Tag Archives: borderline personality disorder

I Have Borderline Personality Disorder and I Accept Credit and Debit

“I Have Borderline Personality Disorder and I Accept Credit and Debit.” 9/26/14. Ink. 40×32″.

You could call this piece the second in a series of three, detailing my second “romantic entanglement” in Chicago last year. The caption/title of the piece is (obviously) an acknowledgment of the way I’ve commercialized my “disease.” The text scattered throughout this piece is a pretty good document of that disease. It was all written as the piece was created (between August 15th and September 26th, 2014) and is as follows:

AAAANNNNNDDD – emotional attachment severed in 5… 4… 3… 2… gone.
And I don’t give a fuck about anyone.
Good thing I told Spillane earlier how much this girl likes me – and how (obviously) that means I need to be cutting it off soon. By nonchalantly bailing on our (admittedly) tentative (but – as of an hour ago – confirmed) plans for tonight, she’s given me all the cause I need.
Except I know she’s gonna materialize by my side tomorrow when I’m downtown working on this piece and selling prints.
So we’ll see how the fuck THAT pans out. Or – fuck it – maybe she won’t and maybe we won’t.
Did I mention that I don’t give a fuck? ‘Cause I really wanna stress that point. Does it sound like I’m trying really hard to prove it. If not to you, then to me?
Whatever. (Forever).
If I were feeling mean (and I am), I’d say: “That ‘love letter’ I wrote you is nothing but another product for my inventory. You’re just a couple pages in a chapter in my story. A subplot, a side story, a tangent.”
ON/OFF. ON/OFF. I still keep my feelings wired to a light switch. And I don’t care anymore.

Oh – wait – new day. Don’t care about any of that nonsense yesterday. Switch back on! I’m “in love” again!

Ink requires so much more precision than paint. I’m having a hard time finishing this drawing without my Adderall, which the police took, as evidence, the other night. A little over a year ago, I got out of Tranquil Shores and turned myself in for an outstanding warrant. As I sat in jail, I remember thinking, “This is the last time I’ll ever have to do this.” And now I’m facing charges again. FELONY charges. Felony DRUG charges. For my fucking Adderall. I need to get my shit together for my case. Letters from doctors, counselors, Tranquil Shores – to prove that I’m not some kid abusing this stuff – I just happened to let my prescription lapse (irresponsibly, I know). But that’s hard to do [manage my prescriptions in new cities] without my Adderall. Everything is. Everything is more difficult. And I’m overwhelmed. I can do it. Call a lawyer, call the doctors, get my suit shipped up here from Florida.
It doesn’t sound like much but the anxiety of it all has me almost to panic mode. I want to shut down, block it all out, and just leave the state [of Illinois]. If this had happened in Kansas or Oklahoma, I’d just never go back. But it was on this side of the Illinois line. I hate it. This court doesn’t care about me. The judge, the prosecutors, the system. None of them care. I hate it so much. It’s cold and mean and awful and it makes me wanna give up.
Two Saturdays ago, I got invited to two parties. I invited Nicole to go with me to both. I went to pick her up, anxiety set in, I told her to forget it, and I went out to my car to… I wasn’t sure. She sent a text: “Are you okay? What are you doing?” I was online, researching dope spots in Chicago so I could go cop. I told her ‘cause she’s twenty, might not understand how serious that is, might be naive enough and like me enough to just want to do it with me. But she knew better. She stopped me. Saved me from myself. Not that I didn’t put up a fight. She cried. I felt terrible. It was a mess. But she stuck it out. She really cares. That’s scary. We’re still seeing each other. That’s scary. I’m [this] close to referring to her as my girlfriend. If I were a better person, I’d probably break it off with her and stop getting involved with girls. IT ALWAYS ENDS THE SAME. Or maybe I should quit playing fortune teller, just live life, and let what happens happen.

OUT OF ADDERALL PROBLEMS: Meanwhile, I won’t shower or even get dressed until I have clean socks to put on. But I won’t have that until I go to the laundromat and I can’t go to the laundromat unless I get dressed and I can’t do that until I have clean socks to put on.

We’ve been seeing each other for six weeks. Became “boyfriend/girlfriend-official” last week. I haven’t put it on Facebook because I guess I just figure it won’t last. We got into an argument this morning. I started repeating “idon’tcareidon’tcareidon’tcare,” she goes “and you don’t care about me so FUCK OFF,” and then she hung up. (I think – I did anyway). I think that’s it. I think we’re done now. I talked to my south Florida girl last night. It was great except she sounded high but assured me she wasn’t. She invited me to come stay with her when I go back down there. If she’s clean, that’d be great! She called again this morning, moments after hanging up with my girlfriend. It turns out she is getting high and everything’s a mess.
I’m stuck in Illinois on bail. Mike and I butt heads. I don’t feel secure here. I’m always walking on eggshells. My relationship with Nicole is dicey if not over. I’m ready to get the fuck out and go somewhere new. Sometimes I feel like I’m floating – for what? Is it about art? A career? Or do I do it all for girls, sex, love? Is it for myself – ego, fulfillment, ACTUALIZATION? What am I looking for? What am I after?
Oh – WAIT – SHE JUST TEXTED ME. We’re still cool. (Or cool again). Game on. I feel better, I guess.

Don’t let the fact that I usually sleep indoors fool you. I might be charming but no place feels safe. This is what it means to be really homeless. I’m reinventing homelessness. And I do technically live in a minivan. If you did, your art would have unintentional creases and pressure spots too.

Depression, isolation, giving up…
I started this piece over a month ago. My life was different then. It’s gotten worse. My faith’s been shaken. I’m so sad. It’s cold outside. I don’t wanna kill myself…

The first piece in this series was “Love Letter;” the third is “The Last Unfinished Work.”

Something to Cry About

"Something to Cry About." 6/20/14. Acrylic paint. 4x3'.
“Something to Cry About.” 6/20/14. Acrylic paint. 4×3′.

I just had my four newest large canvas paintings photographed, which means I can finally start adding them to the website. This one was started on June 2nd in Atlanta and finished June 20th in Chicago. I wrote the following statement for it a little over a week ago, on August 11th.


In May, I picked up Chris Spillane. I was grateful to have him and grateful to feel like I was doing something good for another human being (especially one that’s been such a good friend for so long) but having him with me in the first two months wasn’t always easy – being virtually chained to another person 24 hours a day. Especially since – a lot of that time – I felt responsible for him, like a babysitter or a one-man treatment facility. Chasing girls was suddenly totally impractical if not altogether impossible. I couldn’t leave Chris alone so that I could go on a date or hook up with some girl. Sure – he’s an adult and I’m not ultimately responsible for him (or anyone but myself) but I had taken on a responsibility of sorts and didn’t want to fuck it up, especially for something (that felt) as petty as sex.

If I had the kind of self-esteem (which legend holds is) possessed by normal, well-adjusted people, this might not have been a problem. Unfortunately, I need a steady stream of praise, sales, and sex in order to feel okay about myself. I wasn’t fully cognizant of it at the time but I’ve come to terms with it now. I had gone without virtually any episodes or incidents in May but in June, while painting “Something to Cry About,” I was perpetually sinking into dark depressions over the smallest little things. I tried to explain my bad moods to myself – rationalize and justify them – in all sorts of ways but, looking back, it’s not hard to nail down. First, I wasn’t having any luck getting a show booked in Atlanta (mostly because I had adopted a new, staid, respectful (and totally unimpressive and unmemorable) strategy for selling myself to galleries). That would have been okay if I hadn’t also just gone from a hedonistic period of total promiscuity to sudden and absolute abstinence. If I’m not having sex, how am I supposed to have any self-worth?!?

[I have issues].

Hindsight is 20/20 though and, while this was still going on, I tried to figure it out through journaling. A lot of that’s still visible on the canvas but I’m pretty bored by most of it.  Only the last part is really at all interesting to me. Regarding my bad mood and the silent temper tantrum I was throwing: “I just let myself soak in it ‘cause – hey – if I didn’t lose my shit every so often, wouldn’t that call into question the authenticity of my stupid fucking gimmick as an artist? ‘I’m emotionally unstable! Count on it!’

Borderline personality disorder is one of those conditions where the diagnosis is sometimes withheld from the patient himself because knowing the diagnosis can actually be harmful. I think that’s because in can exacerbate “borderline behaviors” insofar as the patient decides he “can’t help it” and acting that way is therefore excusable. I don’t think that I do that but I’ve definitely attempted to excuse myself (especially in relationships) by telling the girl that my emotional instability was “always part of the deal” and that she knew what she was getting into when we first got involved.

I’d like to think that I don’t use my diagnosis as a scapegoat; I always try to do my best in interacting with other people and I always apologize when I fuck up but I probably do allow myself to be somewhat more of an emotional basketcase sometimes than I otherwise might.

When God Gives You Lemonbrains

"When God Gives You Lemonbrains." 1/15/14. Oil pastel. 9x12"
“When God Gives You Lemonbrains.” 1/15/14. Oil pastel. 9×12″

It was early January. I was sitting on the couch at Sun-Ray Cinema, organizing the prints that I had left there for sale. I looked up and saw Tim walking toward me. He stopped, took a step back and looked at the placard for a piece of mine on the wall. “Yeah, I’m gonna take that one,” he told me.

Tim and Shanna (co-owners of Sun-Ray) had given me the opportunity to have my first art show, there in the lobby of their theater. And Shanna had already bought one of my pieces when my exhibit first opened. They’ve been unspeakably supportive of me.  And now Tim wanted to buy another one. Things had been going very well the last few months and as I made my way home that night, I couldn’t help but reflect on how cool it all was. I was actually making my living with my artwork. I was paying my bills and supporting myself with the little therapeutic exercise/activity that I had discovered in the midst of my third (and seven month) inpatient stay of treatment for heroin addiction and borderline personality disorder. I was spinning my mental illness into a career. It seemed totally insane and I couldn’t have been happier about it.

A few days later, I was in southwest Florida so I went in to visit at Tranquil Shores – the facility where all of this started. And I was lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday, which is the night of their outpatient “Art of Recovery” group. These days, I rarely spend less than fifteen hours on a piece and they’re almost always acrylic paint on canvas. When I get back to “group” though, I like to play along, which means starting and finishing a piece within the session and using the materials provided. Besides, those bright yellow and pink oil pastels looked really appealing. (I love colors way more than makes any kind of logical sense).

I’ve been mobile/itinerant as fuck lately, so I’ve had this piece tucked away (in an envelope, in a steamer trunk, in the back of my minivan) for the last two months. I rediscovered it the other day and finally had prints made. It seems like just the right time. As I wrote last night:

As I go to bed on the last night in March, it is with the satisfaction that comes with having met my income goal for the month. And my income goal for next month. And the NEXT month. Things are going well. Here’s to keeping it moving, carrying it forward in April (which I already have fully blocked out in three cities).

I love making art. I love that I’m able to support myself doing it. I’m really, truly happy. I am fulfilled.

 The problems that come along with having a personality disorder (my brain not being the way it should be) used to fuck me up all kinds of ways. These days, it’s a blessing.

I feel like a broken record saying so but I’m so grateful. And I can’t help but think about how remarkably and wildly different a sentiment that is from the way I used to feel about myself.


A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke

I drove past a bridge this morning that was so beautiful that I caught myself actually exclaim, “holy shit,” out loud. If I needed any evidence that I’m not the miserable, cynical little shithead of years past, I think that might be it.

Here’s a painting and a “story.”

"A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke." 2/20/14. Acrylic, spray, and watercolor paints, food coloring, and ink. 36x48".
“A Plume of My Own Cigarette Smoke.” 2/20/14. Acrylic, spray, and watercolor paints, food coloring, and ink. 36×48″.

My first large, expressive painting after I decided to leave my girlfriend, break my lease, buy a van, and devote myself entirely – not only to the creation of art – but to traveling the country, chasing after whatever opportunity may come along and getting serious about building a real life and career as a professional artist.

I’m happy with this painting as “art,” less so insomuch as it’s a personal artifact. The whole thing was fueled by a sense of inadequacy and complimented by anxiety and fear as I wrapped up the loose ends in my personal life and prepared to embark on the new course I had charted for myself. A lot of my art is chaotic and busy but – in this case – I was adding to it and making changes everyday (for more than two weeks!) because I just didn’t feel like it was enough.

There’s a good deal of small print spread around this piece, addressing a veritable shit ton of emotionally-bananas nonsense.  Regarding the large caption (“Sometimes I’ll see a plume of my own cigarette smoke in my peripheral and mistake it for an approaching human; so – NO – I wouldn’t say that I’m all that lonely”):

“I don’t think I’ve felt lonely since I started this. I wrote that shit in my phone a month ago and pulled it out [just now] to show the world how god damn clever I am. It was real when I thought it though but that was before I even broke up with my girlfriend.”

One of the primary objectives from my continuing care treatment plan reviews was always to go out and interact with HUMAN BEINGS more often. The night I wrote this, I went to see some bands play at Rain Dogs but was (of course) set up to sell prints and working on this painting as well. At one point, it was actually in my lap as I painted in a corner. I realized it and scribbled, “I’m out but I’m holding a four-foot canvas. AREN’T I QUIRKY?!?!” (Because I’m still not comfortable simply existing in a crowd. It makes me anxious to be seen when my presence doesn’t have an obvious purpose). Painting, or selling something, gives me one.

Between starting and finishing this painting, I met a girl that I maybe kinda sorta like a little bit. The story of our first two nights together is thoroughly documented in my EPIC POEM, “The Long Con.” On that second night though, when I FOLLOWED HER SIGNAL and made my move (only to be shot down!) I was pretty confused. At the same time, it was a relief to know that I could just hang out with her and not worry about whether I was saying or doing the right things to eventuate our sleeping together that night. After all, did I really even like her? Maybe I just wanted to feel validated by getting her to like me

“It’s sort of a relief, it’s nothing that matters, it’s just insecurity, it doesn’t add up to shit. The day I understand anything at all… whatever. BUT HOW COME I LOOK OVER AND SHE’S SMILING AT ME LIKE THAT? WHAT DOES SHE KNOW THAT I DON’T?”

For the most part, I was able to sort of laugh off what, in that moment, I perceived as rejection. (It helped that a friend had told me she was only interested in girls). Even still, I don’t get all that bold that often. I usually find a way to guarantee that there’s a green light before I put my fragile little ego on the line like I did. The aftershock of the incident had me feeling a little shaky. This was the eve of a much bolder risk; this was the night before I started the next phase of my life. My next scribble said, “I’m leaving tomorrow and scared and on edge and cry and shoot drugs.” While I didn’t actually cry and I definitely didn’t shoot any drugs, that’s the kind of self-pity/doubt that I was slipping in and out of. (Girls are DANGEROUS for me).

I was still struggling to find happiness in my painting. I was trying too hard. When I finally went back to basics and scratched out SOME FUNNY FACES, I had an epiphany: “I am reinvigorated by funny faces. Sometimes I try to expand and grow as an artist. FUCK THAT! Write what you know (my own mental instability); paint what you know (funny faces).” I started to feel better immediately. Not that that stopped me from finding new and exciting ways to fuck up or otherwise complicate my life! Within a day or so, I had cause to add…

“I’m in the middle of a 61-day crystal/herb spiritual healing. I was told that my [ultimate] spiritual goal should be “to be an excellent father” even though I said I didn’t think I wanna have kids [‘cause I’m too self-absorbed / preoccupied to ever be a decent father]. Long story short, cumming on her face tonight seemed too IMPERSONAL so – between the two things – I decided to make her the first girl I’ve ever intentionally cum inside of. She wasn’t mad but I’m OUT OF MY MIND. (Her too).”

So now I was mixed up and sleeping with four girls but only excited about one of them and – in moments – questioning even the authenticity of my feelings for her. BECAUSE I DON’T UNDERSTAND MY OWN BRAIN SOMETIMES. And I definitely have trouble trusting my feelings. AND I’M EMOTIONALLY FICKLE! As I concluded with my in-painting journal:

“I keep trying to get girls to fall in love with me AND IT KEEPS WORKING. And then I sort of lose interest and feel like an asshole. It’s not like I’m fully planning it that way but it keeps happening and I should probably know better by now. MAYBE I FINALLY DO??”

 I stopped and seriously considered it. “Am I done? Do I finally get it? Am I ready to stop fucking around and validating myself by (as I love to put it) tricking girls into thinking I’m worthwhile?”

“J/K LOL,” I added, and my painting was finished.

Raygun Youth

"Raygun Youth." 8/3/13. Acrylic paint and ink on wood panel. 24x6".
“Raygun Youth.” 8/3/13. Acrylic paint and ink on wood panel. 24×6″.

I painted this for the cover of Billy Raygun’s posthumous discographic cassette. Each of the three bits of text is a lyric from a song of theirs that means something to me.

I thought I heard you calling; it was just the emptiness ringing in my head. I still think about you a lot. I still think about you a lot. I still think about you a lot.

In April 2011, my six-year relationship with Taylor came to a close. She broke up with me. I didn’t take it well. I had been pretty strung out on heroin, in a pretty bad way, for a little while but had just gotten into my first “treatment program” a few days prior (it was just methadone maintenance – not exactly the best path to wellness but what did I know?) On top of that, final exams for my final semester at Georgetown Law were about to begin and I hadn’t been to any of my classes all year. I didn’t even own the textbooks. I had a lot of studying to do if I was gonna graduate on time and I knew god damn well that if I didn’t graduate now that it was never gonna happen. I needed to keep it together (get it together) real, real fast if I was gonna keep everything in my life from crumbling into absolute shit, misery, and failure. Between the methadone, the heroin, the Adderall, and the sleep deprivation that goes along with studying in 24-hour shifts, I was … not entirely well. For a while there, I started to experience regular auditory hallucinations. Mostly, it was people (strangers) screaming at each other. It was like channel surfing on a TV where every single show featured nothing but loud, angry people. Occasionally though, I’d get a break in that and hear something softer and sweeter: “Sam…” It was a voice I knew; it was Taylor’s voice. Every single time, I’d turn around without fail, hoping (and actually believing) that this time she’d actually be standing there. She never was (of course) but it still broke my heart a little bit every time. It was a miserable cycle of studying, drugs, and crying.

All of this care / not caring is killing me.

This lyric isn’t tied into any one specific memory as much as it serves as an all-encompassing description of my relationships (romantic and otherwise) throughout my life. Oscillating frantically back and forth between giving a shit and shutting down. Between feeling loved and feeling abandoned and rejected. Sometimes it seems like my emotions are wired to a light switch. It doesn’t take a lot to flip from “perfect” love to total apathy (or even hatred). And since “we’re attracted to those at our same level of sickness/health,” I’ve gotten mixed up with plenty of girls who are equally skilled at unintentional (often drug-fueled) emotional back-and-forth. There was one night in early 2012 when my then-girlfriend professed her deep, unending, profound love for me in one moment, and was swearing that I was a disgusting, ugly, unlovable piece of shit in the next. And before the hour was up, she was right back to telling me how wonderful I was. Experiences like that can fuck with a person…

I’ll just admit that it’s a different girl, the same old story.

When I half-heartedly tried to kill myself in December 2012, I didn’t write a suicide note, but I did scribble something down on the back of one of many scraps of paper that were laying around my room. All that it said: “different girl / same old story.


Ideally, I’d have held on to sharing this until this release was announced but – shit – it’s been more than six months since I painted it so… sorry, kids!

Here’s a stream of their self-titled full-length. The first song is the first song I quoted lyrics from.

Little Sam (Little Devil)

On the drive back to Jacksonville tonight, I wrote in my journal. At one point in the process, I felt like I’d had a major breakthrough. Now – just a couple hours later – I’m not so sure. In either case, I think it’s worth sharing. And (above all) what matters is that I was feeling tremendous anxiety when I started and (at least a semblance of) peace when I was done.


Journal: Christmas 2013

The last time I made a playlist was July. The music I like gives most people anxiety but it’s an extremely rare occasion when it has that effect on me. But I’m feeling way too fragile right now to risk hearing anything that I’m not totally prepared for. I need really to be comforted right now and I’m counting on this music to do it.

We just hit the part of the highway with no lights. I’m writing in total darkness now.

Heather’s so sweet. I know she never intends to do me any harm. That’s why it’s hard to leave her. I don’t know if I understand love so – sadly – it has to be a practical consideration.

I know I can’t ever be alone. I fall in “love” way too fast. So if I’m gonna be with someone, it should (probably?) be her…

She’s not great at making me feel loved, which is something I desperately need. But maybe that sort of thing goes both ways. Maybe a girl that was better at making me feel loved would also be great at hurting me if/when she wanted to. Fuck. I can be (or am) such a fragile fucking baby.

I met this girl in November. She took in the whole story behind Autobiography and pointed at the girl in it. “That’s your mom,” she said.

I didn’t like that. I’m pretty sure my disgust registered on my face before I could even think to mask it. With a smile, I responded: “I reject that. I don’t agree at all.” I had just met this girl. What the fuck?

“That’s fine,” she said. “You can reject it. But it’s still true.”
When I shot down her interpretation, I meant what I said. But – of course – she’s fucking right. As much as it’s killed me to realize that and as much as I hate to admit it.

When my mom used to constantly badger me about how much I hated her, I’d tell her I loved her and ask her to stop. I really didn’t hate her. But I kind of do now.

It’s one thing to have an intellectual understanding that your parents did their best – and to use that to “forgive” them. It’s another thing to really make sense of everything emotionally, connect all the dots, and really get a grip on it. ‘Cause when you realize now that I’ve realized that it’s not about the individual incidents of especially fucked up shit that she did, it’s about the life-threatening defects ingrained into my every fiber that she cut in and fucking cultivated for years… It’s about the fact that every time I feel rejected by Heather in the slightest, I wanna run away from home all over again.

I told Heather again yesterday that she hadn’t done anything wrong – we’re just not a good match because she doesn’t have the kind of affectionate personality that I need to feel loved. She responded that she loves me 500% and didn’t I know that? I told her that I had that information in my brain but that I don’t often feel it. Shit – how could I?

No one’s ever gonna be able to do anything that’ll make me feel loved all the time. Just as my art (which is really just the maintenance of my (relative) sanity) is a full-time job, another person couldn’t possibly give me what I need unless that was their full-time job too. Or – more accurately – were on call 24/7. ‘Cause a lot of the time I need to be left alone to “work” (paint, write, or do various backend business-of-art or website kinds of tasks). But the second I need love, if [insert the name of any girl I’ve ever been with here] can’t deliver exactly to my specifications in that instant… well, then IT’S NOT WORKING AND WE’RE JUST NOT RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.

So – contrary to my understanding up ’til this moment – this is on me more than it’s on Heather and it’s not some incurable defect that she needs to be solely responsible for maintaining an awareness of and behaving accordingly (because she “signed up for it” by getting involved with someone who’s so openly an emotional basketcase). I need to step back in these moments and remind myself of these things of which I need to be reminded. Still, if she’s my partner, she does need to be “in it” with me and make a little more of an effort to actually express that love she says she has for me. She can be pretty cold. And in some of those moments, there’s not gonna be anything I can do to not feel unattractive, unloved, and unwanted. Worthless, and undeserving of love. This new understanding of myself won’t always be enough. Sometimes feelings are more important than facts.

This is a real breakthrough for me. Right now, in this moment. It’s not the only one from the last 48 hours though.

Driving to Manatee from Jacksonville, we had another of our four hour drives without speaking. Not in as hostile a way, but things were tense so I kept busy as she drove and, when I took the wheel, she slept. Then, when we got to the Owens, I went in alone without a goodbye. (We both just looked at each other, waiting for the other to initiate it, as I collected my things from the backseat). Then she went to her parents’. I did my thing with the Owens and with my friends in Sarasota and we didn’t see each other for two days. We didn’t spend the holiday (which means nothing to me but something to her) together. The few texts we exchanged were not especially productive.

I opened up to some friends yesterday and acknowledged that a lot of the problem – what I felt – was sexual rejection. I’ll decide in an instant, at anytime, that I want to fool around, make some gesture toward that, she’ll shoot me down for whatever reason, and I’ll feel like shit. In her defense, I know where and when she will/would be in the right frame of mind for that and I rarely act on it because it’s when I’ll usually be busy working. Our schedules are wildly different and I need to work on compromising mine more, seeing as hers is handed down from a company and mind can be whatever the fuck I want it to be. It sucks but I feel constantly burdened with a need to be productive and I’m rarely willing to set aside and stop working because I’m terrified that I won’t be able to get back on course fast enough once I’m free to pick back up.

“It’s harder to be yourself than it is to be anybody else.” My problems are so petty, small, and (really) within the bounds of my control. Still, they’re monumental monster motherfuckers and THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WITH WHICH ANY HUMAN BEING HAS EVER BEEN FACED. I say that jokingly but it’s equally true and false. It’s real and it’s a struggle that won’t ever end. It’ll only morph and evolve. As I do…

I got away from myself and the other “breakthrough” to which I alluded. I was talking to some friends about this stuff yesterday and the response I got went from “you gotta end it (for your own sake)” to “you gotta end it (for her sake).” At one point in the conversation, the feedback I was getting, the direction that the conversation had taken, and the things coming out of my own mouth had me feeling like the most sociopathic, seriously damaged, selfish mental case on the planet. I felt like a calculating monster with an impressively evil skill-set, who was so distinct from normal people that he didn’t even have the slightest idea or awareness of what he was doing or the full implications of his decisions and behavior. I felt sicker than I’ve ever felt – like I could be some murderer, smiling at the cameras.

I probably could be. I just remembered – I had been thinking about conscience just earlier in the day. Some friend of Clifford’s murdered his girlfriend and then turned himself in. What a sap, I thought, when Mclane told me about it. What a weak human being.

I considered it further: I would never do that. You buckle down and live with the secret. No good comes from that confession; just move forward, asshole.

Well – not really. He needed to be caught; I mean, he’s clearly dangerous. But if I killed someone, I should just move forward… Learn from my mistake and accept that the consequence for my actions is having another fascinating story that I can’t ever share with the world.



So… that’s what I wrote as we made our way back to Jacksonville tonight. I probably started around 9pm and put the pen down a little after 10…

I looked in my other notebook at the pieces I have left to add to the website and – given everything I wrote about tonight – one of them jumped off the page and struck me as being a perfect fit.

(Relatively) early in my stay at Tranquil Shores, we got an assignment, in art therapy group – to make a figure of our “inner-child.” Like most of my inner-child stuff, I focused on myself at age four.

"Little Sam (Little Devil)." 11/7/12. Tin foil, masking tape, felt, marker, glue. 4" (tall).
“Little Sam (Little Devil).” 11/7/12. Tin foil, masking tape, felt, marker, glue. 4″ (tall).

This thing isn’t totally devoid of substantive meaning but – obviously – this wasn’t an especially probing assignment. It was mostly fun though and I felt pretty pleased with myself when I finished it.


  • When I typed up my journal entry, I linked to a few entries which struck me as relevant.
  • After I journaled, I felt well enough to skip around and listen to songs that would have made me nervous earlier in the night. One of them was “Debt” by Pipsqueak, the acoustic band which was initially just the kid that sang in Snuggle (and – more recently – Murmurs) but now has a second member, playing cello and also singing. It was great before and it’s great now.


The first time I ever decided to make art for its own sake, the results were… mixed. It was more than a year ago and at no point has it grown on me…

"Efhurt." 10/26/12. Watercolor. 8½x11".
“Efhurt.” 10/26/12. Watercolor. 8½x11″.

Maybe that’s for the best though – that I dislike it so much. Maybe it’s good for me to have to accept that the one piece of art that I can’t ignore – that I can’t leave out of my story – is one of which I’m totally embarrassed.

It’s (very seriously) insane just how much something like acknowledging that this painting exists can fuck with my emotional well-being. Sitting here typing this, I don’t … – I don’t want to type it. I hate it. But I’m doing it anyway. As imperfect as all of this is – it’s a good exercise in humility. I’m not perfect, my website isn’t perfect, my stories and artwork are not all uniformly fascinating. Sometimes I’m just okay.

Okay’s not so bad, I guess.


If you’d like to buy this painting, I would love to get it out of my home. Hit me up. (And remember: it’s got historical value).

Note: historical value < all other kinds of value