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The Poor Bastard, or The One Souvenir – 15 January 2014

It’s been six months since I last posted to this blog. Many things have happened that led to my not being able to blog, but I’ve never neglected ifoundthewub. Now that I’m back at Clemson, in a place where blogging could actually lead to something else, maybe this blog can now become something more than I ever thought it could be, even back when I started it all those months ago.

Perhaps I should begin with the post before this one.

Several things didn’t come to pass in that post, most glaringly the fact that I wasn’t able to return to school the way I had planned. At the time, the main thing on my mind was the mind-reeling reverse culture shock that accompanied me back to the States. I was still in severe Japan mode and, for the first six weeks, everything was moving as I had hoped it would–I missed the friends I had made overseas and was happy to see my family after being away for so long–but soon after, things rapidly and quite soundly fell to pieces.

Through whatever fault, I had to sit out a semester at school cause I couldn’t afford it. Because of a jealous and possibly psychotic family member, my parents were forced to give up their home, a place they had been comfortable living for more than two years. I couldn’t land a job in Charleston, so I fell into a deep depression in addition to being away from Clemson. Of course this placed stress onto my sister and her fiancee, with whom I had been living at the time, and we got into it more than once while I was there.

The worst part was feeling like there wasn’t anyone I could talk to about what kept pounding against my skull every day I was home. I know that my family only wants the best for me and mine but, perhaps as some sort of perverted coping mechanism, I withdrew deep, deep into myself, the poor bastard lost in the woods. And as some of you may know, that’s not the best place to be when you feel as though the world is crashing down around your shoulders.

Withdrawal is something I’ve relied on far too much in the past, and it’s something that not even the closest of friends I have made since coming out to Clemson have ever seen me do. It’s… it’s the lowest point I’ve ever reached, something so crippling and utterly destructive not even common sense can shake it loose. When you get to the point that you sit on a couch in boxers and a ratty T-shirt for three days before your sister finally forces you to move your ass and do something, I think it’s fair to say that’s close to rock bottom.

The worst part of it all is the rifts I’ve made with my family, for a variety of reasons, and I’m sure they know what they are. I love my family; they made me me, and nothing can or will ever change that, and I’m eternally grateful. During the last six months its come to the point (a few times) that they are the only reason I’m still breathing. But even so, there’s a kind of weirdness that I can’t shake when I’m around them, and at first I was afraid that it was some sort of elitist mentality that was creeping into me. As anyone could tell you, the last thing I am is better than anyone else. What it was was guilt, guilt that I had seen and done things that they may never see or do, had been given the opportunities that they weren’t, and basically it was all due to the fact that it’s just me, alone. No kids, no baby mama, nothing. That’s a heavy thing to deal with, you know? The fact that, because you aren’t tied to anything and so many people around you are, you have so many more freedoms and chances to go where the wind blows.

Summer became autumn, and the fall phased into winter, and the entire time my head struggled mightily to right itself on my shoulders.

I didn’t read anything, didn’t polish my Japanese. I hardly wrote. Time just kinda ticked itself past me, and I was too confused and scared and scatterbrained to do anything but watch it march by. An enterprising person would have found a thousand things to occupy the unexpected time I had been given, and the only thing I did was max out a video game I had brought back from Japan with me.

Yeah, it was all in Japanese, but I can’t really justify that as self-study.

I did say I hardly wrote, right? I managed to write a bit, just to distract myself from all that was happening around me. And I wrote as a shield, not out of some positive urge to write but because I could build walls that would separate me from people five feet away. I’d put in earbuds (half the time without anything coming out of them) and I would write. I did come up with a few things, a ridiculously awesome long story about a cabbie and a short piece about a couple on a picnic. Maybe I’ll put the shorter one up, not because the longer one is no good (as of today it stands at fifteen thousand words, but I happen to think it’s pretty damn entertaining) but to give you some idea of how my mind works when it’s gone off the tracks. On a most definite crazy train.

Oh yeah, wintertime.

It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. As the time to return to school approached I began to wake up a little and, distracted by football and basketball, I began to regain what remained of my senses. To be honest, I was surprised when New Year’s finally rolled around. It seemed so far off in August, I was beginning to think it wouldn’t come at all. Then it did.

And now?

Now. Now I have to get my ass into gear and make something of myself. I’ve done some interesting things and met some fascinating people, but truth be told I’ve coasted since I came to school at Clemson. I don’t get bad grades, but I don’t really try and that’s commensurately tantamount to failure.

That will change.

One more thing. I’ve been back at Clemson for about ten days and, for the last three weeks preceding, I’ve agonized over what I would put in this post. Since I’ve started ifoundthewub I’ve been pretty decent about staying on top of it and posting about twice a month, but that’s when this blog meant something different than it does to me now. Now it’s something more tangible, if that makes any sense. While I was in Japan my life was on a sort of pause… and in reality, it was a functional ten-month vacation while I was there. When I came back home though, things got real again, as solid as sharp steel is to the inside of a wrist. It’s that chill, that sharp, heavy, defenseless nothing I felt when I was at home that I need to hold onto, the one souvenir of this hiatus that I have to keep close, ’cause if I let it slip away, well… You know what they say about the past and the poor bastards who forget it.

Talk about finding wubs. Word.

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