. It would take too long to list them out, but suffice to say I'm amazed I'm able to hold down a job, produce a podcast every week (or month, whatevz), take my dog out, and pay my bills "on time". I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to date me. Or be married to me.
Which brings me to the subject that's most pressing on my mind: my relationship, or lack of it, with the Love of My Life.
I miss her daily. I know she wasn't perfect, but she was mine. She was always there when I needed someone to talk to. She nearly always laughed at my jokes. She went with me to most social events. She invited me to family gatherings. She rarely inquired about my feelings, wasn't very good at being comforting or affectionate, but I know without a doubt that she loved me. And now she's gone.
She's not dead, at least not last I checked. She's out there somewhere, still using the phone I bought for her, still on my plan, still going to work and probably still complaining to anyone who will listen about her problems and how she can't do anything about them, and yet, I miss her.
Why is it so hard to let someone go who isn't good for you? Near the end of our time together she wasn't spending the night, she was cagey and weird, she was hiding her feelings from me and generally behaving like someone would if they were seeing someone else. Over the last few months her responses to my emails have gotten less and less sincere. I'm pretty sure she's moved on and it kills me. We were supposed to be on a trial separation while we both worked on our mental health, but I don't think she's really doing much at all. She started massage school but now it seems like she might quit that as well.
So why do I want her back? Why would I willingly invite that drama back into my life? Am I just hopelessly addicted to being taken for granted? Do I have any self-respect whatsoever?
That's what love addiction is all about. It's the reason why I let my wife mistreat me for so many years. It's why I would lie to my family when she didn't want to see them. It's why I would be intimate with her even if I didn't want to. It's why I stayed with her, fighting and clawing until the bitter end even though she was clearly cheating on me.
Addiction is a killer. It doesn't matter what the addiction is. Anything that takes you away from your values and your safety threatens your life and the lives of the people around you. Seeking recovery is the best thing you can do, both for your mental health, but for those you love as well. Putting aside problem behaviors and truly facing up to the issues that lead you to avoid your troubles in the first place is the only way to ever life a healthy and productive life.
Writing these things down has helped. Sharing my struggles with you is helping me face my fears and stay focused on my plan of healing. I can't do it alone. None of us can.
I still miss her every day. I may for a good long time. And maybe, if my recovery goes well, and she receives effective treatment for her conditions, perhaps then we can start over. But for now I have to grieve, to make sense of this loss, and move forward along the winding path of recovery.
If you are struggling with the pain of heartbreak or loss, if you're facing serious mental challenges, if you have an addiction and you've been afraid to face it, please talk to someone you trust. Talk to a close friend or professional counselor. Or hell, talk to me. Send a fully confidential email to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about you and your issues. Everybody can use a good listener sometimes. Hang in there, and know that you are not alone.
Have you ever unintentionally said the worst possible thing you could say to someone? I did that this week. It happened on Facebook (as these things do). I decided to comment on a lady's Facebook post with what I thought was a fairly witty riposte, but which turned out be hurtful, embarrassing and rude. Whoops!
This sort of thing happened all the time when I was married. I don't want to say she was oversensitive, but if you brushed by her in the hallway she'd very likely wake you up in the middle of the night raging like some sort of Japanese folk-demon.
Anyhoo, through that experience I learned how to temper my thoughts and direct myself toward the positive, even if a joke that came to me was too funny to stifle. God help you if you got caught stifling, though, because then she'd demand to know what you were thinking. Which, for a guy with ADD is a very hard question to answer. "Twelve different things, at least" is not an acceptable answer to give a woman looking for a fight. Anyways, after that marriage exploded I more or less learned to curb my most offensive thoughts before they came out of my mouth.
I know now how to be positive, and truly feel it. To file away potentially hurtful phrases quickly and without hesitation. Unless I'm in a horrible verbal confrontation, in which case I'm probably totally screwed. But in an ordinary back and forth between me and a lady, I more or less behave myself.
Which brings me to this week's controversy. An attractive lady comic messaged me the night of Halloween, for what purpose I can't quite figure. I try to keep it light, but as you may know from reading my previous posts, this is new for me. The old Jeff might have thrown a bunch of innuendo her way, trying craftily to work out some future sexy time scenario.
I didn't do that. I was cool on the text and bid adieu. The next day, however, Facebook opened the door to madness.
Said comic posted a cute picture of herself and two friends. Jeff, being the charming gentleman he is, said something nice about the picture and went along with his day. Later, checking in on his notifications, Jeff discovered someone had complimented this comic on her looks. She responded, saying something about not wearing makeup.
This is where Jeff made the critical error. Instead of walking gingerly away and letting these friends lightly banter, Jeff decided to make a joke. (insert scary organ sounds)
The joke essentially suggested that the comic was fishing for compliments. Something along the lines of "we all know you're pretty. Calm down."
You ever see that black and white video of the nuclear blast at Alamagordo blasting through buildings? That was the impact of this joke upon this situation. Here was a nice little thread involving friends and cute Halloween costumes, and suddenly the entire world was on fire.
I knew immediately what I had done. I'd suggested in a public forum that this woman was fishing for compliments. An accusation of that magnitude could not be ignored. I tried quickly to smooth things over but it was too late. I was in the shit.
I talked to a mutual friend later that day and learned that what I'd said was essentially a backhanded compliment. I hate those and so I genuinely felt sorry. What had begun as a simple joke lampooning a beautiful woman's insecurity had morphed into something much much darker.
I'm filing this fracas under the file heading "Nuclear Option", words or suggestions that will drive a woman into a semi-violent rage. The phrase "calm down" definitely belongs in that category. Any answer to the question "does this make me look fat?" that doesn't involve the words "no", "of course not" or "have you seen the remote?" And for the love of god, any suggestion that a woman is insecure or vain is definitely bad for your health.
I saw this attractive lady comic earlier tonight, ducked my head like a turtle, and slipped out the back door of the bar. I had planned to go up to her and apologize in person, but part of me was terrified to deal with it at all.
Honestly, I think being rejected and mistreated by so many women in the last few years has made it hard to face up to their anger and disappointment with me. I've had some seriously messed up things thrown my way and I think I'm a little shellshocked. Also, I want to be involved in this here comedy scene and the last thing I want is to look like a jackass in front of everyone.
Sometimes I just want to be able to speak up and point out when people are being ridiculous. But most people, it seems, don't want you to do that. Especially people who are used to adulation instead of lampooning. As a chronic receiver of lampoonage, sometimes I forget that other people aren't used to it. And therein lies the lesson: don't fuck with people who you don't know well. Because their response may surprise you.
To the attractive lady comic, I hope you can forgive my thoughtless words. And to all of you who may be tempted to sling your silly barbs whilly-nilly, take heed lest ye unleash the dogs of war. Maintaining a peaceful society demands politeness, or at the very least, caution.
You have been warned.
Well, Halloween turned out to be not so bad. We found someone to take my foundling kitty Otis, none of my friends got stabbed by drugged out zombies, and my parents left the house for awhile so i got to watch xfiles and eat candy on the couch.
Who am i kidding? It was pretty awful. I worked in the pouring ass rain, had to see nothing but adorable pictures of happy families in fun costumes, was terribly depressed, and got to ruminating about my ex wife and how she loved Halloween and always dressed us up in cool homemade costumes. And I also remembered the time I ran into a woman I'd dated briefly before I got back together with the ex wife, who let me know as she was leaving that she had an 11 year old son.
Why was that interaction upsetting, you ask? Because later that night I did the math and realized that it lined up with time she and I had gotten together.
Here's the thing. It's damn near impossible that it could have been my kid. I don't even remember any actual sex happening. Although my bipolar disorder and PTSD have occasionally triggered blackouts so it's conceivable in some weird universe. And this woman, one Amber Johnson of University Place (I'm putting her actual name here in case anyone knows her and could put me in contact) was the type to keep something like that a secret. I also know that she went looking for me at a coffee shop I used to frequent after I stopped going there.
So whats the takeaway? Number one, the Seahawks won a squeaker on Sunday, which is awesome. Number two, if i were to have a child it would completely take away the biological drive to propagate my genetic material, which would make my relationship struggles much less confusing. And number three, it would mean that somewhere out there is a thirteen year old half-version of me trying his best to overcome the challenge of growing up without a dad.
If I could talk to this invisible little guy, I'd tell him that I will do anything to make his life better; that I can't change the past but I can impact his future; and regardless of his mothers decision to keep his existence a secret, he matters to me and will have my complete support until the day I die.
No one should have to grow up without a father. My dad is one of the bravest, kindest, and most ethical people I've ever known. He loves his kids, takes great care of his wife, gives back to his community, and works hard to leave the world better than he found it. If I had one wish, it would be for world peace. If I had two wishes, the second would be that everyone have a good dad who teaches them the values of hard work, kindness, and commitment to improving society.
If you have a dad who loves you and treats you right, give him a hug and let him know he's important. If you don't, find a dude who you respect and thank him for impacting your life in a positive way. And if you don't have someone like that, share your story with people you love. Find some way to fill that dad-shaped hole in your heart in a way that doesn't involve addiction and self destructive behaviors. You owe it to yourself and to society to make the most of your life and not slip into despair. This world can be a nightmare sometimes, but it can also be a lot of fun.
Halloween is over finally, and I can breathe again.Ii got plenty of sleep, and someones supposed to come by today to pick up my old love seat and armchair (a wedding gift from my parents). I have some great friends and I'm alive, which I think is better than the alternative. And god willing I'll have my dad around for a good long time.
Take care of yourselves and love the good people in your lives, cause in the end that's what really matters. From everyone here at Everything is Awesome, we hope you had a great Halloween. Until next time, friends, we wish you good times. and many many more happy family moments.
In which Olympia standup Emily Bittrick and Tacoma legend Fred Bowski join Jefe to produce the first episode of Season Two of Everything is Awesome; multiple items are auctioned off to raise money for suicide prevention; a kickass comedy show takes place; the gang discuss a variety of issues; and Jeff complains about all sorts of things as his wont.
Closing tracks: Some sweet live jams from Tacoma's own Kaylene Anna Barber
Fuck Halloween. Don't care. I hate big
parties and I hate dressing up. The only
times Ive ever cared are when I was married and I thought my wife might be a little happier after enjoying her favorite holiday. Of course half the time she'd get too drunk and embarrass me, and the other half we'd fight about something and she'd shut down.
Now I'm single, and I have no interest in spending all night at some party or bar trying to have fun with a bunch of strangers.
Damn. Now I feel like an asshole. This blog was supposed to be mostly positive; an opportunity to let you all into the way I see the world. Instead I'm using this space to shit on your good time like some inveterate Facebooking jagoff.
Here's the thing: I dont have kids and I don't have a partner. Holidays without love just seem stupid to me. Chances are I'll be spending the night at my house finally uploading the episode I finished editing days ago. My parents will probably try to hang out with me, so at some point I'll likely go up to the shitty bar in my hometown and drink too much while eyeballing women I'll never even talk to, let alone make out with.
I really should erase this whole thing and start over. But I've been doing that for days and I just gotta get this out. A good comic killed herself this week, I'm gonna have to take my crazy cat back from the family that adopted him, I'm estranged from my brother which means I won't see his kids, and the woman I love is lost in the mists of mystery. I'm trying to give up chasing broke women and having no luck getting more comfortable in my own skin. And my show continues to sit there on my computer daring me to finish it.
Fuck Halloween. Fuck wishing I wasn't such a mess. Fuck your happiness and your happy family moments.
God, I'm being a dick. Get out there and have fun. Life is hard; enjoy yourself. Disregard my self-pity and get you some love.
Take care. And hopefully I'll have another of these uplifting rants up tomorrow.