It’s Happening Again

It’s happening again. It’s happening again. IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN.

I am twenty-seven years old and after retracing old steps today, I realized that I have not progressed, matured, or moved on from anything that has ever happened to me.

I am five years old and alone in my neighbor’s backyard. I am surrounded by green trees and tangerines. I speak to the coy fish and my imagination leads me to the fear of Santa Claus, spiders, and sunny days.

I am still twelve, crying and alone in the school bathroom, upset that no one asked me to be in their picture. I have no friends and I spend gloomy June afternoons waiting for school to be over so I can daydream while the summer burns alive outside.

I am still fourteen, crying and surrounded by over-sexualized philistines who see me as weak, as the enemy. I run off only making things worse and wishing I were dead.

I am still seventeen, crying and sick on the phone with the boy who broke my heart. He’s trying to convince me he made the right decision, trying to convince himself he isn’t what he really is, trying to—bringing me over burritos and memories that were already dead.

I am still twenty-one, crying and screaming at my mother, threatening to jump out of the window. Words are flying out of my mouth, but they aren’t making any sense. I am pacing down the street, looking for a familiar vehicle, looking for sanity, looking for a reason not to end it all like Ben did.

I am still twenty-five, crying and mentally alone while a body sits inches from me, sitting silently and making the pain last far longer than it ever should have. The ideas run deeper this time: oven, pills, razors, overpass. I cannot stop.

I am twenty-seven, lethargic and alone, surrounded by sunny walls and cloudy thoughts. I keep returning to the same dark place. Different people pass through one door, two doors, but then you enter. You stay quiet to allow my jittery fingers to release their fears. You give me a kiss and ask if I’m all right. You tell me I’m beautiful. I take a deep breath and even though tense lips and the black wave returns, at least I was able to float on the surface for a moment.

Stacey Renberg

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Beach Bums

Let’s go to the Maldives. We can get a hut. It’ll be one of those huts surrounded by water on three sides with a long bamboo dock to lead us back to land when we’re ready. We can relax. You’ll finally be able to breathe and sleep. I will be tan, thin, and happy. You’ll sing me lullabies and we’ll eat fresh mangoes as the sun sets and the ocean waves us into slumber.

Stacey Renberg

Happiness vs. Comfort

Happiness comes in fits and spells. Happiness is like a wave, it crests and then it falls, smashing to pieces and mixing with everything that lies below it. It becomes one small piece in an ocean of weight. Weight built on rage and joy and sadness and melancholy. Hate and joy. And life has plenty of both. Sometimes I feel like I could and should tear the world apart with hate and joy. Sometimes I feel like that’s all that lies on the edges of everything I know. Just hate and joy, and when the mania soaks the tissue of my brain they lay there in bed together, and ask me to smash holes in windows. To smash holes to escape, to escape out into the world out there or to escape, because I can’t feel the pain in my heart when there’s blood on my hands and my knuckles throb in pain. Then I can’t feel the indescribable, indefinable pain that’s been laid down by years and years of weight, the load, the straps ripping into my shoulders under the weight.

Happiness is a constant and moving destination, it is not definable and you can never rest in it’s comfort forever. For comfort is not happiness, comfort is comfort. You could tear yourself to pieces always looking for happiness, always searching, always picking up and moving, always chasing an always moving thing. So you must ask yourself, at some point in life, what it is you want? Happiness? Or Comfort? And will you have the will and courage to be faithful, like lovers, no longer searching, no longer seeking that which does not exist, but resting in the comfort of a voice in your ear when they put you in the ground?

Will you have the courage to lie in bed with the other, happiness or comfort and ignore all of the possibilities that lie on the other’s shore? Will you let your choice whisper into your ear until you’ve given yourself up to sleep, finally alone in freedom, or burdened by comfort?

-Chad Foltz

Silver God & Black Emperor

It’s always shit and piss and blood with you, sir. Can’t you, can’t we, just take a break and imagine the vast rock enclosing us? We should be lifting our fists to heaven, but instead we’re lifting them to each other while grasping bottles, cancer, and over priced steak that is seasoned to bloody perfection.

And yes, it’s a game. We enjoy the dirt and the naughty thoughts, but there has got to be more. Life should be an endless fucking pursuit for that infinite moment. You know! That moment Charlie talks about while riding in the middle of a pickup truck? That moment where oblivion and clarity come together to create the sublime.

And the sublime, shit. I know its horrific and yes, I know its terrifying, but if we didn’t have the world’s mountains and oceans and tall, tall skyscrapers, we would never know just how insignificant, yet significant, we really are.

So listen to Charlie, and hell, listen to Largeman and search the abyss. Explore, fall, and swim for as long as you can because you never know when the darkness might strike you like those matches you always seem to be burning.

Stacey Renberg

The Good That Won’t Come Out

I don’t mean to be selfish. I find it so funny to even be writing this. I suppose that somewhere in between time and space we all arrive to this point and realize the obvious and accept it. But, it’s different this time. It finally is. Breathing has become harder, presumably, yet I have found the good in suffocating a little bit. And not in a malicious kind of way, but in a way that makes the heavy moments worth it, tolerable even.

“The lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap.”
(Yes, thank you, Jenny. We know. I know.)

And so I’m beginning to swim in the soup and every fucking cliché line is jumping out and splashing me. The present is becoming more of a factor and I feel as if I’m falling in love all over again with the thought of it all. I’m seeping freedom and clarity that the ability to experience it all is sometimes too much to endure. But I fight. I jump out and splash right back.

I’m utterly ecstatic at the chance to live. I need to stop hiding.

Stacey Renberg

Toys

It’s the lime green and sky blue that sends me to the dream world whenever I walk up the stairs. I imagine entering the room and seeing nothing but vast grassy hills and fluffy clouds forever. There is no sound just a light breeze flowing in through the space where there is no window, but a square cut out of the wall, rough edges and paint peeling. There is something red but it’s unclear, just an inanimate object, maybe a wooden chair. The room is empty as I stand and place my hands on the windowsill. I desire to jump, to plummet into the tall skinny plants, to feel that goddamn breeze on my face, on my skin. I can breathe. I am relaxed. I am calm.

For reasons unknown, this vision, this dream world, takes me back to my childhood, yet my memory is altered and changed. My surroundings are unfamiliar and my acquaintances peculiar. The Robin Williams movie, Toys, is the only visual example I can compare it to. One day I will find that dream world and roll in the grass for hours. I will eat vitamin sandwiches and become a real life paper doll. I will learn stealthy techniques from L. L. Cool J and I will dance in the snow to Christmas music. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? I can still remember the infinite sky, the awkwardness of being a kid and the yearning to be alone to dream about the future. Some things never change.

Stacey Renberg

Remember Me

I think, too often, of how I wish to be remembered. I want, first, to be remembered in scent seeing that it’s so closely tied to memory. I want a scent of lavender & roses to cause people to take pause & think of me. In that way I’ll be remembered as a summer’s day. I want certain songs to dance across my friend’s eardrums as they think how I used to hum along to such songs. It’s harder for me to think of the lasting impression I will make; the impression those who never met me will have when my name comes up in stories. I want to be remembered as a source of light, that hazy golden time of day that washes troubles away. I want to be remembered as someone unique, a creator of my own realms of reality. I want to be remembered as strong, slaying demons with my words & encouraging others to do the same. I want to be remembered as a hurricane, a force to be reckoned with. Above all I want the sound of my name to cause a warming comfort in those who hear it.

-kc.