Hey Avery,

When you’re a kid, you will be taxed with numerous challenges. Everything from your first heart-beat to motor-functions, breath of air, bowel movements, crying and on, and eventually you will learn to play, laugh, and dance; and yes, it can be all fun and games, but someone always gets hurt. I don’t mean some little scrape on the knee, or for that matter, I’m not even talking about physical harm, this lesson is about learning to handle emotional pain.

Call the Whambulance

My journey through this challenge, was very difficult, and I must remain connected to this time of my life, so that I can be aware of your own struggle, and be your guiding light. This is the story of my own childish journey through the dark murky waters of emotional ambiguity.

Gradually over time, I began to feel my body and mind change, and I recall this metamorphosis being hard to notice in the moment, but still strangely confusing. My family was very loving and providing, but I remember feeling like they were distracted and not aware of my introspective struggle.

I should clarify, I didn’t roll up into a ball and cry in my room, I did actually try to heal these wounds, but I was a kid, and my first attempts to discover emotional clarity, were quite crude, and rather dangerous. My first solution came to me while facing social-anxiety, I recall wanting to talk to my baby-sitter, and was afraid to do so. Instead, I sat in my room, and would stare into my cheap plastic osculating fan. I took off the plastic barrier and started jamming action figures and other random objects into the spinning blades. The destruction, and dismay gave me an internal sense of fulfillment, that I had never before felt. Once bored with that game, I began to wonder what would happen if I jammed my finger into the fan blades. I imagined the blood, drama and panic it would cause. I did approach the fan blades with my pinky-finger, hoping for the worst, but I didn’t have the courage to find out that a plastic fan, can’t actually sever a finger. A week later, I told my Mother, that I was thinking about committing suicide. It was a lie, I wanted attention, and I got the attention of a psychiatrist instead. I was prescribed anti-depressants and everyone acted as if all was well. I never swallowed a single pill.

I never swallow

 

So I failed the fan test, but the idea planted the seed of a dangerous concept, that pain and fear could provide a momentary sense of emotional clarity. One night I stole a pair of tweezers from the bathroom; I can’t even remember how I got this idea, but I laid in my bed and began plucking single hairs from the inside of my nose, one by one. I did this until my nostrils were hairless, then I would wait, until I could seek relief another night. My patience grew short, and I would wait less and less. I was already a drug addict, and I didn’t even know what drugs were yet. One night, I was seeking relief real bad, and my nostrils were bone dry and would even spot with blood, so I decided to start plucking other hairs, eye-lashes, eye brows, and I had even started at the top of my head. So I got out of control, and one day while I was at school, a classmate pointed at the top my head and shouted, “baldy!”. I had not known, but I plucked a bald spot, the size of a quarter, into the top of my head. My Mom and the therapist she said was mine, decided I was allergic to the antideppresants, I was pretending to take. I will never forget my Father, when he looked directly into my eyes, and announced, “He is doing it to himself”, nobody believed him, and I didn’t have the strength to out myself, but for some strange reason, it was all I really wanted, is to be noticed.

Coming soon, a picture from my Jr. High year book with the nickname “Baldy” underneath.

Things made a turn for the better at this point, far from perfect, but better. One of the most important influences of my positive growth was discovered through music. I borrowed my Dads album “Animals” by Pink Floyd, just because the cover art interested me. The very opening track is “Pigs on the Wing Part 1”, and I remember feeling like I had already wrote the lyrics to a song that I have never before.

If you didn’t care what happened to me,

and I didn’t care for you,

we would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain,

occasionally glancing up through the rain

wondering which of the buggers to blame

and watching for pigs on the wing. 

I continued to discover that many of these confusing emotions were all packaged in this fascinating poetic rhythm. Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, The Doors and Pink Floyd, spoke to the dark corners of my imagination, and provided a contextual beauty to the emotional pain I struggled to process. It may not have been the last time I flirted with self-destructive behavior, but it was the last time I felt like I didn’t have any other option.

The soundtrack of my puberty.

 

Avery, my situation was my own, and not yours. I intend to do everything in my capability to protect you, but I know even the greatest efforts will falter under the ambiguous nature of the human psyche.

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