Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Moment in Time in a Midwest Town

It was odd to walk back in here alone. Stepping through the door I could still smell her throughout my apartment. Alone again but not at the same time, she is still here. I can still feel her hand on my face.

I watched her walk down to the security check in, I could see the tears in her eyes as she turned around and disappeared from my sight once again. I choked back the tears, ran my hand through my hair and turned to walk away. I sat there in my car, smoking a cigarette and thinking about the conclusion to this utterly perfect weekend. Everything had gone right, everything went smoothly and for the first time in so very long I felt at peace.

We laid there in my bed, our sweaty skin pressed together in the aftermath of heaven. It was a conversation that had been looming over our heads since the moment I got in that cab almost two months ago. We both knew that this couldn’t continue forever, it was taking too much from our souls. It was on the tip of my tongue; I knew it burned on hers as well. Neither wanted to say, neither wanted to hurt the other but both knew it had to pass.

“What are we going to do?”

I heard it in her voice a few weeks ago; I could sense the loneliness and the anguish. I knew because it was present in mine as well. Something had to change; even though it might crush each of us…it had to be done. I told her that I didn’t want her to go back to being alone. I love that woman way too fucking much to hear the pain I cause in her voice, to see those tears in her eyes. I knew in my heart that I wanted her to wait for me forever, but I knew that was not just.

If you love her, you will set her free.

I told her that she needed to find someone back home that would love her the way she deserved. I felt the tears run down my cheeks as I said it, but I did not stop, I told her what I needed to say. So did she. She made me promise not to go back to drinking. I promise. She made me promise that I would take the first step towards my future. I promise. She made me promise that I would stop treating myself like crap. I promise. My love, I promise you these things because it was you who helped me see them. We must carry on, but we will forever be together.

We laid there in silence for a few minutes before she finally said that she would never let someone take her for granted again. I can’t possibly explain with these words how that made me feel. I hate her blog because it is a collection of tales about a bunch of cunts that didn’t realize what they had in front of them. So many nights I have been unable to sleep, upset beyond belief thinking about how fucking unfair it is that those fools had an opportunity to love her and they treated her like meat. How horribly unfair it is that I love her like I have never loved before and I can’t have her like I want. Such bullshit that those fucking morons had a chance with the most incredible woman on earth and they let her go. Fools, the fucking ignorant fools, if they had only opened their eyes they would have seen the same thing I do.

I told her I never wanted her to go back to Craigslist and I never wanted her to settle. She needs a man who will love her like I do but who can be there in a way that I can’t. “Don’t you dare settle, don’t you dare let some man hurt you again and promise me that you will find someone who will love you like you deserve to be loved.” She gave me her word and for the first time I realized this was not a one way street. I had shown her something about herself, just like she had shown me something about myself. I helped her, I showed her how someone should treat her, care for her, pamper her and love her. I know that she understood.

That made me…no that makes me feel like a man, to have the guts to say something that broke my heart because I knew it was right. I love her, I can’t subject her to the torture of waiting for me…and that is why I let her go.

But, my heart could not let her go without telling her something. It became apparent while lying in that bed that this feeling was not going to disappear. I said that I would always love her, and I meant it. When the same words came out of her mouth I knew it was the God honest truth. She said that maybe someone was up there looking down on us, how else could we have found each other? Maybe she was right.

Are you still up there? Do you still care about me, even after all the evil I have done? I think maybe you do, otherwise…what did I do to deserve this woman?

We laid around watching football all afternoon on the bed we made on my living room floor, eating cheese and crackers. It was so simple and yet it was so very perfect. I finally had the opportunity to treat her like my girlfriend, if only for three days, but it made me so very happy. Maybe it was a glimpse into what could be someday, maybe not, I’m not going to sit around thinking about what might have been. I won’t sit here and ask myself, “What if,” and I won’t cry over things that can’t be right now.

You know, I feel like I should be sad…but I’m not. I feel like my heart should be broken…but it isn’t. I feel like I should be crying…but I’m not. I am content. I am smiling. I am happy. For once I know I am worth more than I gave myself credit for. Why would she bother to love me? Because I am worth it, I am worth something. So strange to read that, but what is even stranger is that I actually believe it.

You know what? For once I am smiling and for once it isn’t a disguise.

I’ll leave it at this. This weekend will forever be a memory of a perfect moment in a Midwest town that I used to hate. I saw a different city when I crossed the river on the way back from the airport. This moment changed my life, and coming back into Ohio tonight, I knew I was a different boy…no, a different man. For she is not just a woman, she is the woman who made me a man; she is the one who saved me.


I never would have loved you this way if you weren’t worth it.

Love always,


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

48 Hours

Not nervous. Not worried. Not biting my nails, smoking constantly or losing sleep. Not jittery, twitching or twiddling my thumbs.

I’m just not thinking about it.

I have worked so many hours in the past 5 days that I have gotten sick from exhaustion. I am stressed, tired and my brain is only half on. On the bright side, the past few days of the countdown went by relatively quickly. Quite frankly, I haven’t had time to put myself through the stomach churning worry I did last time. The whole thing about having to work on Friday is up in the air for about another half hour, but surprisingly it has not really bothered me this whole time. For once, I am just going with it.

It has me dumbfounded because this time there is much more on the line than last. Things have been said, fears have been expressed and desires have been shared like they weren’t last time around, but that’s ok. This whole intensely fucked up situation the two of us are in has really given me insight into to how to deal with worry.

Don’t fucking worry about it.

All I will end up doing is tearing my hair out and driving her insane. There is nothing I can do now that will change what happens this weekend, so why bother.

Just relax and let it happen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Story Time Part 1 Revisited...Awkwardly

In order to read this you need to read Story Time Part 1.

It’s a little before three here right now. One of the girls is out on lunch and I was covering the phones as we were pretty busy. The phone rang and I answered.

“Hi this is Jess from ________ Trucking in _______Wisconsin.”

Oh shit. Oh holy absolute shit. I recognized her voice almost instantly. I knew this would happen someday, I was just waiting for it. I didn’t know what to say so I just went on telling her about the freight she called on.

“Wait a minute, I know you don’t I? Oh wait…oh my God. Um….This is Cheese isn’t it?”

“It is.”

The conversation was about as awkward a shower in high school gym class. My plan to stick to the details of the load did not really work so well.

“So how’s Meg?”

“She isn’t.”

“How are you doing?”

“I’m better than I was a few months ago.”

She dragged the info out of me so I told her about Pitseleh. Told her how we met and how far in over our heads we had gotten. She laughed and said that maybe I should consider not meeting anymore older women from other states while I am supposed to be working. I must admit she broke the awkwardness a bit with that comment and we shared a laugh. She asked if we had met before, I told her we had and that it wasn’t at a Best Western either. Again, we laughed.

I asked her how her kids were and she said that they were good. Said things were better now with her husband. I had forgotten she was married and suddenly remembered the email from some strange guy in Wisconsin saying “FUCK YOU ASSHOLE” when she got caught shortly after the trip. I felt the guilt creep into me. Back then I didn’t really care what happened to her, I only felt guilty for cheating on Meg. Although, now that I think about it she was probably screwing someone that weekend too.

I suddenly felt so guilty for sleeping with a married woman, I’m not going to lie…I still do. Eh, chalk it up in the sin book. I guess it just means I get a better seat in hell.

So anyway, the conversation meandered on in a slightly less awkward fashion for a few minutes before I told her that I had to go.

“Do you mind if I put you on my list of available loads that I send out every morning?”

“Of course not, Cheese,” she laughed, “It was really nice to talk to you again, I’m glad you’re well.”

“It as nice to talk to you too, Jess.”

Its almost four now, I should probably get back to work. Between the IM conversation with my favorite ex-blogger and writing this down so I didn’t forget, I have officially wasted the afternoon…yet again.

But that…well, that threw me off.

Once again, further proof that there is no such thing as an uneventful day in my completely insane life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Single Digits

The text I got at 11:58 last night said, “9 days!”

If I was not asleep I would have responded with, “In two minutes, dumbass.”

In any case we are down to single digits here…again. This time she comes here, requiring me to clean, launder (clothing not money) and buy things to put in my refrigerator so I don’t look quite so poor. Friends will all be out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday so no worries about drunken rednecks telling her even more embarrassing stories about me. She gets in at 12:30 or so and I’ll be ready to pick her up and spend the afternoon together. So all in all we are good, right?



Coworker 1: Just so you guys know, ________ is shipping on Black Friday.

Me: Your point?

Coworker 2: shaking head


Coworker 1: Nope, we are working Black Friday.

Me: I hate my fucking life.

I swear to God nothing can ever be easy for me, can it?

I swear.


Irony At Its Finest

So one of my friends got a job for R.J. Reynolds, pretty sweet gig actually, they even gave him a company car.

The only catch?

You can’t smoke in it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


What am I trying to write to myself? I stare at this screen as I write this and I can watch the letters appear in response to the movements of my fingers. If I don’t look at my fingers I type quite awkwardly, as if I were learning to ride a bike once again. You know my brother turned 21 years old yesterday and he still can’t ride a bike. Ok but I’m getting off topic.

By contrast if I sit here and watch my fingers dancing rapidly across the keyboard I look up to find that entire paragraphs have been written on the screen before I even realize the thoughts had been wrenched from my head. I can stare and stare and write without my instant urge to correct every mistake that appears on the screen at any given interval during the writing process. But then, like this instant right now, I look up and I see the words that I have written and I must correct them, enhance them to make them tell me something I just can’t see, something that isn’t there.

I am utterly convinced these words are out to get me.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Devil's Workshop

“Once you've taken a few punches and realize you're not made of glass, you don't feel alive unless you're pushing yourself as far as you can go.” Matt Buckner in Green Street Hooligans.

List of things to do: (roughly dated 08/25/08)

1. No more late night fist fights – Check.
2. No more waking up to a vomited covered bed – Check.
3. Shorten list of people to apologize to on Saturday and Sunday mornings – Check.
4. Stop sleeping with stupid women I don’t care about – Check.
5. Eliminate the blindingly drunk driving – Check.
6. Eliminate the bar tabs in excess of $30 – Check.
7. No more waking up still drunk before work – Check.
8. Cut down on drunken late night phone calls – Check.
9. Quit making a belligerent fool out of myself – Check.
10. No more visits to The Party Source after 11pm – Check.

So it has been a few successful months of behaving like a reasonable and (halfway) responsible adult, I’d say I’m doing a good job. I have to admit that waking up and not feeling as though I drank a bottle of Clorox bleach the night before is quite nicer than the opposite. My checking account is thanking me, my friends are thanking me and believe me my body is thanking me. So all in all I’m on the right track…right?

Well, I am not so convinced.

Yes of course there are numerous benefits to my lack of late night bar time shenanigans but for all those benefits there is one new problem I have created. A few months ago if you put a few bourbons in my system you would see possibly the most insane human being on earth. My memory of a normal evening would end at about 11pm, which normally left me the task of reconstructing my whereabouts via credit card statement and text message records. Now after a few weeks of serious loss of control I learned from my mistakes by deleting my texts before bed and leaving my credit card at home so I had no way to remember my misadventures. Honestly I didn’t want to remember them.

Towards the beginning of fall things were in a serious downward spiral. I woke up to puke covering my face, chest, pillow and sheets more than once and drank so much bourbon that on one occasion I pissed the bed. I was driving at over 100mph on the freeway with a blood alcohol content high enough to knock down an offensive lineman in the NFL. I was punching more inanimate objects and close friends than a pro boxer on training day. I routinely heard stories from people I barely knew about a maniac they heard about last night named “Cheese” and my friends were telling me I needed help. I had a death wish and was more than happy to demonstrate it.

So, what the hell am I complaining about?

I’m fucking BORED!

There is something to be said for the constant chaos that I created for myself over the past few months, it kept me on my toes. Normal nights at 12:30 I would be midway through a massive bar tab, now I’m midway through a public TV infomercial. Normal mornings I might wake up on my floor in a puddle of drool, now it lands on my pillow. Normally I would be called a maniac now you could call me tame. I guess this is abnormal for me. I don’t know how to live without chaos, drama, fighting, blood, tears and everything that makes a maniac feel alive.

I have taken more than my fare share of punches and have known for a long time I am not made of glass. In fact, if you think about the number of times I have escaped from death or danger, you could say I was made of stone. I am fucking invincible. I’ve been shot at, hanging by my neck, in near fatal car wrecks and in fights that almost killed me, yet here I sit writing away. I need the presence of danger to feel alive. I need the knife to my throat and the gun to my head before I will be fully convinced I am still breathing.

Ok now this is really the lack of sex talking here.

So yeah, I replaced the excitement I got from my psycho ex Meg when we broke up with even heavier drinking and partying. Oh and please believe me that my little New Yorker does the same, its just she isn’t here. If she was, this wouldn’t be a problem because as I discovered during my visit to see her, my cock remains perpetually hard in her presence (it actually kind of hurts after a while). But since I am left alone here in this mess of a city, I sit here and think about all the fun I’m missing on those long weekend nights.

Well I guess that’s that, I’m bored and there is nothing I can do about it. I mean it really isn’t all that bad, my season on NHL 08 is getting a ton of attention and my apartment has never been cleaner. Instead of hearing stories about me on the previous night, I am hearing them about others. Instead of apologizing profusely to friends in the morning, I have them calling me to apologize. Instead of waking up to texts from her saying that I am an ass, I wake up to them saying “I love you.” So yeah, I am not necessarily complaining, I like this thing I have going here. I just have to be plain old honest and say, it gets a little boring from time to time.

Just keep in mind that, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

Best Man?

I understand why you did it, but I still don’t agree. You’re one of my closest friends and we have seen each other through more than a few tough times. I will always be there and I will always support you, pit bull, remember? But when you called me and asked me that question I felt my heart sink.

“Will you be my best man?”

You know I don’t like her, I never have, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you all the things I despise. But seriously, there are some things that you need to open your eyes and see.

When you moved to Texas, you moved alone with the knowledge that you would know no one once you got there. You moved with the idea that after a few years of hard and miserable work you would be able to return and live the life you wanted. I backed you on that choice even though I wanted you to stay. I took your calls and we talked for hours every week, I could hear how lonely you were and how much you just needed a friend to talk to about the general stupidity of our species. I knew it was only a matter of time before you couldn’t take it anymore. So when you told me that she was moving down there I wasn’t angry, I understood but I was still sad.

She cheated on you constantly and she did it blatantly, as if she wanted you to know. Yeah, I cheated too so what could I say? You guys broke up for 10 months and within that period of time she had a baby…one that didn’t look like you. She moved down and the baby and dog came with her. As if it wasn’t enough for you to work sixty hours a week, now you raise her child as your own while she gallivants around Dallas. You put up the money for the house and you pay the bills. You work third shift when they need you and I never hear you complain. What does she do?

She works at Pac-Sun in the mall…and she isn’t even a manager.

So I watch you slave away at a job you hate, raising her kid while she works a part time job and you make the mortgage payments. I must admit, it drives me nuts how quickly she forced you to grow up and how she leaves all the responsibility on you. There is so much more I could say, so many other transgressions, but you have heard them all before.

The question I have is: how do I tell you that this is the worst fucking idea I have ever heard? How does one tell one’s close friend that his fiancĂ© is toxic? How does one say to a friend, “Hey she is a fucking worthless user”?

I can’t go on not saying anything, you are my friend and you will have to live with this mistake for the rest of your life. But I seriously wonder how you will take it, you aren’t exactly the biggest fan of constructive criticism, you know? I just want you to open your eyes and see what is happening around you. You are raising her kid and she doesn’t help. She stays out all night every night. You have strange numbers calling all the time and she spends hours on the phone with them. Open your eyes man, you are whipped.

So, tonight you are in town and we will go out drinking and watching Monday Night Football and we will talk about things separated friends talk about. I just wonder, how the hell will I not say anything? Should I say something? What happens if I do? What happens if I don’t?

Ugh, I wish you were gay, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about being your best man.

Unless of course Ohio or Texas were to legalize gay marriage in our lifetime.

Yeah right.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is This Thing On?

Is there a point to this anymore? What good has writing here done me?

I have confronted lies, drug abuse, heartbreak, betrayal, pain, anger and alcoholism and I have left it out there for the world to see. But I ask myself why? What is the point of leaving it up for the public to read? Why not just write this in my bedroom and leave it saved for eternity on my hard drive?

I’ll admit to myself that when I first started seeing people comment I got caught up in the narcissism of this little game. Running around flirting in comment boxes and coming up with witty one liners was a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like knowing people are reading and thinking about their life? I found myself seriously debating the deletion of this blog for that exact reason. The reason I came here is beyond me now and I’m not entirely sure of the reason I stay. It is so much easier to write when drinking, getting high and almost dying on a nightly basis, but I’m not doing that anymore. I felt like I had some sort of obligation to keep on writing stories about self destruction, but I don’t feel like writing about that anymore. To be honest I don’t know what I feel like writing anymore, I just know I need to keep doing it.

It becomes so much harder to write the god honest truth when you sacrifice your anonymity to let people into your world. You see everything you write through their eyes and you wonder if they might not love you when they finish the next sentence. I can’t go forward like that and I issue my last warning to this blog that it will be removed if this continues. This is my space and I do still need it, but I cannot allow it to be compromised or painted a certain shade for another’s eyes.

Yes, I can admit to myself that things are so much better right now, but I can’t keep burying my head in the sand waiting for the things I ignore to kick me in the ass. You will only ever see a little bit of an iceberg unless you jump into the water to see what lurks beneath the surface; writing is how I jump in. Sitting in my room writing by myself accomplishes only so much. I did a remarkable amount of writing during my little nap from this blog but I found that none of it scratched the surface the way I needed it too. Something about the fact that knowing only I would read it compelled me to write a version of events that I wanted to hear, one that would make me feel better. The truth is, however, it did nothing of the sort. I saw how quickly and easily I would lie to myself to make the events of my life palatable.

They are nothing more than lies and incorrect accounts of how I REALLY felt. In short they are pointless.

So I feel that in one week I have made a serious about face. I need to be able to read accurate accounts of my past so I can learn from them. “He who controls the past controls the future.” I debated making it private and inviting no one, I debated deleting it, I debated writing by myself and I debated just plain not writing at all. None of those are going to work; it has to be here or nowhere, this is how I control the past and how I control the future.

I made a promise to myself that I would be totally honest in every word that I put on this blog and that is what holds my hand to the fire. When I write alone or not at all, I find myself lying to make me better or worse or whatever the fuck I want to feel at the time. I write in this space knowing that if I lie here, I lie to the entire world. I lie to anyone who chooses to read it.

But more importantly if I lie here, I lie to myself. I end up back where I began and I gain nothing. I put up a quote as the second post I ever wrote, “When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.” I need this blog so I can be honest with myself; it is my only check and my only balance.

So that being said, I think what makes more sense to me now is, “When a man lies, he murders some part of himself.”

I am done with suicide, be it real or metaphorical, and that is the reason I stay.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Now it's time to say good night
Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you.
Close your eyes and I'll close mine
Good night, sleep tight
Now the moon begins to shine
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you.
Close your eyes and I'll close mine
Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you.
Good night good night everybody
Everybody everywhere
Good night.
"Good Night" The Beatles

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can

I sat for two hours on I-275 in Kentucky this morning due to a fatal accident on the bridge into Indiana. At around 9:30 people started to get out of their cars to smoke, stretch and talk. The people in the cars and trucks next to me hopped out and we congregated in the median discussing when the bridge would be reopened. Not surprisingly the conversation soon shifted to the election.

The group was clearly divided about the election but for the first time in 10 months I finally heard civil discussion from real people, not left or right wing nutcases. They expressed both fears and hopes, not only for the next four years, but for the future of our country. It was clear (by their bumper stickers) that they had all voted differently but managed to have a meaningful conversation about the state of affairs in our beloved America. I said that it was of the utmost importance that we throw down our party flags and pick up the one flag we all share in common. They nodded; we went to our cars and shortly after traffic began moving.

There is a dangerous storm bearing down on our great land and the skies look ominous, but this is no time for fear. This is not a time for division, it is a time to stand together and show the rest of the world that we are united under one flag. We are all family and we must fight together as one. Now is not the time for us to point fingers or place blame, it is the time to move forward…together.

United we stand / Divided we fall

The thing we so desperately need to remember is that it is not one man who is going to bring us change. Barack Obama is not going to change this country. He will not fix our economy and he will not end our wars. He will not repair race relations and he will not improve our image in the world. He will not change any single one of those things.

We will.

We must show this world we mean business. We must set the right example. We must cooperate and we must listen. Obama is merely and agent of change, much the same as King and Kennedy. Both were great men, but both were only the catalyst. They saw that the people were hungry for something new and they listened to the heart of their nation. They let the people guide them and speak through them, thus enabling and inspiring the change the people cried out for.

They were the agents but we are the change.

So I say that now is not the time to cower in fear, now is the time to remember our great history and stand tall. Now is the time for the American dream to be reborn for all people, the people who have always deserved it but have always been denied. Now it the time to heal the rift and to work together as one, for if we do not, we will surely perish.

So when I heard that speech last night and I saw those crowds I felt something new. Each time I heard the words “yes we can,” I got the chills. And by the end of that speech I had tears in my eyes. I listened to and I believe in the promise which has been made to me. I believe that this is the beginning of something new. I believe that the United States of America will once again be a shining beacon on the hill, a role model and a pillar of justice in this world. I drank the Kool Aid and it tastes pretty damn sweet. I believe that this is our time, we are America and if there is any nation on this earth who will answer the call, it is us.

Yes. We. Can.

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes we can.

From the Obama victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On Forgiveness

We only realize our mistakes after the shit hits the fan. Foresight slips away in the spur of the moment and will leave us to wallow in our sorrows. That guilt will hit you like a boxer’s fist to the chest, only you will never fully regain your breath. The instant pang of regret that forces the cold sweat from your pores and the knots in your stomach will cause you to cringe. Realizing that it is too late, that there is nothing you can do, will leave you broken and battered.

Getting up, however, is what will put you back together.

When you look at yourself in the mirror after taking a crushing blow, you don’t see the same person. Admitting fault is so very important but it eats you up inside and in the end it changes nothing. Meg came to me not too long ago and asked me for forgiveness, I told her to fuck off, but I said it out of principle. Look contrary to the way that I might portray myself I am not an asshole, the bad things I write about keep me up at night and cause my nightmares. I don’t derive pleasure out of hurting others and I don’t get off on rubbing their mistakes in their face, even if they weren’t mistakes but premeditated lies.

I have been thinking about it a lot lately and wondering if I am simply the pot calling the kettle black. I made my fair share of mistakes and have told my fair share of lies and got pissed when I wasn’t forgiven for them, as if I was owed. I inflicted so much pain on that woman over three years and she always took me back and forgave me, why am I so self-righteous that I can’t return the favor.

I have no intention on ever taking her back, but I see no point in letting her drown in guilt for the rest of her life. How cruel of me, how hypocritical. We all need forgiveness whether we deserve it or not and I’ll be damned if I am going to go down as the asshole who threw away a friend. You don’t spend that long with someone and then cast them aside that easily. I could do it out of pain and thankfully it has let me put her down and while I do not miss my girlfriend Meg, I certainly miss my friend.

Admitting ones trespasses takes a lot of courage but forgiving means so much more.

Monday, November 03, 2008


What am I doing here?

I got suckered into it with a promise of free dinner, I hadn’t been in a few years and wasn’t keen on the idea. Oh and I was still slightly drunk from the Browns game not more than an hour earlier.

Nothing like going to church drunk.

I stood there and watched the altar boys carry the candles down the aisle, thinking about how that used to be me. I remember how I believed everything I had heard, unquestioning and unwavering. One of them took the book up to the priest so he could read the opening prayer. I remember how he used to smile at me when I did it, such a good wholesome kid.

What am I doing here?

I could feel the guilt washing over me as the first reading began. I tried to listen, maybe even learn something from the Scriptures I used to hold so dear. It was nothing I hadn’t heard before; I just sat there trying to deny the alcohol in my system. I could not keep my head in the building; I just kept seeing flashbacks of myself in that world.

I sat through the rest of mass feeling a mixture of emotions I had not felt since the last time I was in a church. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like or how I got to this point.

The questioning started around the time I got old enough to think for myself. We had a sex education class, Fully Alive as they called it, when we were pretty young and I recall the boys on the playground talking about it. I thought about something the whole week at school until Sunday school finally came and I asked my teacher a question which dropped her jaw.

“How did Mary have Jesus if she was still a virgin?”

The teacher was kind enough to explain it to me, but unkind enough to tell my parents which resulted in some good ol fashioned Catholic discipline. I never forgot how my simple question was squashed underfoot and labeled “misguided,” it only prompted me to question more. It was the beginning of the death of my religion.

When I came home after the first year of college I told my parents that I was no longer attending church with them on Sundays. My mom cried and my dad asked me what the hell had happened to me over the course of one year that made me throw away 19 years of very serious faith. I didn’t have an answer for them then and to this day I still don’t.

My mother has still not forgiven me for that conversation. I was never able to fully justify to them why I left that faith behind, I still can’t justify it to myself. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense; I just have to say something about it. I just find it so difficult that I still believe in their God, just not in the “they” who tell me what to believe and what not to. I don’t need someone to tell me right from wrong and I don’t need someone to hold the threat of hell over my head if I don’t agree with everything they say.

I don’t need that.

I did not, however, forsake everything I learned inside of that building; I carry some of it with me to this day. Things like the golden rule and the Beatitudes. Things like forgiveness and turning the other cheek. Things like love of our fellow man and sacrifice for the greater good. I may not live them perfectly but I try.

At least I haven’t forgotten everything I learned in the one hour intervals I spent inside of a church. Be it good or bad, it is just another facet of the complication that I am today