The Constant Theme

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By Joshua Blake

Life’s weird. Lately I’ve been reminiscing on mine by looking back on all of the notebooks and journals I’ve written in. Like any song you listen to, a story unfolds and a narrative appears. I believe the same to be true about life.

So, what about mine?

I started by going back to where it all began for me: writing poetry in an old notebook from when I was in high-school. I was 16 or 17 at the time, and I initially thought that this poetry thing wouldn’t last long. Two-hundred-to-four-hundred poems and a decade later, here I am.

I’ve kept all of the 7-10 books I’ve written in as a way to remind myself of where I once was, and in some ways, where I still am today. If I could condense everything I’ve written down for the chorus in a song, it’d have to be something uplifting, with a touch of doubt. Maybe something like “I always knew I’d be able to get by, but it wouldn’t happen until I passed through time.”

The current journal I’m writing in has been through a longer lifespan than any other I’ve had – about four-and-a-half years. But the last poem I’ve written in my current book from January 31, 2019, really sets the tone of what my writing is all about: Fear of my past and of my future.

“I don’t know where to look,

Or where I should go.

But I’m always pulling you in tow,

Like an arrow fired from a bow.”

[Excerpt from “Now What?”]

The very first poem I wrote called “False Assumptions,” lives somewhere, but the page I wrote it on in my original book of poems has been lost to time. I put it in a word document years ago on an old laptop, but the point is that title is, to this day, something I think of whenever my anxiety or depression flares.

However bad a situation seems, it never turns out how I think it does in my head.

Moving forward, I’m going to break down the last decade of my writings, in an attempt to see how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, and what I can learn further on my journey through life.

The Formative Years: 2010-2012

My beginning poems centered around love. What it meant to love, how I would ever be loved, and if I would ever allow myself to be loved. But then something changed.

Despair and agony flooded my mind, and I wrestled with these emotions until I wrote about them on March 12, 2011.

“Reoccurring events running through my mind.

I feel as if I’ve traveled back through time.

Who can I trust either than myself?

I don’t want to be stuck by myself.

Fear now runs through my veins.

There’s nothing I can do to stop these pains.

Reoccurring thoughts are coming back.

Reoccurring thoughts make me see black.”

[Excerpt from “Reoccurring Emotions”]


“I regretfully give in to your gesture,

And all I see is that familiar texture.

Are you here to tell me otherwise?

What answers are hiding behind your deceiving eyes?

Can you guide me to my salvation,

Or will you send me to my damnation?

You are the only one I truthfully hate,

Hence your ability to control my fate!”

[Excerpt from “The Eternal Story” October 10, 2012, 2:14 a.m.]

This was the catalyst for my transition into journal-ing about my woes as well. I continued to write dozens upon dozens of poems throughout that year, while also expanding on these thoughts more and more in depth.

 

January 19, 2012, 12:50 a.m.

“Whenever I have any sort of downtime, it plays as my enemy. I believe I am – and always have been – wondering about my future. Where I will be, who will be in my life (if anyone) and when will I get what I’ve always wanted.

I’ve lost my identity. I don’t know who I am anymore. Mental illness? Insanity or helplessness?”

The Broken Times: Dec. 2012-Nov. 2014

Possibly the darkest times I’ve ever been through emotionally and mentally, and it all came to a head in early December of 2013. After years of believing Love was a road I’d never travel down, I knew I was at a breaking point.

December 7, 3:07 a.m.

“I am in a very dark place yet again. I’m not enjoying this cell – it’s killing me – and I’ve put myself in, while throwing away the key.”

Ironically, my only salvation during this period of my life came from writing music with my grandmother – a force like no other, with a voice that could carry for thousands of miles.

The first song we ever wrote happened in June of 2014

“Seeking Serenity”

“I’m stuck in this free fall

Patiently waiting until I stall

It’s getting lonely up here

My only friend is fear.

Serenity, serenity

My greatest enemy.”

October of 2014 was another low point, however…

On the 11th, I wrote “Far From Never.”

“I’m going back to that time and place/ The one that gave my heart such disgrace…If I’m beat enough, maybe I’ll listen/ And your gentle face will start to glisten…I need this now more than ever/ Even if love is far from never.”

On the 18th, I wrote “Everything.”

“Everything feels so broken/ My heart beats, even though it’s frozen…Everything is crashing down/ My head hears awful sound…Everything hurts when I think of you/ My eyes cry at things past due.”

On the 27th, I wrote “Tunnel Vision.”

“Tunnel vision stuck on her/ My thoughts never could deter…Life seems so out of sight/ When will things start to go right?”

The Current Era: Nov. 2015 –

The difference a year makes is extraordinarily underappreciated. In October of 2014, I was a mess. In October of 2015, I met my now fiancee and we’ve been engaged since 2018.

Still, that doesn’t mean my past doesn’t come back to haunt me every now and again.

Four years after I wrote “Everything,” I wrote “Stuck In Between,” on Oct. 18, 2018. Looking at it now, it feels like a successor of sorts.

“Stuck in between something I can’t explain/ Like something in the middle of pleasure and pain…Stuck in between something that I can’t name/ It doesn’t feel real, like I’m playing some kind of game…Feel as though I’m forever maimed/ As if I’ll always live with this pain.”

 

“Inside Out/Outside In” Sep. 27, 2019

“It’s like I’m cold, but on the inside/ Like pins and needles all over my mind…It’s like I’m hot, but on the outside/ Like I can’t outrun what’s been left behind…Shaking inside out and outside in/ I’m not even sure where to begin.”

“Now What?” Jan. 31, 2019

“I don’t know where to look/ Or where I should go…But I’m always pulling you in tow/ Like an arrow fired from a bow.”

“Sleep-talking” Jan. 21, 2020

“Sleep-talking but you’re silent/ Oh you’re so violent/ Starring right through me/ Not letting me be…Sleep-talking but you’re silent/ No longer one of your clients/ I’m lookin’ right past you/ As my memory forever haunts you.”

Going Forward?

As a way to end this little trip back through time, I wanted to end on a entry I wrote nearly a decade ago and a lyric from a song I wrote nearly six years ago.

Oct. 8, 2011

“After I fill the last page of this book, I wonder if I shall have the wisdom on how to move forward – both emotionally and physically…There’s still some holes to be filled, and I’m trying to find the shovel to fill them.”

2014

“Know Me Now.”

“So afraid of where I’ll be/ Cryin’ for you to set me free…Heart beat is out of tune/ Racin’ straight towards my doom. Keep repeating the same old story/ Hoping to find my fame and glory…Will you find me soon someday/ So my mind can break away.

I remember when we met/ You came to me with a bet…Do you really know me now/ If so, show me how.”

 

 

 

Hi! Care To Read? No? Okay!

By Joshua Blake

The by-line should probably read “By Who Cares” but, who’s keeping score? You? Oh, you weren’t? Good.

Anyhow, WordPress notified me a few days ago — actually, more like a week — to say that it was my blog’s three-year-anniversary.

That’s it, really. I don’t know what else to say about that.

I mean, sure, I could go on about all of the fond memories I’ve had (none) and what my blog means to me, but that’s just superficial.

If anything, this — writing — is cathartic to me. It helps keep me sane, I think.

This isn’t the time for reflection, nor is it the time for me to go on this tirade of self-righteousness and doubt in regards to my abilities as a writer — which I feel are decent at best.

I can already hear people saying “No, you’re really good!” or my girlfriend saying “Shut the fuck up, you’re really good,” or some other variation of the two.

I just don’t see it.

Some think I’m good because they can’t “do what I do,” or write down their thoughts that convey emotion in others. But, the joke’s on them, because I don’t think I do that well, either.

Well, that’s bullshit, honestly. I do think I can convey emotion in my writing, but, which ones?

What you read (or don’t read) before you as far as my feelings about my own writing goes, is about a sixth of how I look towards myself on any given day.

It’s not boredom. It’s not laziness. It’s loneliness.

Loneliness within myself, from myself, outside of myself.

Everyday I try and find out what it means to be me, what it is that I am, and what it is that I’ll be.

But, that’s just it. I’m not supposed to know. Those answers are different on any given day.

Some days, I’m meant to be a student, a brother, a friend, a son, a boyfriend, a journalist. Other days, I am those things, all of them.

But in terms of what I’ll be, what we become? My alter-ego? I haven’t got a fucking clue. Oh, right, I am someone who worries about this constantly, too.

And why do I? Why do I have these corrosive thoughts that plague my mind like a virus on your  computer that you can’t delete?

Is it really normal to feel this way? Like a twister of emotions swirling in your head? The emotions that keep you up at night, but you do nothing about?

My therapist calls this “free-floating anxiety,” which made me smirk the moment he mentioned the term, because, he’s right.

My thoughts and emotions are like oil floating above water while it manages to seep down poisoning everything it touches.

I ponder things that happened five, six, or seven years ago, make up bewildering scenarios in my mind — sometimes tragic ones — that never see the light of day, all for what?

Because I’m not satisfied? Because I’m trying to recover from an illness that’s years past? From a sexual assault that’s years past? Are those the reasons why? Because I still feel sick in the head, sometimes wishing I’d be sick again so I’d have to fight for myself?

Or, is it so I’d have a distraction from my self-torturous thoughts?

Now, do you see my problem? If there’s one thing I can do with my writing, it’s conveying how I think and what I’m feeling.

I can’t do that with spoken word. That scares me too much.

When I’m around those I love, I feel as safe as I can possibly be, but it’s still hard to say things to the people who say “you can tell us anything.”

It’s too easy, which is why it’s so hard.

I Have No Idea What To Name This

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By Joshua Blake

Something about this photograph is hypnotic to me. Therapeutic. Distracting.

I have no idea what to name this.

Something about where I was sitting made for – what I thought to be – the perfect shot.

I have no idea what to name this.

Something about the very words you’re reading make no sense to me.

I have no idea what to name this.

Is this what I’m supposed to feel like when I’m lost in a sea of toxic thoughts? Thoughts that never seem to leave my mind no matter the happiness I experience on any given day? Is it my own insanity?

Sure I have good days – great ones even – but they’re only temporary – like most things.

I know I’ll be okay, I know I will. It’s like I’m staring at a transparent mirror, seeing everything that’s meant to be on the other side, and all I’ve to do is walk on through.

So then, why don’t I?

Am I afraid to fail? To succeed? Maybe I’m just bored. Maybe it’s cacophony.

Perhaps it’s nothing like the times before. Perhaps it’s Satan knocking at my door.

I attempt to sleep. But then I’ll just stare; blankly into the quiet and ghostly air.

If there’s such thing as regression, then what’s the opposite of depression?

Maybe I need a reboot to find a new session.

Maybe then I’ll finally learn my lesson.

There’s no point to this confession.

Will I Catch A Break?

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August, 2013

August 3rd, 7:45 p.m.

I’m writing early tonight (I may write twice) and today is the start of my vacation with friends. Still, I choose to sit here and write. I think about why, and I forget. I’m searching for something – as always – or is it more? Perhaps I’m searching for desperation. Perhaps I’m desperately searching.Sometimes I believe this journal is someone else’s story – then I think it’s mine.

August 6th, 8:27 p.m.
It’s my third night up at Lake George. I’ve four more to go…
While in town today, I bought yet a fourth poster as well as two new rings. My friends are crazy, but they keep me humble – including sane.

August 7th, 7:16 p.m.
“Are you ready?” she asked as I looked at a face I didn’t think I could love. I laughed a bit. “Yeah, of course…” She stared back into my longing eyes. I caught her stare of dark chocolate – it intoxicated me.
“I’ve wanted this so long,” I thought. “You’ve found me.” Her stare grew nearer, as we eventually engaged in a passion I could only dream of. After releasing my lip from hers, she stared at me again.
“I’ll do whatever you wish,” she told me. We took one another’s breath away. I felt loved, and she was happy.
Her image faded.
8:23 p.m.
I have become irritated with my dreams to an extent that I cannot put into words.
I still imagine last night’s dream as explicitly real – one full of lust, passion, and need. However, my mind tricks my hurtful soul yet again. I can’t help but shake the fact that I have repressed my feelings for so long that I am depressed.
I bring up that last word often. The more I write it, the more I think it – the more I believe it.

August 9th, 2013, 10:56 p.m.
It’s my last night up here at Lake George. This week has been filled with crazy, funny, and insane moments.
I can’t wait to see my family tomorrow. I’ve missed them a lot. If this trip has taught me anything, it’s that I sometimes take for granted what I have. It’s nice to just socialize with friends, or walk around town and find neat things to look at or buy.

If anything, I’ve learned about myself more on this week away from home. I think too much, thus, causing me to over-analyze situations I create in my mind. I may not be depressed – as Alex said – but I may be overlooking an important issue.

Perhaps the issue is a multi-faceted one. I won’t be “normal,” but nobody is. “Normal” is set by society. I won’t find anyone, but who said I was looking? Not me, however, I know I want to. Why? Because last night I cried about the fact that I want someone so badly that I believe it won’t happen. Why? Because I fail to try.

Either way, I replay that dream I had two nights ago in my head. I still remember every detail. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t real. Then again, maybe it wasn’t supposed to be.
It’s just sad that I have dreams of love – believing it’s happening – then awakening in pain and agony. My mind is attempting to tell me what I want. How much longer will I ignore my possible wants – and possible needs?

Anyone can dream, and so can I. But how much longer will my dreams haunt me? I must act on my dreams in order to get what I want. I want intamcy and love. However, those two words scare me.
If my parents read that last paragraph, I’m sure they’d ask me why I fear love and intmacy. I’d tell them why, but am I to blame? Perhaps I am, perhaps I’m not. I’ve gotten my break out of this vacation, but was it the break I needed?

New Year, Same Problems

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January, 2013

January 10th, 2:03 a.m.

Now I am back to contradicting thoughts. Oh why?! Perhaps lack of sleep or my medication – or both.

I have had this urge to not sleep the last few days; possibly the last week. It’s almost as if I’m waiting for something to happen and I don’t want to miss it.

Perhaps tomorrow I can end this nightmare of unrest. If so, will I be less anxious and find what I’m waiting for? What am I waiting for? Time shall tell…

 

January 20th, 12:56 a.m.

I have not penned a thought in ten days. I cringe at this in my mind. It is not of my nature to so. However, it could be a result of glee. I am in a stable state mentally – for the moment – and nothing is pestering me directly. Although, the noises outside of my window are interrupting my thoughts – or at least they were.

I haven’t forgotten my goal once I return to school: find someone who I shall have the privilege to call my own. I’m back to my old self – I’m just wiser.

January 29th, 1:10 a.m.

I don’t seem to sleep well anymore. Of course this is my own doing, however, I wonder why. Sometimes I feel like I focus at the wrong thing at the wrong time, or is it the right thing at the wrong time? What am I getting at with that analogy?

Perhaps it is whenever I don’t believe I want something is when I need it, and when I know what I seek I only put my energy into what I seek and nothing more. Perhaps I am waiting for balance to restore my lost story.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I could escape from reality and enter my own world. That is, the world of a troubled soul who is scared and seeks guidance. Then again I wonder if that is even true. What is in my unique mind is my world. Although can I make my world my reality?

In my world I can do whatever I wish, so why does my reality attempt to prevent me from living in my world? Perhaps I am trying to learn of this balancing act through my dreams.

Where Am I Going?

By Joshua Blake

I worry about my future. I’m not sure where I’m going in life. I obsess over this thought – but it makes me excited at the same time.

Earlier this afternoon I was talking with my father about Lorde. “Royals” was playing in the car, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the lyrics. “What’s this song about?” I said. “It’s about the music industry, and how everyone in it sings about the excess of it,” he replied

My father went on to say that Lorde isn’t joining that crowd. She’s not all about the excess – she’s about the art. Although, he made a good point: Lorde foresaw her own fame in “Royals.”

” You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy,” says Lorde. If that isn’t intuition, I don’t know what is. My dad equated her lyrical talent to my writing. I was taken back, but I smiled at the compliment.

“I see it in your writing, too, and your songs,” my dad said. “In person you act young, but you become a different person in your writing – you sound so mature.” He can’t believe that it’s the same person penning the words in articles or songs.

I can’t believe it either, and maybe that’s a good thing. “It was a pleasure to meet you,” my professor told me today during my last class of the semester. Of all of the insightful things he said during the course, that phrase struck me in awe.

“Maybe I am destined to do this,” I thought. Although I just realized that I already am – I am a writer and I always will be.