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An account of a hypersensitive, bipolar trip fanatic from early childhood to present.

An account of a hypersensitive, bipolar trip fanatic from early childhood to present.

The Beginning

I was born in Philadelphia to an Armenian family on June 28, 1982, or 06/28/82, at 1:11 in the morning.  Six being the difference between 8 and 2, my birth-date and time have some powerful numbers associated with them.  666 is the devils number, and 111 could be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God.  Or mind, body, and soul.  I was born to a scientist and a psychic, both of whom were deep people and spiritual, but my father was primarily a logical mind, and my mother prone to emotional outbursts when I was a little kid.

My name, Saro, sounds like “sorrow” when Americanized, and it really means “mountain peak” in Armenian, which is ironic, as I’d always been bipolar in nature, depressive at times and very manic and up at others.  I was most often upbeat with my own friends growing up, and depressive when feeling cut off or alone too much, though I often shone doing things alone, so to speak. 

I was an avid reader and read many books growing up, and I can remember learning to say the word “the”, saying “t-he” in two syllables, when reading “The Cat in the Hat” at age two.  I was in preschool that was run like a daycare by an older woman named “Mrs. Shorts”.  She taught me how to read in English, as Armenian was my first language to speak, and I cannot remember learning to speak English or speaking fluent Armenian, though I can understand it well even now.  I have other memories from that preschool, one of which was trying to engage another boy but speaking Armenian and I believe being made fun of for it.  I was often embarrassed of my own culture when I was a young child which lessened as I grew up, though I loved my family and later my Armenian friends.  I remember learning to play “Mary had a Little Lamb”, at least in single notes and I don’t believe any more complex than that, at the early age of two or three, two if I’m correct.  I wished more recently in my life that my folks had purchased a piano and given me to lessons, as I love that instrument and taught myself several years ago how to play well for an amateur.  I can remember being segregated from other children by my own shyness early on in a public setting, though among known people and friends I was confident and outgoing.  Another brief flash of memory was a half-circle made of joints of metal to climb on at Mrs. Shorts’ school.

My last memory from age two was of defying my father, perhaps for the first time in my life.  He was working on a wall socket, having had opened it up, and he was leaving to get a tool and told me not to play by it.  At the time, I did a deceitful thing, also possibly my first deception as I was a very honest boy and valued the truth unusually for most people even early on.  I decided in my head to wait for him to leave to do just what he told me not to, for the reason of being curious as to why I wasn’t supposed to. 

Adults look like giant gods when you are very young, and they inspire fear and awe, as older chidren that are much bigger in size also do.  I remember not feeling any fear, and as soon as he left I ran over to the wall with the exposed socket, picked up a nail, and jammed it into one of the holes.  That’s where my memory ends, and apparently I was thrown back against the opposite wall, and I probably blacked out.  My folks I guess ran in when they heard this and took care of me.  I asked them much later in life if they remembered this happening, as I had a visual memory of its occurrence, like a vague dream, and I was interested in knowing if I was correct.  I have many memory fragments like this that were lost in time’s passage as I aged from early youth to later childhood and especially losing touch in my teenage years.

I have a tendency for extremes in my life, going from very well behaved as a child up to teenage years, after which I became a social miscreant for a very long time in one way or another.  I can be kind, loving and compassionate in many situations, only to become violent and hateful, even tyrannical towards my own brother growing up.  This is considered relatively normal, but the dichotomy of being so well-behaved and nice to someone really mean-spirited and power-tripping is strange in my own case.  In my defense, I always had an underlying inferiority complex, largely due to the fact that I was a bully to my own brother and not his hero, which I feel I regret as an early series of mistakes that became an ongoing pattern for many years.  I have a love/hate relationship with myself, enjoying my mind's inner workings at times, and at other times feeling like I am losing control in a negative, raging state.  I can be very intelligent, actually tested in fifth grade with an official IQ test and scoring a 146, which is slightly above average for the “genius” definition of the test.  On the other hand, I can make stupid mistakes and feel stupid socially, as though I’m missing something. I have often felt that way growing up from early childhood, though the more I aged the more confident, generally, I became socially.

When I was older and flipped manic I would be very outgoing and friendly, even jovial and flirtatious with women. This is a sharp dichotomy to depression and psychosis, other mental problems like negative thought associations, emotional disorder, chaos of substance abuse, and negative reactions to situations. This makes perfect sense to me as the internalized self can vary drastically in quality and texture of emotion based on given circumstances, largely due to chronic conditions or long-term successes but also acutely in different situations. 

I am, generally, very sensitive in many ways, though I can be callous with myself and sometimes (as I aged more and more rarely) with others.  I am definitely more masochistic than a sadist, and other than bullying my brother I’ve almost never had issue with consciously hurting other people.  I certainly don’t have much malice in me, though I feel I can often be ruthless in my endeavors and have moments like this where I feel intent on something I am doing or feeling. 

I can flip from being very introverted to being outgoing in a short period of time, even within the same situation.  I can feel very anxious to express myself, and then quickly jump to talking too much all at once, the phrase "too much information" applying to my expressive nature.  I can be very brave and ballsy, only to close up and act conservatively after, as though I had passed a test and could now relax.  I find that life is full of contradictions; one can find them in every religious creed and especially within individual's minds.  I am no different, and although I sometimes feel like a hypocrite, I am usually aware that there is a lot of grey area in life, mixed feelings, and honest confusion.

My parents are both Armenian, both from Aleppo, Syria, and their families were friendly with each other when they were growing up.  My father used to work with my mother’s older brother at some kind of camp for church.  His father was an atheist, so I don’t know if his beliefs conflicted with his work.  To my dad, any job is worth doing, as long as it’s done well, which is something he has tried to instill in me, to my gratitude.  I don’t believe anymore that any job is worth doing by anyone, rather the opposite, which is that specific tasks are valuable at specific times of specific people, each to their own.  My goals in life are to establish a writing career and develop my passion for music in a in a controlled setting where I can learn to spread my wings internally as I develop and recover over time.  Currently I am recovering from acute trauma to my brain and body from drug use and a previous hyper-manic in the fall 2013 to late summer 2014 year.  I will get more into this much later in the book, as it pertains to recent events.

My mother grew up in a heavily religious family.  Her father was apparently a major troublemaker in his twenties, until he found Jesus.  I’ve been a major troublemaker since my early teens, though I was very well behaved and from age 8 – 13 deeply involved in Christianity and a churchgoer. I have found Jesus too, and never felt safer in my life than I did the years immediately following our move at age 8 from Potsdam, NY, to Springfield, PA, a suburb outside of Philadelphia.  But let me go back to my origins again, as this pertains to my further development through childhood and not my early upbringing in Potsdam.

From what I’ve heard about my early childhood, I was an easy baby.  I tended to sleep a lot, so much in fact that my parents went to a doctor for advice.  He told them to count their blessings and let me sleep.  My mother told me that when I was six months old, I started humming a lullaby that she often sang to me.  I remember music being in my life as far back as my memory goes.  My mother and I used to sing together just before bed when I was very young.  I have a pseudo memory of dreaming of being a baby in my mother’s arms and appearing in places around the globe with people surrounding us and rejoicing in my birth.  I think it’s a valid memory, though there is no way to prove it in a way that would make sense due to its early nature, though knowing my self and my life would indicate that there is great merit to the conception of this idea. 

As I grew older, I became very fond of dreaming, and I even recall attempting to manipulate my dreams to some extent, which I still practice today.  I can remember as early as age four and being sung lullabies in bed by my mom and read stories or told them that I could slip into a trance on purpose and have vivid, lucid dreams which, if I’m correct, were most often recurring and of me and my family playing on our front lawn in front of the house, in a kind of lit-up darkness.  What was thrilling to me even then was knowing, while I viewed this vision and was totally immersed in it, that I was actually lying in bed and even hearing the real world through the vision itself.  I lost this ability with the full conception of self-consciousness that coincided with the loss of my best friend, my favorite girl.

I used had nightmares from time to time early on, though I managed to conquer many fears in sleep at an early age as well.  One day, after having a nightmare about being chased by something in the darkness, I woke up determined not to let a nightmare ever get to me again.  Amazingly, the next time I dreamt of the same thing, I turned around and imagined a sword in my hand.  I woke up without seeing what was chasing me.  I think that just by showing bravery in the face of fear, as well as an act of power, overcame my fear of the unknown.  I was running from nothing, just running because I was afraid.  I have rarely been plagued by nightmares ever since. I once had a nightmare that Gollum from The Lord of the Rings was chasing after me.  I fell out of my bed in bright sunshine and woke up.  Laughing as the warm comfort of my safe bedroom, I felt grateful for waking before he caught me.  Another time I dreamt that the whole world was turning into pigs.  My parents turned into pigs last, and then they were looking for me.  They were going to turn me into a pig too, and I was scared.  

Those two nightmares, the Gollum one and the pig one, are deeply rooted in metaphor applying to my own life.  The Gollum dream was a pseudo guilty nightmare of my own dark side running to catch me, which I had early on as well.  When my brother was a baby I once told my mom that we should throw him out into the snow to die, largely due to the absolute lack of attention I was getting, as my little brother was a very fussy baby, an opposite of my own babyhood.  This reflected my mother’s increasing stress levels in the marriage and house, and a depression that she was feeling after her second child.  The Gollum dream I had at age five, probably shortly after the first time I was physically and verbally violent with my little brother when he was two, and we were put together alone to “play”, which consisted of silence or me bullying him.  My mother, if guilty of anything as a parent, was somewhat neglectful at those times, though I taught my brother how not to cry early on so I wouldn’t get into trouble.  In this way I was a very mean kid and this lasted for a good while up until age twelve or thirteen. 

The pig dream reflected almost a prophesy for my life, is deeply tied to Christianity, and I believe was inspired by God as I think many of my dreams have been.  My parents were not believers, and subconsciously I knew this, and my favorite family members were devoutly Christian, including an aunt and uncle and two older cousins that I dearly loved.  Christ talked about “pearls before swine”, and I was also a gifted magician and knew it as well starting around age four, when I would “speak to the wind”.  I’ll go more into this later on as it deserves a good bit of explanation. I think the first time I dreamt of flying was when I was four or five.  I flew over my backyard like superman in one dream.

From early youth I was bright and eager to learn, but also very scared to come out of my shell, always hiding from myself and others in public settings and primarily being myself freely only with friends without having to control every last detail.  This is an agony of existence for a naturally social child, which I blame on my situation and environment.  I was a hypersensitive and a prodigy and I knew that though I believed in and had legitimately magical experiences, this tendency, within my family’s judgment, was going to leave me in the perspective of being seen as a madman and someone delusional, all this about things I felt were profound and sacred.  In this state of subconscious fear I was raised, and my response from early youth was to run from reality and bury myself in escapes.  I didn’t want to let go for the reason of not wanting to face the unknown of losing control, which in public settings would indicate that I was a gifted psychic, which I also knew subconsciously.  I’ve realized this in many ways as I aged, and I was often dismissive of these experiences automatically in order to create the illusion of logic and reason as my basic premise of reality, primarily to appease the needs of my father and family. 

It was easy to escape for a long time as a little kid who likes to read and of course loves video games and TV, but increasingly more and more difficult as I aged. My subconscious fear began to come up in hidden depressions and despairs, feelings that I was missing something very important and deeply rooted in my individuality, and a feeling of neglect and abuse and being left out of life, against my own desires and wishes as a person.  All of this can be attributed to a misinterpretation by myself of my own magical nature, and my natural shyness in the identity understanding of being a geek, fear of that nature and it being discovered, and the inability to consciously express these hidden fears and pains until much was said and done.  It’s the will of the God I believe in that this is impossible to avoid, and it has been in the works for me to be fully realized by myself in terms of experience and life as I age and become more and more aware of my inner workings in insightful and intuitive ways that are positive.

        As a young child I enjoyed television far more than I do today.  My favorite shows were cartoons and Sesame Street.  I actually learned to speak English by watching television.  My love of fantasy and especially magical worlds developed at an early age.  I did a lot of reading, and mostly I read books that were written for children many years older than I was.  Reading a good book was like going into a good dream.  The outside world would disappear, even the pages I was reading would disappear, and all that was left was an ongoing fantasy, guided by the author’s words. Slowly losing my latent child’s imagination with the decay of time was like slowly losing my own soul, and it actually is just that, in reality.  This type of loss leads to what is known as the “Malaise of Modern Man”, which pertains to all the symptoms that I was struggling with as I was growing up, being very noticeable around the time I left Catholic school to go to the public system.  This makes perfect sense from a logical viewpoint on the past; the deep-rooted belief system in the Catholic school helped instill discipline, give me my first social experiences in public that I was not shy within, and also maintained the irrational beliefs of Christianity in an ongoing way that allowed me to delve into and express prayer, belief in God, and belief in the human soul as primary driving forces in my academic life. 

        Depression, despondency, despair, disillusionment, disconnection, degradation, deterioration, perversity, addiction, entropy, and I’m sure a whole plethora of other big words are all symptoms of “The Malaise”.  I was consciously aware of suffering from this shortly after being taken from Catholic school into the public school system, an entirely secular institution that only fed into those negative reactions and manifested in my life as an intense and unavoidable feeling of being “left out” of something important, something big, which in retrospect was my growing unease regarding “growing up” and the total loss of my own connection with the Spirit, or my soul.  I was prophetic, and this total loss and the horrors that manifested themselves within that loss were my fate to experience when I graduated high school and entered the job market.

My Family

        I was very close to much of my extended family growing up, as many of them lived in the vicinity or directly within the city of Toronto.  My immediate family, living an hour’s drive from the Canadian border in upstate NY, would make the trip there often, at least twice a year usually, until we were much older and had moved away from that area.  I remember feeling so safe and cared for among those people, all of them, which consisted of four sets of aunts and uncles and a bunch of cousins that I looked up to, as they were all older than me.  My mother was the youngest in a family of eight children, so most of her elder siblings had children later than her, or all of them.

        My favorite cousin at the time was Hrair, who would make me laugh and shower attention on me whenever we came to visit.  He also introduced me to video games at age four, which I became fascinated with.  I once hit him with a cabbage patch kid doll when he had me wrestled to the ground and was tickling me, also at age four I believe.  I remember he was hurt; I hit him on the head with the hard part of the doll.  He may have cried.  He is seven years older than me, and his older brother Ara seven years older than him.  Ara now is a minister of a church and runs many youth group activities, I believe.  My mom’s side was very religious growing up, as her father had been a hellraiser as a youth and then found Christ and settled down with a good woman.  Hrair’s mother and father were involved with the church as well during their lives, and I remember them as very warmhearted and goodish people that made me feel safe and loved all the time. 

        My mother’s brother Kevork is my other uncle that is related to her that I was close to on those trips.  He would always do things with me personally.  He’s taken me to ball games at the Astrodome, taken me to the CN Tower, which is built like a spike coming up from the ground, and taken me to the science center where we had a lot of fun growing up.  His wife is Maro, and she is also very gushy and lovey, and again my family has been very kind and caring towards me in my life.

        Another set of aunt/uncle/cousins were Anto my uncle, Elize my mother’s sister, and Lucy and Mardig their children my cousins.  Mardig was dorky like me, and he collected comic books in his life.  I remember him showing off his collection when I was a kid and us playing video games in his home.  Lucy was sort of a cool type chick who was into boybands in her teens when they started becoming popular.  I remember her bedroom was covered with pictures of these bands that she loved so that no space was left.

        My mother’s other sister, Nevart and her husband Bedros were two more in Toronto that we were close to.  They had one daughter, Danni, and she was only two years older than me.  Hrair, danny, myself and my brother Sevag would stay up playing monopoly all day and night when they came to visit.  We’d play in Toronto as well, and Danni was nice to us.  All of our family was usually nice to us, and I wasn’t used to anything being different.

        Another set of family members was my father’s sister Silva and her husband Vatche who had two kids with another wife, Garlen and Miranda.  They were great growing up, and I remember meeting them before my aunt married Vatch.  We played thirteen card poker for pennies with the four of us, probably when my bro was only two years old and I five, with Garlen being the oldest, maybe five years older than me, and his sister Miranda being a year younger than I.  Of course, the older siblings would gang up on the younger and this kind of rivalry was normal.

        I can remember playing ping-pong a lot with Garlen, Miranda, Silva, and Vatche, and my dad and mom and brother as well, at the different homes they had as I grew up.  They moved twice since I remember visiting them originally, and both of those moves included a ping pong table.  I was pretty good for my age at the time, and we’d have tournaments with the family and do a score sheet and everything to see who was the champion.  I also remember watching a lot of TV with all of my family, eating many meals that we would always pray before, watching the adult men play cards (a French game called Belote which we traded for a different version of the game called Quanshe as we got older), and playing a lot of video games and reading.  All in all, my family time with my extended family was joyful and safe in my youth, and I consider myself very lucky for having been socialized well by them and to have been accustomed to so much love and affection in our circles.

Changes in the Family

        When I was three years old, a monumental event occurred in my life.  I don’t have any clear memory of it, but it changed everything about who I was.  That was the year my mother gave birth to her second son.  I remember being very jealous of my brother because of all the attention he got.  Most of these memories came later, when he was walking around and talking his head off.  This annoyed me to no end.  I believe there was an understandable reason why.  I used to be kind to everyone in the world except for my brother.  That was the earliest major mistake I can remember; not making a friend out of him. 

I recall the first time I physically hit him.  I did this often after that, the first time being when he was just two and I five.  He was babbling in front of me in English, a language that I was self-consciously and painfully unable to express myself in freely in group settings, and he was doing this with a total loss of control that two year olds have.  My mom never spent time with us much; she would put the two of us together and then disappear into the kitchen to hate her life, which she did often at that time of our family’s existence.  My brother was threatening to me on an emotional level because of my own insecurities in regards to expression and his obvious inability to stop.  I started by just saying, “shut up”.  He stopped for a brief moment, then continued babbling.  I then said, “shut up or I’ll hit you”.  This stopped him longer, but he soon continued babbling.  So I hit him, in the arm, hard enough to hurt.  He cried immediately and I quickly calmed him down, probably not wanting to incite a punishment from my mother, and he was quick not to cry.  But this happened over and over until he never cried when I hit him, or called him names, either alone with him or in front of friends and family.  I was a bully growing up, not mean to other kids or even very dominating, even to the kid I was bullying I had no real heart to follow through.  But I got used to it being that way, and so did he, and I took some physical abuse from my father due to this family problem that only fed into using violence more.  A long history of violence between the two of us began around that time in our lives.

        Our neighbors called us the bruiser brothers, after a pair of tag team wrestlers.  Quite by coincidence, when we moved from upstate New York to Philadelphia, our new neighbors also called us the bruiser brothers.  It just goes to show how we interacted with each other; fighting and wrestling was the norm in our day to day interactions, and though we ceased being as physically violent as we got older, for a long time we fought and I was clearly the dominating one as I was bigger and stronger.  We used to also have fun wrestling, both with a friend of mine and also just throwing each other around the minivan when we were a bit older, inciting my parents to annoyance and worry as the car shook.  Sibling rivalry or brotherly love; that’s the way it’s been with us.

        Once when I was five, at Christmas, my brother came running at me with a knitting needle, one of those long thick ones, and he stabbed me in the center of my neck with it.  It went into my throat.  I don’t know what the hell I was doing to him to bring out this reaction, but it must have been bad.  I was pretty mean to him growing up.  Another time, just after I had been bitten by a dog and my leg was exposed and covered with puss, he picked up a big rock and bashed me on the wound.  That really hurt.  I picked up a smaller rock and threw it at his head, nailing him.  He went crying into the house to my mom.  I don’t think I even got punished.  My parents, and especially my mother, are very permissive in their parenting techniques.

Thoughts on the Other Side

        I was lucky not to know intensive and long term stretches of deep suffering up until the beginning of high school.  I was always sad and depressive, except for a long time with my close friends and extended family, or sometimes alone if I ever was with my games, books, studies, and TV.  I was, in retrospect, a very unlucky child with enormous strengths, but more powerful weaknesses, as the deterioration of time set in and I grew up the weaknesses overmatched the strengths and I fell into black despair in my fourteenth year, due to marijuana use.  I always had friends, but I was also often lonely.  I was considered to be highly intelligent for my age and I did well in school.  I also played various musical instruments throughout my childhood, and though I was never a prodigy, I had a good ear and picked up on music easily.  To this day I still enjoy singing and playing the guitar and piano, not to mention listening to my favorite artists.  Music is an integral part of my life, and I know it always will be.  On an average day, if I am not busy working on something, I may listen to music for many hours.  I find that it is soothing and helpful in creating an atmosphere of free thought, especially the kind of music that I listen to.

When I was six I started taking violin lessons.  I was really bad at first, which is normal, and I would cry my head off as my mother forced me to practice.  After a few years I was realizing that I had gotten quite a bit better and I was starting to actually enjoy it and feel good about myself for playing.  I wish I had convinced my parents to keep me in lessons after my family moved away and I stopped going to that school, but I was a kid and I didn’t articulate my desires very well.  I can remember performing with a group of young students in front of a group of parents.  I thought it was great, and enjoyed it immensely.  I have always loved playing in front of people; sharing what I can do brings me the greatest satisfaction from music, or in any creative art.

        I’ve heard stories about my youth of things that I have no memory of.  My family has told me that I was a very loving and compassionate child, and that I was very comfortable expressing myself to others.  I’ve heard that when my parents had people over and someone became quiet or morose, I would actually walk up to them, give them a hug, and ask “are you happy?”  My family that remembers me from this age still have me in their hearts as that little boy.  I think, even when I mess up, they see it as my head not working well due to drugs, and they still think I have a good heart.  I tend to agree with them, though I know I can turn to evil sometimes.  Everybody does.

        When I was about four years old, I began thinking about death.  This happened for several reasons, I think.  For one thing, I read a book that made me think about it through metaphor.  It was a novel about a man who walked through a doorway in reality into our world.  He had mind powers and magic, but he was suffering from amnesia and he couldn’t remember where he came from or how to get back.  A family took him in and cared for him, and I think he fell in love with their daughter.  However, other people in town found out about him and his abilities, and they were afraid of him and wanted him gone.  At the end, he was running from the townspeople, and he found the door that led back to his world. He walked through it and the book ended; there was no description of what his world was like. I think the door was full of light shining from the other side.

        Another thing that happened at that age was I had my first, conscious brush with death.  The nail in the wall socket may have been a brush with death, but I was too young to really realize that.  What happened was this: I enjoyed climbing trees in our backyard, and we had many large pines that were perfect for climbing.  I had climbed to the very top of one of them and was too terrified to come down like a housecat.  My friend got my dad, who came outside and tried to coax me down.  I don’t know what I was thinking, just that I was scared, and I made the decision to just let go and let fate take its course.  I fell from about thirty feet up, hitting every branch in succession on the way down.  I didn’t even break anything.  I’ve always had thick bones, not to mention a thick skin.  I remember specifically being afraid to die, having climbed so high, and letting go of that fear as I let go of the top of the pine tree I was climbing. I was very lucky not to seriously hurt myself or die, and I feel that grace is a very active component to my own life, especially early on.

        Around that time, my maternal grandmother died and my parents found out that my paternal grandmother had cancer.  I don’t remember this very clearly; my only memory of that time was a year later, when she finally died.  My parents got a phone call at night, telling them the news.  I remember they were crying, and I came out of my room to find out what was going on.  These events coincided with my earliest memories of contemplating my own mortality.  I was fascinated by the concept of death.  I’m here one day, the next…I’m somewhere else?  I wondered what the other side was like. I think I thought it was a place where people could use magic, like the man in the novel I had read.

        Something happened to me when I was five that I will always remember.  I was in the pool at school, away from the other kids as usual. All by myself, I was just meditating in the water.  I sank under the water to the bottom and somehow slipped into a trance.  While in this state, I could hear a deep reverberation, something I have called “the sound of the void”.  My friend supposedly heard something similar on an acid trip and he called it “the sound of nothing”.  One of his friends told him they heard it as well.  The reverberating vibration seemed to fill me up and make all the empty space in my mind alive and aware.  It reminds me of the chants that monks do, very low pitched and melodious.  It also reminds me of the concept of “Om”, which is a word that is used to alter one’s state of consciousness and raise one’s awareness to a higher level. I believe to this day that I astral projected to somewhere with monks chanting the “Om”, perhaps Tibet or wherever there are people that do this.  I remember it being the most peaceful feeling I had ever experienced to that point in my life, and perhaps ever in my whole life, and I was entranced in this vision/sound. 

First Friends

        I still remember first grade, and the difficult time I had with the onset of self-consciousness.  Most of the time I was alright, as long as I was involved in the academic aspect of the school experience.  But in the social aspect, I was a wreck.  It was kind of funny, actually.  In the academic sphere I was far accelerated, easily one of the smartest and brightest in the classroom.  But when it came to simple interactions with my peers in a classroom setting, I was not just slow, I was paralyzed by fear of letting go and losing control. One could almost see my six year old self as being idiot savant; a child with the personality of an introvert who was deeply shy in one situation, outgoing and a leader in another type, who could perform amazing feats of cognition when faced with complex academic tasks but was too self-conscious to learn social coping and adaptive skills.  I was a dork, of course, and being shy was considered normal for a kid like me, though I never liked it and always felt I was missing out on playing with other kids, all the way back to the beginning.

        My social life, outside of school, was very active.  I had a loose assortment of regular friends, maybe five girls and five boys that I saw on a daily basis.  There were the three Nicks: Nick L., Nick Z., and Nick M.  I usually hung out with one or more of them at one of our homes.  Most often, I spent time with people one on one if I visited them, and that pattern has stayed true throughout my life.  I like the fact that there is more direct attention being shared when it is just yourself and one other person.  It has a private, exclusive feeling that allows me to communicate very comfortably and effectively, knowing that I have someone’s attention.

Nick L. I always remember as having a well-developed sense of humor.  That kid could make me laugh like no one else.  On one occasion, I remember hanging out with him and my brother at our home.  We were roughhousing in my bedroom on the second floor, and mostly picking on my brother.  At one point, my brother became so enraged with us that he pushed my top mattress against Nick, and he got squashed against the window.  He crashed halfway through it with a twenty foot drop behind him, and we somehow managed to pull the mattress back and get him safely into the room.  Suffice it to say, my brother is frightening when he gets angry.

        Nick Z. I remember as being a bit quieter and also very intelligent.  We played video games at his house, usually Mario Brothers 2.  I got along with him well, I think, because our personalities were somewhat similar.  We were both kind of introspective and very smart, and we both loved Nintendo.  His mother introduced me to Brussels' sprouts.  No offense to her cooking, but I disliked them at the time. Nowadays I don’t think they are bad if they are cooked well.  It's funny how tastes change over time.  My palette became more liberal as I got older; many foods I couldn't stomach as a child I now heartily enjoy.  Nick M. I saw less than the other two, and I remember he seemed to have kind of a crazy streak in him.  But most kids do anyway; and I don’t really remember him well.

        Of the girls there was Diana (she comes first, she will always come first, my first best friend), Kate (my neighbor), Huda (who lived up the street, her family was Muslim), Megan (my neighbor on the other side), and a few other girls who’s names I can’t remember.  I loved Diana the best, she was my favorite girl.  Unfortunately for me, her family moved away to Albuquerque when we were six.  Her birthday was twenty days before mine and our families would celebrate them together.  On our sixth birthday we spent it at Diana’s home, where there were clowns and many kids running around acting crazy. 

I have a memory of standing in front of her and smiling, with her smiling back at me.  We really loved each other, and we stayed in touch for a long time afterwards.  When she moved I suffered my first heartbreak; I missed her terribly and felt depressed. I remember starting to fantasize about running away from home around this time, what doctors call “wanderlust” at an early age, and I believe this was triggered by my desire to find her, as she was my first best friend and my first loss of a friend in one person. I even tried running away to find her at one point I think, though I didn’t get very far.  I was six, after all.

There was a strange incident with Diana that implies my intuition was stronger than I could understand at the time.  I was then riding my bike around with my eyes closed in a parking lot full of cars, due to the game it implied and the freedom I felt.  At once point I believe I must have had an out of body experience and saw the parking lot from above, in which I was riding.  This made me believe that people can see with their eyes closed, which caused a strange thing to occur.

Diana was at my parent’s home with me, and I can’t remember who was there to watch us, probably my mother away with my brother.  I put her in the bathroom, shut of the light, and started yelling “it’s ok you can see in the dark!”  I think I actually wanted to teach her how to do this at the time, and after a bit I realized she was just scared and crying and I let her out and said sorry.

The weird thing is, she is half Mexican and half French, and her Mexican ancestry somehow triggered this strange response in me.  I don’t know what her actual background is, but Mexico was well known for its history in culture of frightening and often dominating sorcery practices of the various cults within those cultures.  This was like some weirdly devised teaching method for altered states of consciousness, which I had no idea about in any regards to her ethnicity or culture at the time in any conscious way.  I am very intuitive though, so I guess I must have somehow known and made a connection.  I’ve never done anything like this with anyone else in my life, male or female.  She was my favorite friend, after all.

When my father came home from work that day and heard what happened, he yelled at me and slapped my face.  I responded to this by making a statement.  "You don't love me anymore," I said petulantly.  He actually burst out crying at this, though my eyes had remained dry the whole time.  I feel like I was being an evil, manipulative little shit.  If my own kid responded to me again, I would just slap them harder and send them to their room, biding my time to make it up to them and help them understand why I was upset.  My father was always softhearted.

        Another friend I had was David.  His family moved in across the street from Diana’s old house.  He actually lived there after she had moved away, but I liked to be there anyway because of the nostalgia.  He was older than I was, and was also, of course, into video games.  I don’t know what happened to him, but I imagine he was one of those tough guys at school.  He always came across to me as being cool and older due to the age difference of a year or so. He was in the grade above me. When I spent time with him, he would lead our friendship and try to show me new things, which I liked a lot.

        A few months before my family moved away from Potsdam, I had David come over to spend the night at our house.  I would often have sleepovers with my friends; and I remember teaching Diana how to read a clock when we were around eight years old, when her family flew back to Potsdam for a weekend and she slept over in my bedroom.  Potsdam was a college town of about five thousand people that would double in population during the school year. Diana’s father worked at a university there and I believe the family was back for some kind of business, or possibly just to visit.  I was joyful to see her again and she was happy as well to see me.

Anyway, on this night we decided to sneak out of the house and have a little adventure.  I don’t remember most of what we did, but at some point we ended up in my neighbors’ play house.  You had to climb a ladder to get up there, and there was a slide from about fifteen feet up that went to the ground below.  We sat there in the middle of the night and talked until dawn.  We talked about my move, and about girls, and about things that boys will talk about when growing up.  I distinctly recall him telling me that he had a crush on my neighbor, Kate.  I listened to him talk about her, and I remember feeling like this was the closest connection I had made with another male outside of my family as of yet.

        Kate was my neighbors’ oldest daughter and she was about the same age as I was.  I remember that she was something of a tom-boy growing up, and we used to play sports together in their backyard.  We played baseball or t-ball primarily, and once asked on a school test what I’d be when I grew up I wrote “a baseball player”.  I was never really that good at sports, or at least competitive sports, though my motor kinesthetic, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination were highly developed at an early age.  I was naturally inclined to be more cooperative than competitive, which still goes to this very day. 

Our neighbors were nice people, very energetic and engaging.  I remember feeling a little slow when I spent time with them; they were running at a higher level that I could not always keep up with.  But like I said, they were nice people, and we did a lot of things together.  We shared barbecues, birthday parties, pulling loose teeth, and an endless string of activities that kids engage themselves in.

        Our neighbors also had a son named Michael.  He was a year or two younger than I, and we probably spent more time together than I did with Kate.  He looked up to me a lot, and I remember the two of us used to give my little brother a hard time.  This is something my brother enjoys reminding me of.  You see, my little brother is now a six foot two ex-football player who weighs in somewhere around three hundred pounds.  I think my relationship with my brother has made me come to believe in Karma.  But I will get to that later.

        Another friend of mine was Megan.  She was my neighbor on the other side, but she lived about a block up the street.  Between her house and mine was a school.  I often rode my bike in that school’s parking lot, to my great enjoyment.  I spent a lot of time with Megan, and I remember sleeping at her house quite often.  I never played with dolls or anything, but I do remember watching Pippy Longstocking with her.  We also liked Monopoly and Chef Boyardee.  There was a patch of woods behind her house where we would try to find four leaf clovers.  I think I actually found one at one point.  When I was a kid and played with girls, for the most part I was a little gentleman, and I never roughhoused with them in any physical ways, certainly I was never violent towards them.

        My friend Huda and I had an interesting relationship.  In some ways, it seemed we were very similar.  We both came from Middle Eastern backgrounds, which meant we ate similar foods and shared some cultural values.  We were both intelligent, though her parents, I think, were far more demanding of her than mine were of me.  This may be why she has been such a great success in life while my journey has been rockier with more setbacks.  There was a kind of rivalry between us due to our matched intelligences as well as different but close cultural backgrounds.  Her family was devoutly Muslim, and though being raised in a non-religious home made me apart from the church, my background on my mother’s side were devoutly Christian.  I must have intuited this somehow, as I always remember being somewhat at odds with her, in a way that would make me mean to her sometimes I think.  I’m pretty sure we usually got along well though, and I’ve been to Potsdam two or three times since we moved away, during all of which I met up with her and hung out.  I will get more into that much later on.

One time, I was over at her place while she was out, and her parents let me play with her hamster.  I feel awful about what happened that day, and I cried my eyes out at the time. It was honestly an accident.  I was playing with the hamster like a six year old plays with any toy, generally abusing it.  In this case I was throwing the poor thing up into the air and catching it, laughing.  Sometimes I would drop it and it would try to run away and I would chase it and repeat the process.  I literally scared it to death; I think it had a heart attack.  When I realized what happened I started crying, and I took the dead animal back to her parents, apologizing in tears.  I actually loved animals and was usually very gentle with them, with almost no incident of being mean or cruel to them growing up.  I had a bird that once I closed a door against while it was flying, chasing after me, and I remember it hit the door and fell.  I immediately opened it and felt sorry, I knew it was mean and I really loved that bird.

Another time at one of her birthday parties, probably her seventh or eighth, it was me there with about a dozen girls and Huda herself.  At one point I was actually running behind all the girls and humping their butts one at a time with my hands up in the air. I actually saw this happen in a home video about ten years later.  I had totally forgotten about this incident, and I was embarrassed of my childhood self, even ten years later as we all watched the video.  I wasn’t ever into any “you show me yours…” games with anyone as a kid, and I was pretty strictly well behaved other than this one thing.  My parents had told me about sex and showed me a cartoon educational video about it for kids.  Of course I was very interested.  I guess I was acting out what little I knew.  This also upset Huda greatly; I think in the video she was actually crying while this was going on.

The Big Mean Dog

There was one very traumatizing event that occurred during this stage of my life.  This one involved a game of whiffle-ball and a very large sheepdog.  I was playing with a friend from up the street with my little brother and his little sister.  His family had a pool, and around the pool was a very high fence.  This was to keep the dog in, because it had a history of biting people and they did not want it to leave the yard.  On the other side of the fence there was a big patch of lawn, and that’s where we had our game.

I was up to bat at the time of the attack.  Afterwards, my parents said that perhaps that was why the dog came after me first.  It thought I was threatening his owners with the bat and wanted to defend them.  But I think it was just a mean, angry dog and I happened to be the closest target.  Whatever the case, while we were playing, the dog barked constantly.  At one point, I was up to bat and the barking ceased.  It stopped suddenly like that, because the dog had backed up and leapt over the fence. 

I don’t remember exactly what happened at that point.  Somebody screamed, I think, and we all ran.  My brother and my friend's little sister took off for the swing-set and climbed on top of it to be safe from the vicious animal.  My friend ran to the house to get his parents.  I just ran away as fast as I could, not thinking to defend myself in any other way.  Considering I was only seven years old and the dog probably weighed almost twice as much as I did, I think running was a good idea.  It caught me, though, biting me from behind, right in the butt.  I fell down screaming and the dog went at my ass like a chew toy.  Getting bored with my derriere, it took a good sized chunk out of my leg before the parents finally came out and called the beast off of me.  I’ve told people I’ve known later that I was shot in the leg, and show them the scar that the dog gave me.  They believe me too, until I tell them the truth.  Its oval shaped and about the size of a quarter, and it hasn’t changed at all since the last of the scab fell off, over twenty years ago.

Other Early Memories

I remember television pretty well, the shows my mother used to watch with me, Murder She Wrote and Nightrider were two of them more for adults that I was exposed to at a young age.  I was always into material either too old or just plain advanced for my age, from the first book I mentioned up to Steven King and Dostoyevsky when I was ten years old.  I loved TV, I loved visiting my family in Toronto, and I loved books and video games and my friends.  I think I loved my brother as well, though I didn’t get the enjoy or appreciate that until I was much older.

My mother had seven other siblings when from her parents.  Her father was dead before I was born, and she used to say there are good spirits in the house.  I remember feeling that way as well, and I honestly believe he at least and others also were watching out for me and my family.  Her line was many holy men and priests, and shoemakers, which her last name literally means.  Jizmejian is her maiden name.  My last name, Bedian, means chief or chieftain, so my full name in meaning is “Mountain-peak Chief”, like a very dominant Native American name.  As an early youth, I loved nature and had some powerful experiences, almost Zen-like, with the weather, both predicting and feeling like I could directly affect it with my attention.  I would focus on raindrops and try to willfully make the rain slow down or speed up, and seemed to see results.  This almost Medicine-Man type experience I’ve kept throughout my life somehow, both predicting and seeming to directly affect weather, even in extreme cases.  I also have an animal spirit guide, the mockingbird, and am fond of birds, that always gravitate to the places I live in recent years.  That experience will be told much later in this book.

My family used to make me feel very safe and very well loved, and I was good with them and very humble and caring.  My favorite cousins were all older than me and good for making me laugh a lot, and wrestling and playing video games with them were some of my greatest pleasures in life.  I remember well our trips to Toronto; three sets of family members all lived in the same building, the address 60 Pavane Way, and I remember the elevators in that building and the specific smell of the building as well.  My brother and I, when we were a bit older, would visit together and go up and down the elevators to the different floors, all the apartments lining up in a direct line from floor eight to floor sixteen, so that the door numbers were all the same.  That was joyful time for me, and I think for my folks as well, and mostly it was Christmas’ and summer vacations that we went, and continued going up to today, though I go alone now as my folks don’t usually make it up there.

In any case, I had a large and loving family, my mother with seven siblings and my father with three, and I grew up knowing most of them, at least the ones on this side of the pond.  There are some oversees that I’ve never met, though I would like to someday if I could, and desire to travel to Armenia before I get too much older, as three sets of family members have homes there and spend parts of the year there.  I always strangely felt separate, from everybody, and even my own immediate and extended family.  There was a kind of holding back, hiding something, and what this directly pertains to is my own inherent magical nature that I was aware of, passionate about, and totally unwilling to express to my folks or let go with, until I was much older and at sporadic times, often leading to mania.  I was, an am, a gifted magician, a clairvoyant, a telekinectic at times, a lucid dream beyond most people’s capacity, a spiritualist in every way but belonging to a church, and a “Love Worshipper”.  I’ve known all this since age four, was condemned to being a madman in my future and knowing full well, in a way, that this meant suffering at age six, a self-fulfilled prophesy by whatever powers have touched my life, and I’ve been a person who’s worked deliberately, consciously, and with deep felt intent at whatever I wished to excel at, especially learning and acquiring knowledge. 

This fascination with knowledge started with academia and the intelligencia, and moved on to the occult much later as time progressed.  That is where my passion lies, and it still remains hidden from all others, besides the knocking of my walls (that I always predict and feel before they occur, knowing full well what the inflection means in terms of communication), and the people I meet in lucid dreams, I have no social outlet for the occult and do not think I will for quite some time.  I’ve gone to spiritualist churches where they invite psychics and mediums to do readings, do mediumship in regards to healing for people who wish to be healed, and I’ve felt a connection there that I never knew at the Christian church I grew up in.  In this way I’ve held back from fully “letting go” my whole life, and kept hidden my most sacred experiences from the full light of day and sharing with other people.  This is wise, in a way, as people would not understand, and there is little outlet for expressing these things or more importantly, experiencing them with most people.  So in my future, I wish to open up these experiences further, and develop my knowledge base as I age, with the hopes that I will reach a seeker’s goal and become a seer and soothsayer, as I’ve often been in the past.

Philadelphia: New Beginnings

I was very upset about the move in my eighth year.  Moving has always been very stressful for me, as it is for most people, but that sense of powerlessness over your own destiny is the worst thing about it, especially when you are a kid.  I loved living in Potsdam, and I was familiar with many people there.  The reason we moved was because my father did not receive tenure at the school he was teaching at.  He found a job at another school where he had previously worked: the University of Pennsylvania.  This was a step up for him, as the school in Potsdam was a smaller and less known university, and the U of P is an Ivy League school.  I still remember saying goodbye to my neighbors in our driveway; we got hugs all around and packed ourselves up to leave.  I looked out the side window with tears streaming down my face.  I was leaving everything that was good and comfortable in my life behind, and I had no idea where I was going.

I don’t remember anything of the drive to our new home.  I guess I cried on and off for three days, but I don’t remember that as well.  My mother is the one who told me about that.  What I do remember, however, is that when we finally arrived in Philadelphia, we stayed at the home of some friends of my parents.  In those few days that we were staying with them, a monumental event occurred.  I had been playing Nintendo in their living room shortly after arriving on the first day there.  The living room also served as an entrance to their home from the side of the house.  While playing, another family of Armenians arrived who were related to the people in whose house we were staying.  There were two young girls, and a boy about my own age.  This boy’s name was Aram, and he was to become one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.

I remember sitting on the floor playing a video game, and Aram’s mom telling him he could sit and play as well.  I also remember having a comfortable feeling with this new person, as though I had known him for a long time.  Maybe it was because we had recently moved to a new area, or maybe it was because I’d always had an easy time making and keeping friends in the past.  In any case, when I met Aram, I was sure we were going to be good friends.  What I did not know at the time was that in a way, we already were friends.  I was born in Philadelphia and my family moved to upstate New York when I was a year and a half old.  Aram was also around my own age, about 9 months older, and our families knew each other and spent time together when we were just babies.  Aram had actually been to my first birthday party, and there are pictures of the two of us at the Philadelphia Zoo together in separate strollers.  I did not know any of this at the time, however.  As far as I could tell, he was a new person with whom I felt strangely familiar and had a powerful desire immediately to become close friends with.

Within months, a friendship developed from that first meeting that may have been the closest friendship I have ever experienced, or will ever experience.  We were like brothers, and our two families spent so much time together that there was no separation between us.  We were like one big family where everyone was totally comfortable doing all the things a family does together.  Aram already had a big family living in the Philadelphia area; there were many aunts, uncles, and cousins to spend time with.  There were family functions at someone’s home on a regular basis, and there was also an Armenian club where families got together at a local church every Friday.

We used to hang out as a group of maybe a half dozen kids at this church, while our parents socialized.  There was a storage room with a television set, and we used to watch TGIF every Friday.  I remember watching Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters ect, all sitcoms for families watching TV together on a Friday evening.  We loved the stuff and thought it was hilarious.  We were all around the same age, within four or five years of one another, and we loved to play and cause trouble.  Sometimes we played outside if it was nice, throwing balls around and generally getting rowdy.  It was a lot of fun, and I feel a deep nostalgia when I remember our times together.

We had many catch phrases and jokes between us.  Aram and I, shortly after first becoming friends, used to often have a sleepover at his parents’ place where we would sit up and talk all night, phone in songs on the radio, and just hang out.  I remember many of these nights, and this kind of intimate socialization with another male I have never experienced again in my life either as a child or as an adult.  There was never anything sexual about us; we’re both straight men, at least I’m entirely straight and I believe he is as well, though I’ve never asked him about that.  There was no corruption or perversion in our friendship, it was clean, and we spoke well and listened well to one another all through those years of late elementary school and middle school, and I developed a keen sense of friendship with him during those years.  I still know him and speak with him at times to this day; he lives locally in the area now with his wife and her parents, and he’s been concerned for my well being since this past winter with all the drinking and hospitalizations.  I still value his input on my life, and would like to keep ties all throughout the time we have.

 

Friends, Girls, and God

              I started third grade at an Armenian Catholic school called Armenian Sisters Academy.  Aram was a student there, and knowing him opened me up to other kids he knew also from previous years.  I believe he had gone to that school since preschool.  There was a preschool section and a kindergarten, then elementary through middle school up to grade eight.  I was pretty pissed off for a bit of time directly after the move, pertaining largely to the move itself and being uprooted, but I settled in relatively quickly and made good friendships with the other boys in our class.  The older boys were sometimes bullies and could be frightening, as older boys can be to younger ones, and I remember some interaction between the different grades, though mostly we were separated into our own grades, each grade being one classroom of kids, as it was a private school and had an attendance of only a few hundred people.  I liked this cozy atmosphere of everyone knowing one another and of course everyone being Armenian, a trait I had been previously embarrassed of, thinking I wasn’t a “normal” American compared to other kids.  I wasn’t a normal kid by any standard of the word, often more so exceptional than others and unique, different.  But in the setting of the private school I was opened up to my own culture, which allowed me to feel more comfortable in the smaller settings and also opened up to a complex belief system of prayer and worship of God.  Both of these aspects provided a sense of solidarity within me, and helped me feel safer at that age than any other.

              I had crushes on some of the girls in third and fourth grade, and I think some of them had a crush on me.  I was cool, rowdy and rough, highly intelligent and creative, spiritual, and most importantly a good friend.  I was very interested in sex, and I really wanted to try it out, though I imagined myself with a grown woman.  When I was eight years old, shortly after attending the private school, I made a blood pact with God so that He would send me a woman that I could sleep with.  I wrote down what I wanted, knowing that God was omniscient and omnipotent, and that He loved me unconditionally.  I promised to say a bunch of Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s, and then I buried the paper in our front yard.

           Suffice it to say, God did not send a woman to me, not then anyway.  However, I did have a vivid fantasy of being wrapped up in a woman’s arms with her breasts pressing against me, and I got very horny from this fantasy. It was the first time in my life I consciously desired sex at the age of eight, which was shortly after being cut off from all my female friends in our previous town that I was close to.  The incident at the birthday party of Huda made my parents think twice about setting me up with girls of Armenian parents, and I felt from that moment onto my later years that this lack of female influence has often been a concern of my own, as I value and love intimacy and male/female relationships are very rewarding, especially for a person like me who is both straight and also very sensitive and intelligent, and who has much attention and care to give someone and take as well, as I am in need of these things myself.

              I remember being very confident in myself at the Armenian Catholic school, both in my social ability as well as my academic abilities, though in the first trimester or two (our years were split up three ways) I did poorly comparatively to my previous academic successes at the liberal preschool and elementary school of Potsdam.  There, I was exceeding all expectation and working ahead in both math and reading to much higher grade levels, in second grade finishing up a fifth grader’s work towards the end of the year and doing more complex math and algebra by then.  The Catholic school was difficult for many reasons.  There lessons were also advanced and far stricter in grading, which I had previously not been worried about in the liberal school I went to before.  Also, there were many courses that required an understanding of the Armenian language, speaking, reading, and writing it, and reciting and memorizing long winded Armenian verse to perform in front of audiences, which were most often about the Genocide I believe.  In these things I did more poorly at first, and the level of education and demands of this school system were much higher than the public system I went to previously, so I can recall my mother screaming and possibly hitting me at age eight over not wanting to do homework, and myself crying under the pressure.  I did, however, shine at the end of the first year and throughout the second and last year at that school, getting mostly O’s (outstanding) and otherwise C’s (competent).  There were only three grades, O, C, and F I think, so the first few trimesters I received my first failing grades of my life and my first major challenges and obstacles in the academic spheres.  I was still a fond fan of schoolwork though, and practiced made up math problems for fun when I was this age, just to challenge myself.  I also played word games and word searches, and read many books still avidly seeking and looking for more.

I started going to church for the first time right after my family moved to Philadelphia.  It was an Armenian, Protestant church, pretty liberal, with decent people and activities for the kids.  I made a good friend here; his name was Ara.  He was hilarious and very smart.  We used to get into a lot of trouble together.  One time when we were older, just before I stopped going to church, we actually smoked pot before Sunday school.  Other times we broke things, took food out of the kitchen without permission, and terrorized our little siblings, who were our charges while our parents were busy socializing with the community of Armenians who attended the church. 

      I remember Sunday School, another safe haven from the outside world.  I loved learning my whole youth, and still am academically oriented, as I am generally a writer by trade and enjoy reading often also.  At the time, we were learning, of course, The Bible, and The Word, which is God.  I loved Jesus growing up; his story I took as actual fact, which is how it was taught, though the Old Testament I questioned the most, as I still believe it is largely metaphor and arguably a completely different religion and text.  I believed in the miracles and the power of prayer from that early experience of God, and would find myself receiving the things I asked for in prayer.

I was wise for my years and had a natural, intuitive grasp of prayer and limitations, especially after my first failure for a women with this new God I had just been introduced to, and I knew much more than I could consciously describe as of then.  I think I often prayed for forgiveness, and felt that I was forgiven, and also prayed for the wellbeing of both my people and other people that I did not know but knew about, underprivileged and suffering people especially.  I always felt these prayers were heard and addressed by this higher power, and I felt safe in the church and at Catholic School due to my belief and my cultural roots. 

I specifically remember praying for a video game I wanted, not telling my parents about it on purpose to see if I’d get it anyway, and they bought it for me without me asking the next Christmas.  I may have been overheard talking about it, or maybe it was just coincidence; it was the Super Nintendo “Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”, and my folks had just bought me, on their own, the original “Legend of Zelda” in 1988 when we first got our original Nintendo.  So they may have just done their own research, and if so I believe that my prayer prompted the decision to purchase the game for our next holiday.

I started going to bible camp every summer at this time, and this went on until I was fifteen.  That was the last time I went.  It was so much fun!  We ate a lot, walked a lot, played a lot of sports and games, talked, did group bonding activities, and got in touch with God.  I remember staying up late in our bunks talking and playing truth or dare.  The guys were in one cabin and the girls another.  Every year we hiked to this mill where we hung out for a while before hiking back.  The hike took us several hours, and we were all tired by the time we got back to the camp. 

My early memories of bible camp included all these activities, and also I can clearly remember the group of kids at age eight, my first year there.  We would stay up late after bedtime in our rustic cabin that shielded us from the wind and rain.  There were bunks in this cabin-type sleeping arrangement, with just enough room between the four walls to hold the group for our age.  We’d stay up late and swap stories, tell jokes, and just talk about many things, as kids are wont to do.  It was a feeling of togetherness and companionship I felt with more “normal” American kids, that in this safe setting I was able to fully open up to and really revel in being social and happy about it.  Some of my best times were at this Bible Camp, camp Fernwood in the sticks of PA, where I became more and more comfortable within the faith I was given unto and other people involved in it.

When I was thirteen, the boys were old enough to be more than a little interested in the girls at camp.  We would stay up and talk about who we thought was hot, what they would like to do with them, what their chances of doing stuff with them was, and anything and everything else related to girls.  My thirteenth year at camp was especially good.  Our showers were outside and open air with a wall separating the boys’ side and the girls’ side, though we could hear each other talking over the wall.  That year, all the boys decided to pull a prank and threw their boxers over the wall to the girls’ side.  Of course, they all screamed and laughed with delight, which we liked.  What we liked even more was that the girls threw their panties over the wall to our side.  That was great.  We all walked back from the showers with each others’ underwear in our pockets.  My thirteenth year was the only good teenage year I had; all through the rest of them I was suffering so badly from mental illness aggravated by drug use that I really did not enjoy myself or even feel good most of the time.

The Beginning of Spirituality

As I mentioned previously, in my early youth I had powerful spiritual experiences tied directly to nature, and a feeling like there were spirits in our house, protecting my family and myself.  One experience that was off and on starting at age four was a natural ability to “whisper the wind”.  I would project a part of myself towards a patch of trees in silence, which would start blowing in the breeze, and then retract and hush that part of me, in a state of total Zen with the wind, that would respond to my decisions as though it was an extension of myself.  I can still do this, and could show you a simple magic trick that I showed my last counselor to his amazement, in which I direct cigarette smoke in a still room in any direction I say it will go at a distance, without using any breath or physical contact.  I’ve been gifted as a whisperer, a wiz at communication in my life and often extrasensory communication, when it was working well and not hindered by other forces or my own mistakes.  I can remember double checking my answers on tests by sending my Intent of the question asked to my teacher with the Intent of collecting information.  I would then hear/see his voice, which was unconscious to himself, respond as though he was speaking and affirm or negate my question.  I got straight A’s with mostly 100 percent that year with that teacher, though I changed very much every year that went by, as that was when I was ten years old in fifth grade.

              At that same age, age ten, I started staying up all night reading books.  Two of which that I recall well were Steven Kings unabridged, “The Stand”, a whopping 1100 pages, that I read like lightning, just eating it up.  I read many books at night during this time, and I recall a repeated event that I was familiar with at that time of my life that implies a form of spirit contact.  I would be immersed in the book, and all of a sudden my head would instinctually snap up, glare for a moment at a spot on my bedroom wall, which would then immediately knock, and I would just jump back into the book I was reading, taking it for granted that I had a knowing way about me and not having any clue what this actually meant.  This happens all the time to me now in my home.  I can feel/see a spot on the wall that will knock, as the presence enters the physical world, and point with my eyes to where the knock will occur, and read the inflection and the meaning of the knocks to indicate character and a form of communication.  This is well understood in the Spiritualist Church that consists of belief in the afterlife and communing with spirits. I learned of this church much later in life and have attending their sermons several times in Watertown, and I was interested in learning more, though the Minister only laughed and said that this isn’t like “The Return of the Jedi” where special training is done.  Rather, the church was mainly a place to worship God as the Creator and Love Itself, to sing psalms about the Spirit, and to do healing exercises with mediumship and psychic readings.

              In any case, my levels of experience and understanding of spirituality are natural and inherent to both my physiology and my consciousness, though I’ve trained myself using many guidebooks as help to give me instructions pertaining to topics like Spiritual Warriorship, Healing, Dreaming, and philosophy and belief, conditioning one’s awareness and energy body, and other types of things I’ve delved into with both books and direct experience in my waking or dreaming life.  Much of this I will account for later, as I got heavily involved in intensive reading of spiritual material as I aged into late high school and college years, so I will come to that part of my life in due time.

The Pool

              Another experience I had between age eight and probably age eleven or twelve was to be involved with a swim club at a pool in another town.  They had different grades of swimmers, from guppies to sharks and whales, and I was progressing up the ladder quickly.  I was in pretty good shape and was very good at holding my breath, and though I was never very fast I could swim continuously for a long time at that age.  I knew all my strokes anyway, and my brother and I did this activity together with my mother driving us back and forth.

              I remember the showers where we’d wash the chlorine off of our bodies.  I never stripped completely and would only wash over my swim shorts, and can’t for the life of me remember if older men were there showering nude or not.  If so, I would have been quick to look away and keep my eyes on myself, as I was a strictly controlled kid, and plus I’m entirely straight.  The pool was another place where there was a strange kind of detachment from the “normal” Americans vs. us Armenians and myself a hypersensitive in their midst.  Some of the older kids were somewhat of bullies, and my brother and I were often alone swimming together at free time and away from the rest of the group.  I have always felt a kind of wall between myself and others, even my own family, and this, as I’ve said, is due to my own secret experiences with nature and the occult, starting consciously as early as age four.  This separated me from “normal” people throughout my entire life, and has left me wanting in a way to share and care with others by “being entirely myself” and being accepted fully for who I am and what I can do.

Video Games, an Early Addiction

The years between age eight and age fourteen were good.  I had Aram as my best friend, as well as plenty of other friends.  The only thing missing from my life was girls.  I had many girlfriends when I was growing up in Potsdam, and I missed female company my own age very badly.  For whatever reason, my parents did not try to get me involved with any girls my age from the time that we moved to Philly onwards.  I was on my own in that regard.  My family did not even really give me any clear cut messages about picking up girls my age, either as friends or girlfriends.  My parents are strange in many ways, one of which being that I never once saw them flirt in any way growing up.  They were almost like two machines in the marriage, programmed responses and all, just a quick kiss on the mouth every day my dad came home from work like clockwork, no real flirtatiousness.  I had to muddle my way through, making many mistakes and suffering anxiety and low self esteem in the process.  Many other kids my age were dealing with the same thing, and I was still considered a dork or nerd during those years, though I had a deep confidence in myself that reflected both my intelligence and my self regard as a capable kid.

Once when I was ten or eleven, Blockbuster Video was taking part in a video game competition.  I won at the local store and went to the regional trials in New Jersey.  If I had won there I would have received five thousand dollars and an all expense paid trip to LA for the nationals.  I lost in New Jersey, but the experience was fun.  What I remember about that was that the mall in New Jersey where the competition was being held was so big that it had an amusement park within it.  A modest amusement park, but an amusement park nonetheless.  Also, the other people (mostly adults) that were in the competition were very good.  I hadn’t practiced playing the game we were presented with all that much, as it was not one of my favorites.  It was NBA Jam, and I hardly played sports games unless I was playing them with Aram.

I was an avid gamer most of my life.  That is one addiction, at least, that I have lost over the years.  Video games, television, and books don’t take nearly as much of my time as they did when I was young.  I’m currently only into Diablo 3, the demon hunting game that has left some people without work, wives and children and homes.  I love it and play in moderation most of the time, so I don’t feel this past addiction is anything to be concerned with in my present life. 

Anyway, I played video games a lot growing up.  Ever since I was eight years old, Role Playing Games have taken up an enormous amount of my time.  And action adventure, with power-ups and upgrades to weapons, tools, and other gear.  Like the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  Or Final Fantasy 3.  Both of those were games that I played a lot, and two of my favorite all timers.  I was always fascinated by anything and everything magical, due to my own inherent nature, and role playing games are chock full of magical ideation, spells and items, and big bosses.  Always saving the world, always a hero; I couldn’t get enough of this when I was a kid.

I remember getting so into games at times that I would literally spend whole days playing.  This has happened to me as an adult as well, though I never play like this at present.  I find it easy to control this habit, as it simply controls itself by not being appealing to me after a few hours a day of playing, not necessarily every day at all.  Something about pressing a button that makes something happen on TV seemed thrilling to me.  I remember feeling like I had control over what the TV was doing as early as age four, when I was first introduced to Nintendo in 1986 at my favorite cousin’s home with his family.  I was always striving to be the best player.  I used to play at arcades as well, though I did not do as well there with the joy-stick. 

Video games have annoyed my parents if I played too much.  I remember one time when we rented Final Fantasy 3, and I was trying to beat the whole game in three days.  I literally played from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep.  It is a long game and I didn’t beat it, but I kept putting off taking it back to Blockbuster Video.  Finally, my father became enraged and he took the game from the console and drove it over to the store.  My parents have always believed in doing things in moderation, and my father especially would get upset if we overdid things.  They did little to discipline us in any real way, however; most of my discipline I received as a result of my own efforts or via school.  They would be categorized as permissive parents, with many obvious traits in me growing up like anger management issues, tendencies on violence, drug addiction and other addictions, and many other traits I’m sure you are familiar with.  This was easy to live early on with, but became very problematic as I got older and life became more serious.

My Early Drinking and Drug Use

When I was twelve, something happened that changed my life irrevocably, though at the time it seemed trivial.  One day, I walked home with a group of kids that I hardly knew.  They hung out at my parents’ house with me for a few hours.  While they were over, I snuck some scotch from my father’s liquor cabinet.  It was Dewer’s, a brand I am very familiar with.  My father always drank that, and I took from his bottle God only knows how many times between ages twelve and age twenty nine, when he finally started locking it up.  I enjoyed the buzz, though I was mainly doing it to be cool, and I didn’t really think about drinking after that. For quite some time.  This single, isolated incident was triggered by the fact that my dad’s dad, my paternal grandfather, was dying of lung cancer in our home.  I felt this strongly at the time, and spent some time talking and listening to the old man as he recounted his life in broken English.  I could hardly understand Armenian by then, and though over the course of a week or two in the company of my extended family on vacations my ear would become much more developed for listening, I did not speak very well at all and still do not.  In any case, my grandfather was depressive at the end of his life, and was slowly and painfully dying in our home.

When I was thirteen I started hanging out with David, Ben, Matt, and Jay from the public school I was attending.  Dave was my closest (non Armenian) friend.  He was highly intelligent and creative, playing both the guitar and the piano.  He also played chess and ping pong and had a ping pong table in his basement.  We used to walk home from school and play ping pong, eat food, and generally get goofy and laugh a lot together.  I was also pretty close to Ben at the beginning and throughout my teenage years.  Matt we stopped hanging out with shortly after I joined their group.  Jay is a story all by himself.  He may have had more impact on my life than any other one person.  Unfortunately, that impact was largely negative.  I often wish I had never hung out with that crew during that time, or at least not have ditched my friend Aram and later Dave due to peer pressure, and certainly never have become a pothead at that stage in my life, when I was very vulnerable and sensitive, and more importantly immature.  Many of my memories of being a pothead at age fourteen through seventeen are like a psychological and emotional nightmare, which ended my entire reality and shattered my mind permanently at age seventeen due to excessive drug use and especially psycho-actives, tripping basically.  Even so, many of my memories of Jay are good ones, when my mood disorder would swing manic and I’d feel up to partying. During those times I had a blast with these people and others I knew in high school.

Dave was my closest friend among non-Armenians at age thirteen.   He was intelligent, creative, funny, goofy, and had hobbies that I shared with him.  We played chess, ping pong, and guitar together, and we liked to cook and eat as well.  He also played the piano; I thought he was really good.  He was friends with Jay before I was and they had smoked pot together a few times and had fun.  That’s how I met Jay, through Dave.  I remember thinking he was cool because he was depressive and an insomniac, and I was listening to grunge rock at the time.  I noticed many of the cooler people were more depressive, very obvious looking back from this perspective to the early to mid-nineties, the time of Kurt Cobain and Smashing Pumpkins.  I actually wanted to be cooler, and thought I could use a good depression of my own.  When I was thirteen, I started consciously messing with my sleep cycle, and professed insomnia at the time, though I was faking it and could still sleep just fine if I just let myself.  This by itself probably contributed severely to my upcoming mental destabilization, in the year preceding my beginnings of being a pothead. 

I also started hanging out with Ben at age thirteen, having first met him at a week-long school camping trip for sixth graders.  He was tall, lanky, smart, and he also played guitar.  He loved video games as well, and that’s part of how we started hanging out.  In eighth grade we were in the same homeroom class and sat close to each other.  We started talking, at first just about video games, and I started hanging out with him from time to time to show him secrets in games.  I thought he was pretty cool at the time, and I really liked his family, they are super friendly and eccentric, the oldest son being a prodigy of his own and the whole family intelligent and creative.  I clearly remember his dad cheering me on at a local baseball game that I did well in, playing against Ben’s team, which I think might have made him jealous at the time.  Boys will be boys I guess.

When we were thirteen, Dave, Jay, Matt, and I got drunk a few times and got rowdy, which was fun. I remember the first time drinking in public, which was also the first time I got drunk.  I was hanging out with a kid from the neighborhood named Jeff, who I’d been friends with since fifth grade, as he lived around the corner from me.  At the time, Jeff was something of a compulsive liar, which I knew full well, but he was my only company from that school system for three years, and he lived in a ghetto type part of a town adjacent to my own neighborhood, which was right on the border.  We went to pools, played arcades, and watched TV with his older sister as we grew up, but we grew apart in this final year of middle school with me hanging out with new friends, who I felt were cooler people.  I was already getting sucked into the ideology of teenagers, the social structure, and the needs to be popular, likeable, and sexy. 

At the time of our first drinking bout we were on the other side of town, about an hour’s walk away.  I got hammered and so did he off of booze that I had stolen from my parents.  There were a few other kids there that were also trouble and they smashed some of my bottles I had brought to share with them.  Jeff and I stumbled our way home, hanging onto each other like a couple of hobos, falling over sometimes.  We were very lucky we didn’t run into any cops. 

When I got home, I told my brother that I was drunk.  I think he was scared, though I hadn’t really beaten on him for several years.  And even when I used to beat on him, I would only punch him in the arm, never the face.  Maybe he thought I was going to get mean, who knows?  He may just have been afraid of getting into trouble with my parents; he was only ten after all.  That evening my family went out to Pizza Hut for dinner.  I remember feeling confident that I could pass for being sober, and I acted and spoke as well as I could.  My parents were pretty easy to fool anyway, especially because at that point, they had no reason to suspect that I had ever drank without their permission.

My friends and I also got drunk off of my parents’ liquor several times that year.  Once, I skateboarded fifteen minutes away with a backpack full of booze on me.  My friends thought I was so cool.  I had a blast.  I started chugging vodka and gin like it was water and got hammered fast.  When we went to one of their houses, Jay and I were butting heads, throwing each other into walls and falling over.  I remember the feeling of losing control at that time was enjoyable, and I liked how getting rowdy was more fun and less painful when you are drunk.  Little did I know that I was setting up the stage for later alcoholism at an early age, as most early drinkers do in a country of binging.

 We also got into trouble doing things like setting off firecrackers or M80’s, blowing up glass bottles full of match heads and other things with firecracker wicks attached to their caps.  We generally just fooled around and did things to get in innocent trouble, innocent compared to the messes of my life much later on, and at that time I was still well most of the time and had yet to suffer the onset of major mental disorder, which developed soon into my freshman year of high school.  We just had fun when I was thirteen and acted like kids, as kids do. 

It’s funny but obvious how drugs change everything, and the more of them you do the more things change.  At that point, however, I was still involved in many pro-social activities with other good people such as Tang Soo Do, church, after school activities, extracurricular stuff like chorus, and I was also getting very good grades.  No major problems to worry about, and a lot of positive influences still heavily involved in my life.  I had yet to detach from Aram entirely in my life and that friendship was still a major factor in my overall happiness and understanding of myself for my age.  Also, being involved with church (that was the final year) still had me believing in God and prayer, which was a positive aspect of my life and upbringing.  Age fourteen was much different than age thirteen; it was then that I suffered my first major depression and also paranoia and early psychosis developed then.

At age thirteen we used to skateboard and play hacky-sack all the time.  I was terrible at skateboarding but was really good at hacking.  All of us were, though I may have been the best in our little group.  I certainly played the most, about five hours a day between the four lunch blocks at school and hacking with Jay and Ben after school.  I've never seen anyone play hacky-sack that was better than me at my best, during ninth and tenth grade.  Hacking was the best part of those years, that and my revelatory experiences on more potent hallucinogenic drugs like mushrooms and LSD.  Hacky-sack has the virtue of being non-violent and non-competitive in the circles we played in, though there are competitive forms of this game as well.  I remember starting at age twelve on my own in my parents’ home in my bedroom, and then playing with these new friends at the Home Depot where we would skateboard and get into a bunch of craziness.  That was my only real full year of teenage years that I felt positive throughout and also was successful in school entirely and generally content with my life. 

Differences

At this point in the story I’m at the part of my life where I get into what the story is really about, which is my struggle with mental illness and addiction.  I didn’t start having negative symptoms of mental illness, other than social anxiety and a feeling of being different, until I started smoking pot every day when I was fourteen, though some symptoms had been there my whole life.  For one thing, I had always hallucinated and gone into visionary states without drugs.  Some of my earliest memories are of hallucinating.  When I was six years old, I temporarily experienced an unusual state of mind which led to confusion, anxiety, loneliness, and depression.  I would look at other kids in class and hear different thoughts.  Not the thoughts of the children themselves, or if they were there, they were overpowered by the thoughts of the adults in their lives that were thinking about them.  I would look at someone and hear/see thoughts surrounding them, thoughts of adults.  I actually asked my mom if it was possible to read people’s minds.  She told me no, and the aftermath of that was one of the deepest depressions I have ever gone through, especially as a child.  I felt different from everyone else, and that feeling has stuck with me to this day.  I am different from most people, in many ways.  My propensity to hallucinate is only one example.  I felt at the time cut off even more than usual, from my own family, my own mother, and the students in my school.  I was very lonely and depressed, and felt I’d be better off dead.  One realization I had during this time was that in the future I’d be considered crazy, like a crazy person that is out of control.  I think I also saw a vision of the world ending, as any major breakthrough in altered states in my life has proven this to happen every time.

I was a vivid dreamer early on, and could enter lucid dreams on my own.  I also had the ability to induce visual hallucinations while waking, including a sort of spiraling and curling of my field of vision of the floor of our bathroom while sitting on the toilet at an early age.  I also was a visionary regarding book reading; I would slip into a deep trance and just vision the books I was reading, often without even seeing words on page.  The last time this happened in my life for a whole series of books was when I read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” in my fourteenth year, high the whole time.  In that sense, I lost something precious to me growing up, the ability to innately vision books and enter full blown, waking visionary states.  Sometimes nowadays I slip into a deep but short lived trance in which the veil over my closed eye vision is parted and I see a beautiful world in front of me, only to be taken away from my sight quickly.  A fleeting vision, a lost gift.

Luckily for me, I stopped hearing people think.  I don’t know what did it, but I have a memory of around that time where I felt like I was being asPaulted by pain throughout my entire body.  I was literally crawling on the floor in agony; I couldn’t even stand up.  After a while, I started wondering when the pain was going to go away, and I actually started laughing at myself.  I believe the episode of Seeing prompted this pain, and I didn’t cry out for help or even talk to my folks about it, deeply intuiting that an explanation would be necessary and knowing full well my father’s beliefs and expectations in life.  I was brilliant, actually, and I believe to this day that my vision of the world’s ending, being at the end of my natural life in an Ice Age, and my then fear and desperate telepathic projection of this terrifying revelation was what prompted the pain.  When I started laughing at the end of this three day stretch, it was, in poetic form, “in sight of gods and men”, and I believe the powers that be came to an accord over me.  I was made to forget the whole experience and have the memory deeply buried, if only to shut me up and make me safe, and whatever else was fated about my life at this moment eventually came to pass in my future.

I always had a “magical” mindset.  This is not unusual for kids, and no one thought anything strange of it, especially because I seemed to be responsible about myself, maintaining healthy relationships and getting good grades.  I was also gifted with logic and reason, and was doing long division in first grade and algebra in second, and I was proud of that ability in me, as it appeased my father’s needs and he was proud of me as well.  My “magical thinking” continued beyond childhood, however, up until present day actually, and for a long time it was very unhealthy.  I still struggle with negative hallucinations, though some hallucinations are positive and enjoyable, even enlightening.  I expect that a sense of magic about life will always be with me.  I see things on many levels, and can analyze and interpret data in some ways that seem to work for me.

The extent of my mental illness as a younger child was a streak of violence, anxiety and fear, and an addictive personality.  My addictions consisted of books, video games, and television.  I used to take tremendous joy in reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies.  I could spend the whole day doing these things.  At some point, they lost their appeal.  It coincided with the time that I started smoking pot every day.  Then, all I wanted to do was to listen to music.

Marijuana, Loss, and SAD

When I was fourteen, I started smoking pot every day.  I did not do this because I liked smoking pot, in fact I hated it.  I did it because I thought it made me cool and I wanted to be cool.  Of course, no one came out and told me that not following your heart is an un-cool thing to do, but that’s something that should be understood without any overt advice being given.  I did understand it, and I never felt like I was really cool, probably because I wasn’t even listening to how I felt.  Drugs ruined me, and they are still ruining my life today when I get involved with them.  This is truer of alcohol than any other drug.  I rarely do any other drugs besides alcohol and marijuana, and I don’t think pot is really a problem.  However, hallucinogens have taken the heaviest toll on my mind and feelings, and I always say I will never trip again.

I think the primary problem with being a pothead, other than the lack of motivation and lower IQ, is the fact that your feelings reach a new balance with regular intake, which puts you in a position to continue using weed indefinitely.  It becomes an addiction, and the main issue isn’t so much the fact that you are addicted; rather, it is whether or not you can maintain your addiction in a healthy way.  Luckily for potheads, marijuana has a natural way of turning different on people that smoke, so that they either smoke much less or not at all after a certain point. 

Being largely a psychoactive and psychologically effective drug, different life circumstances or different brain chemistry can contribute to pot’s changing effects on the brain and body.  I’ve had this happen to me over the years, from hating it during my fourteenth year, to only liking it when manic in fifteen and sixteen, being terrified of smoking at seventeen, and finding it an occasional relief of my mental symptoms during ages eighteen through twenty. 

I always have found I like it much more in fewer amounts, once in a day only once a week, perhaps, in a high dose all at once.  Otherwise, the negative side effects of regular smoking set it and I find I do not enjoy the stuff at all after the first time, or first few.  Historically this has been different, but currently this is how it is, and I prefer myself this way, as it curbs any addiction to this powerful plant.

While in this new balance, you may develop other symptoms of marijuana use.  Paranoia, anxiety (pot can reduce or increase anxiety depending on many factors such as the type of pot it is, how often you smoke, your life circumstances regarding marijuana use such as your friends’ and families opinions of it, etc.), overeating, lethargy, and maybe even a sense of emptiness are all indications that you are using too much.  But if you are at the point where you are smoking to be normal, then you may find ways of integrating your drug use into your mindset and lifestyle so that it does not become destructive.  When I was fourteen, however, I was a very sick individual, and I should have been avoiding recreational drugs entirely.  Although no one knew it at the time, I was suffering from early symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, and in the midst of my first episode of major depression in the fall and winter of that year. Mixing a drug that can make you paranoid into my brain's chemicals was just aggravating my condition.

My parents caught me smoking pot shortly after I began, and they took me to a psychologist.  The guy diagnosed me with seasonal effective disorder, or SAD.  That was my first real diagnosis, though far from my last.  It must have affected me deeply, as during my time in high school after this point I was always depressive starting at the beginning of the school year or the very end of summer, up through winter and then I started swinging manic in the Spring and fully blown mania in the Summer, which I took as a type of happiness that I became accustomed to expecting during those four years. 

I can’t remember all the details, but basically what happened was my parents told me if I was going to do drugs, do them in the house.  I still don’t understand their reasoning, but they were trying to do the best they could, and that’s what they told me.  Actually, when I was fifteen they let me grow pot in my bedroom closet, another decision I don’t really understand.  At the time I loved it.  My whole house smelled great, at least in my opinion.

My parents’ reaction at the time both scared and confused me more.  Instead of being more involved at that stage of life, they became much less involved, which may typify the parenting of some people during teenage years, though I do not agree with my parents’ parenting style at all, which I have mentioned is very permissive and without much discipline.  However, I was used to being expected to bring in good grades and be a good kid, and I knew drugs were bad, so my parents’ response seemed out of character for them.  They were basically scared and confused themselves, and not knowing how to discipline children in the first place, only withdrew more and more as the time went on.

So I suffered from long-term depression for the first time during my fourteenth year and experienced my first real manic swing in the spring.  Part of the reason I was severely depressed, and probably a large contributor of me not liking marijuana, was what happened with Dave.  Dave found a girlfriend in our first year of high school, Kristy.  Basically, he was whipped over her.  He is a deeply romantic individual, and I can see how he could get caught up in the charms of a girl.  She did not want him to smoke pot, so he said he wasn’t going to.  This wasn’t cool with us, or maybe it just wasn’t cool with Jay, who felt he had lost his drug buddy to a girl, and felt offended by this at the time. The rest of us went along with him. 

I went along as well, even though Dave was my best friend in the group.  That abandonment of both my better sense and my feelings was what really caused me to be messed up and depressed.  The weed made me more anxious, stupid, and paranoid, but I had a legitimate reason to be down.  I hated myself for turning my back on a good friend who had never done me any harm.  Another friend I lost at that time was Aram, who I didn’t really have a fight or break with, but only withdrew from knowing him and with him not really doing much to stop it.  We basically just grew apart, but in my fourteen year old mind, I was embarrassed and ashamed of smoking weed and felt he wouldn’t recognize who I’d become, and I was deeply sorry for not nurturing that friendship further through high school. 

I remember the last time I hung out with Dave that year.  We had all been hanging out at my house, and we were all smoking pot, other than Dave.  At the end it was just me and him.  I remember that just before he left he said, “I guess this is goodbye”.  I was stoned at the time, but I think I understood on some level what he meant.  “I guess this is goodbye”, as in, “I guess this is the end of our friendship”.  I think I might have called him to apologize afterwards but I don’t think he picked up and I didn’t try again.  When I look back at my life from the present, I still see that decision to abandon Dave for my “cooler” friends, along with neglecting and basically ending the time of best friendship with Aram, as two of the pivotal mistakes I have made.  That decision changed everything about me.

In any case, I was smoking pot every day, and all of the negative side effects of such a habit plagued me incessantly.  It’s generally a bad idea to give a paranoid schizophrenic marijuana, though nobody knew about the extent of my condition as of yet.  I was doing my best to put on a good face, ignore my mental problems, and get with the program of getting high.  I can handle pot when I am taking full doses of medication along with it.  Medication that treats paranoia and delusional thinking.  Actually, I thoroughly enjoy pot in moderate doses from time to time, as long as I am medicated.  Un-medicated, I would be a wreck, probably feeling very anxious, crazy, paranoid, delusional, and other symptoms of my illness that would come out more as well.

Summing up Freshman Year

I don’t remember many details about my first year on drugs, only that I was severely depressed during the fall and winter months, and I pulled out of the depression around April.  I do remember some things, however.  I remember feeling that I was losing control, losing my better sense and sense of self that was, before, something I was comfortable with. I remember that my then “friends” felt a total disconnection from me as I’d been previously, which was upbeat and funny, a natural clown.  Now in my depression and ongoing paranoia and anxiety of pot smoking I was a much different person.  They would mess with me in little ways, making me call to order the food we’d have delivered when we had the munchies, knowing full well that I couldn’t think straight at the time and was embarrassed on the phone.  Jay especially liked putting me down, and this pattern continued in its abusive nature throughout my friendship with him, up until the very end of knowing him.   

I remember that before the break with Dave and Aram, I smoked once and got an incredible high off of the drug.  My whole body was charged with energy and Ben and I went to bed in his room listening to Nine Inch Nails, the Downward Spiral, which is a deeply dark and depressive album but incredibly high intensity and energetic industrial rock.  I felt that the whole bed was shaking at the time.

The first time I had a very bad reaction to pot was when we smoked a huge joint rolled by Jay’s older brother for us.  He called it “Fat Boy” as it was very thick especially at the end and middle.  I had never smoked that much, and I had a frightening experience at Burger King where I stopped being able to hear entirely.  The words spoken to me by the cashier were lost in a haze, and my responses were outside of my own control or dictation.  I’d never had anything like this happen before, and it was very disorienting.  I ate a burger and felt the world spinning around me.  Then I went to the bathroom and puked up my food, my eyes a bloodshot purple.  It was awful, and catalyzed the change in my moods towards and during the use of marijuana, though I did not quick for another three years.

              I slept a lot that year, though I was still doing all my homework and doing well in my courses.  I would sleep right through some classes.  In my French class, the teacher would wake me up by calling on me and asking a question.  I would come out of my doze, half awake, slur an answer (which would be correct), then go back to sleep.  I think she thought I was a genius or something, and I always got A’s in her class.

              I also took a music theory class that year.  For that we used to have to run up to the chalkboard and write in notes that we would figure out based on relative pitch.  Basically, the teacher would play one note followed by another.  The first note would already be written up on the chalkboard, and the second one we had to run up and write, just based on what we heard.  Whoever was first to the board with the correct answer would get prizes.  My friend Dave and I were always the first ones up there, even though we were just freshmen and there were seniors in that class.  And we were always right.  This class that we shared was the last bit of our friendship that only occurred during the class itself.  It came during and after the major break, and I was happy to be on good terms with him at this time, even though it was hidden from my other friends and not something social outside of the class.  That was a sad loss to me, as he was gifted in ways I was as well, and I really loved hanging out with him before that point.  Much later, the group got back together, along with other kids our age, and we all used to hang out as we were older, though that pertains to sections further on in this book.

              In a third class, I believe it was history, I had a crazy Albanian teacher who used to dance around in front of us like a fat clown.  He was hilarious.  Once, he was giving us a lecture on being a renaissance man.  He called it being a “well rounded” individual.  He mentioned some “well rounded” teachers we had at school, all of them pretty fat.  He included himself in this list as being “well rounded”, because he was fat as well.  The kids got a kick out of that.  He used to sing to us sometimes, just nonsense that he made up on the spot. “Ooooooh Laura, you are so-o coo-oo-ool, I love to see you, when you come to school.”   I’m pretty sure he was getting baked before school, because his eyes were always a ruddy red at the start of class and glassy, and by the end they looked normal.  He was eccentric and goofy enough for me to believe this, and once I wrote on a test, asking him of this.  His response was “what does it mean, get baked?”  I never knew for sure, but I always thought he was just dodging the question to not get in trouble.  He also smoked a pack a day of cigarettes, and I heard later that he’d died of a heart condition in the years after my graduation from that school.

              I remember going up to Jay’s mountain house in the Poconos.  They had a nice place in the woods in a nice area up in the mountains.  We always had fun up there, hanging out and getting into trouble, and there were a lot of activities to take part in.  When we stayed in, we ate good food, played board games like three dimensional checkers, and listened to the radio.  Of course, we were always smoking pot as well.  When we went out we would go swimming or hiking around, again smoking pot wherever we went.

The first time I went up there was shortly after I had started smoking up.  I was not at the point where I did not enjoy it, not yet.  That only happened after the fallout with Dave.  I remember one night we got high on a path by the lake near their place, and Jay’s older brother, who was there with his girlfriend, bummed us cherry cigarillos that increased our high.  We didn’t smoke tobacco at that point, so we caught a good buzz off of the smokes.

I remember going on the Alpine Slide.  This was a track that ran down a mountain, that you went down on what was basically a sled with wheels.  The track was concrete, and in some parts steep, so if you went full speed it could be dangerous.  You could adjust the speed with a lever between your legs, that would lower or raise the wheels, I believe.  In order to get up the mountain there was a ski-lift that ran on cables with glass walls and windows.  We rode that thing up to the top of the mountain, and came flying back down it on those sleds.  It was a lot of fun.

Another day we went to a Native American festival, maybe on a reservation.  They had singing, chanting, and dancing, as well as arts and crafts.  I remember liking the scene there; this was long before I developed a passion for Native American culture, though even at that time I was interested in them.  They were a downtrodden people who were massacred, and so are Armenians.  We have something in common culturally.  Armenians are also very well known for their interest in the arts and humanities and are very spiritual, as are the Natives.

Another time during that trip, we went to a German restaurant.  I was so stoned I couldn’t read the menu.  I just pointed at something and said, “I’ll have this.” 

The waiter asked, “Ox’s tail soup?”  I said yes and he took my menu.  Jay thought that was hilarious, me ordering like that.  He would often get annoyed with me for acting stoned when I was high in the two years we were hanging out all the time, because at that point he was hiding it from his parents.  But that was one case where he thought it was funny as well.  Acting cool was always important to us at that age.  Handling drugs was an indication of someone being cool, and I knew that.  That’s one reason I didn’t like myself during that time; I couldn’t handle drugs very well after I started smoking pot.

On another trip there, we ate some mushrooms and went to an amusement park.  I don’t remember anything about the park; only that at one point, when we were in line to get food, I made an ass of myself.  We were waiting in line and I said something like, “damn nigga, you crazy.”  Jay started laughing, and then he turned and looked behind me.  His laugh died on his lips and he looked sheepish.  I turned and saw an African American family with parents and a couple of kids that were younger than us.  I immediately blushed bright red and felt like a fool.  I was tripping at the time, so I guess that made me feel even more awkward.  That night we jumped on one of his neighbor’s trampoline in the rain.  We were laughing our heads off and punching each other while we were doing this.  It was a lot of fun.

Those are my memories of the mountain house, and on the first trip there things were pretty good.  I wasn’t depressed yet, as I would become in a month or so.  This depression would last until springtime, when it abated with the change in clime.  I guess the shrink that diagnosed me with SAD had a point; I did seem to recover from winter depressions in the spring.  This has been a pattern most of my life; there are crisis in the winter and by springtime, things stabilize and get better.

Fall Down, Spring Up, Magic Reawakened

By the end of April, I had started having positive experiences with marijuana, and the negative ones seemed less intense.  I was getting used to it and building a tolerance as well.  Once, I left school during my gifted independent class, where we could basically do whatever we wanted to, and went home to get high.  When I got back to school, I put on my walkman and listened to “The Delicate Sounds of Thunder”, both CD’s.  It was like dreaming while awake, all lights and colors and magic.

At the end of April or beginning of May, I read the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first time in my life.  I’ve read those books many times; I usually read them about once a year, in the spring.  It’s a tradition of mine.  While reading them I would get high, put on Pink Floyd, and just dream the books.  Now that was magical. I don’t remember the details of the visions that I was entering, only that I felt the strong presence of magic and mystery and that I was losing time over reading the books.  I would put my head down to read, look up four hours later, and not know how the time went by so fast.  I’ve never been more deeply moved by a book, not counting Castaneda’s work, which was more powerful in my opinion.  However, for a fantasy story, The Lord of the Rings takes the cake.

In May I took magic mushrooms for the first time, a few months before my fifteenth birthday.  I actually enjoyed mushrooms a great deal.  The feeling that reality itself was full of magic was pervasive, and whatever it was doing to my state of mind, it made me feel ecstatic.  I remember Jay telling me not to turn into a monkey.  That was before the trip as we walked past the high school. I was excited. 

We took the mushrooms sitting in a spot in a park a minute’s walk away from the high school.  At first we felt nothing.  We waited a while and then decided to get high, not feeling anything yet.  As we walked down the path in the park, which was surrounded by woods, Ben let out a yell and jumped.  We all crowded around to see what had startled him.  There was a dead animal in the middle of the path, some kind of rodent probably, not a squirrel though.  At that point the drug started to kick in.  When we smoked up, the effects were potentiated a tenfold.  The spot where we smoked was beautiful, or at least it looked incredibly beautiful to my tuned up eyes.  There was a fallen tree and I think a stream running somewhere nearby.  I remember feeling like I was dreaming while we smoked, like we were all sharing one, incredibly vivid dream.  It was Ben, Kenny, Jay, and I, the four of us getting high, Ken the only one not tripping.

I remember skipping up the path like a schoolgirl.  I’m pretty sure we all were.  We may have actually been chanting some kind of nonsense at the same time, or just laughing.  We got back out on the street and walked to Ben’s house which was about ten minutes away.  The walk was incredible; the sun was setting and everything was glowing.  One thing I always have with me during trips is my appreciation of beauty, especially visual beauty.  Mushrooms, acid, and mescaline all enhance your vision somehow, making it keener and more apt to be subtly effected by patterns, which are everywhere.

I remember very little of the remainder of the trip.  At one point we were smoking pot in Ben’s bedroom, blowing our hits out of the window at the far end.  I remember having a brief moment of clarity and saying, “I’m retarded”.  I think I meant it in a much larger way than simply “right now I’m on drugs”.  More like “I’m retarded to be doing this in the first place” or “I’m retarded in general”.  My friends agreed with me.  I don’t know if they agreed because they thought I was retarded, or that they were saying that they were retarded too.  Maybe both things at the same time.  Multiple levels of communication, interpretation, and thought are a common effect of these drugs as well.  If you really pay attention, you will find that multiple levels in regards to anything are the norm. It’s our inability to appreciate the full nature of reality that makes us see things in a one-sided way. 

Another memory from that night was playing Mario Kart 64 on Ben’s Nintendo 64.  I recall the rainbow level well, with all the flashing lights and colors, and the incredible high of playing this excellent game at the time stuck with me afterwards.  We’d often play this game when we were stoned, as it is capable of four players, and at the very least we would play head-to-head two player matches, trading off on turns.  I was still good at video games, and at least in that one way I could impress my friends.

My father picked me up from Ben’s house at the end of the night, several hours after we ingested the mushrooms.  I was still high.  He didn’t even notice.  When I got home, I went to my room.  I started looking for my pipe because I wanted to smoke again.  What I found was a full nitrous oxide canister from some previous night.  I had a cracker (a tool used to break the seal on the canister and release the contents) and some balloons so I “cracked the whippit”, put on Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Groovin’ to a Pict by Pink Floyd (if you haven’t had the experience of listening to that song, it sounds like what it’s name indicates, figure it out), got under my covers with the lights off, and blew up my brain.  When I huffed that whippit, I was inside the song.   I actually could see the animals chanting, squealing, and dancing around.  I can’t remember if it made me laugh or if I just gaped with my mouth open under my bed covers like I was sitting in a dark tent.

The mushroom trip was fun.  There did not seem to be any negative side effects either, at least not at that point.  I was very naïve, not understanding what I was doing to myself.  I’ve come to terms with this part of my life by assuming the stance that I will never do it again, in any way, shape or form, on any drugs stronger than marijuana, and that only on occasion and never a regular habit.  This is an easy decision for me, as these things get harder and harder to do over time, and I’ve tripped intensively over a hundred times and less intensively maybe several hundred, on drugs other than marijuana.

Summer, Trips, and Kisses

The summer of my fifteenth birthday was pretty good.  It was summertime; I survived the awful winter, and warm days were here again.  I tripped on cough medicine for the first time that summer, but far from the last.  I’ve probably tripped on cough medicine more times than any other tripping drug, more than LSD or Mushrooms, the other big two in my life.  All I remember from that trip was an extraordinarily colorful sunset, purple skies, so to speak, and a lot of interesting conversation. 

I was hanging out with Ben and his older brother, Frank, a man who’s IQ is probably quite a bit higher than my own.  A real star.  He’s the one that introduced us to the drug.  He was fanatic about it at the time, talking about the fourth plateau like Timothy Leary talked about LSD.  Some kind of transcendent experience that alters reality in a drastic way.  Basically, you pass out and puke all over yourself, most likely.  I don’t know if I ever reached the fourth plateau of DXM, but all the stories I heard about it seemed to end with someone waking up somewhere in confusion, not knowing how they got there, with vomit covering their fronts.  Not exactly what I would call a “good trip”, but everyone has their own tastes and preferences.  I can only speak for myself.  Anyway we ate cough medicine and talked on the roof of my house.

Ben and I took 390 mg each, which is a substantial dose, though nowhere near the max I’ve taken.  Frank took more, though I can’t remember how much; he was much more experienced.  He was also much more intelligent than the other two of us, and talking with him that evening opened me up to new ideas.  I remember having that feeling, though most of what was said is lost to memory.

Like I said, that summer passed pretty uneventfully.  We just smoked pot all the time and wandered around, played video games, or went to the pool.  One thing that happened to me was that I kissed a girl for the second time in my life.  The first time was nine years earlier when I was six, and I kissed my friend Diana on the lips just before she moved away to Albuquerque.  I will never forget that.  We were at the top of the stairs to the second floor of my home, and we wanted to kiss goodbye. We went through all different kinds of kisses: a kiss on the cheek, a kiss on the nose, butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses, and finally we did a French kiss.  I can’t remember anything about it other than it was wet, but it felt special.  I really loved that girl.

The second kiss came on a rainy night at bible camp, while we were camped out on an island along the Skukill River.  We had tarps over the sleeping bags, but it poured so badly that they filled with water and fell from the trees on top of us.  I remember waking up with a tarp on my body that was deluged with water.  All the boys had to go under the girls tarp to stay dry.  I was next to one girl, and she invited me to come into her sleeping bag.  I was excited, and we ended up necking all snuggled up together.  I don’t remember her as being particularly attractive, but I didn’t care. I’d never had that much close contact with a girl, and she really liked me.

We made out a bunch of times during that week at bible camp.  There was another couple in our group; two kids that had come from the same town that were boyfriend and girlfriend.  They were always making out as well.  Bible camp: a great place to get some action, I guess.  I also made out with another girl at my church and felt her up.  She had grown up with me in the same Sunday School class at the church and respected me for my intelligence and confidence, and that was one thing girls always had liked about me from early on.  I’d been a dork, yes, but I’d always gone to school dances, asked girls to dance with confidence, and also asked girls, even popular girls, out on dates in late middle school.  With the use of drugs I became less confident and more introverted, but girls that had known me from before still liked me and this was something I took advantage of when I could.  Also, any time I went without drugs for any duration of time, my natural confidence would come back and I would hook up easily.

Another thing that happened that summer was we found out that one of my friends’ fathers was selling pot, in large amounts, and of really, really good stuff.  I remember the first time we managed to open his lock box while it was full.  Jay and I were at Ben’s house and we had no weed.  I had just come back from camp and I wanted to get high, so I was disappointed.  While at Ben’s place, he went downstairs to his basement.  He came rushing back up, breathless, and told us his dad’s lockbox was full and locked, and he knew where the key was.  When we opened it, all three of us started yelling, as it was full of two pounds of high potency marijuana.  At this point in the summer I was manic and didn’t mind smoking as much, though as soon as school started the following fall my mood swung downwards again and it was an exercise in misery for me.

We tapped his stash many times.  One time he actually left a note that said, “I know you’ve been tapping my stash”.  That didn’t stop us. What was he going to do, tell his wife?  I don’t even know if she knew what he was doing, though she was not stupid. Even if she didn’t actually know, she must have suspected something.  In any case, we stole several ounces from him over the course of about a year or two.  Great stuff, his weed. 

New Paranoia, LSD, and Tragedy

I got high before school with Bill, Melissa, and Jay.  Bill and Melissa were older than us by a few years.  When I got to class I was in a gifted student’s homeroom, baked out of my mind.  I started feeling like I was spastically twitching.  I became very anxious and paranoid that people could see me.  I was sure they could, and this led me to feel so awkward and bad about myself that I don’t know how I could stand being around others.  I couldn’t stand it, actually; it took an enormous effort not to run away screaming.  My self esteem suffered greatly; I really thought there was something seriously wrong with me.  There was: I was a paranoid schizophrenic with symptoms of delusional thinking, hallucinations, and social awkwardness. 

I never opened my mouth about how I felt to anyone.  I was too ashamed of myself for that, and maybe I was afraid of people thinking I was crazy.  I remember asking Ben once if he ever saw me twitching and he denied it.  I didn’t know how to take that; I think I thought he was lying. 

By tenth grade I had basically accepted drugs into my life.  Even if I didn’t really like weed, my mind and body was hooked on it and I felt compelled to smoke as much as possible.  I was very interested in hallucinogenic drugs, as all of my experiences with them had been enjoyable.  I was in an honors English class that year and I did a project on LSD.  I explained its history, its effects on society, its effects on the human mind and perceptual abilities, as well as showing slides of fractals that I said could potentially be seen in the mind or superimposed on reality during an LSD trip. I got an A plus on the project.

A few months into my fifteenth year of life, shortly after I had gotten an A on the project just mentioned, I took LSD for the first time.  What a trip that was!  We took one hit each, me and Jay, and Ben took a quarter of a hit.  After about forty minutes we weren’t feeling anything, so we decided to smoke some pot and see what happened.  That was a good idea, turns out.  We ended up feeling goofy and laughed the whole time like a couple of crack ups, like improvisational comedians just performing on the spot.

So Jay and I are tripping and Ben is on the other side of the room with these two girls, Sarah and Laura.  The girls were acting crazier than we were.  They started eating cereal but instead of milk they were using ice tea and fruit punch.  I have no idea why, I didn’t even ask.  I thought everything was hilarious and interesting at the time, but I wanted to trip with someone who was also tripping so I basically hung out with Jay the whole time.  If Ben hadn’t been there and it was just us and the girls, I might have lost my virginity.  That’s beside the point, as we were actually at Ben’s house, but it’s something to think about.  Girls seemed to like me when I was tripping; twice on mushrooms a girl ended up on my lap, and neither time were the girls on drugs themselves.  I think, when I am in that state of mind, I exude some kind of insane magnetism that attracts people, girls included.  I certainly feel more in touch with everything and everybody, so maybe there is some truth in that.

So we talked and laughed and watched TV.  I can’t remember any details except for two things.  At one point my hand was in the front pocket of my hoodie and I felt like there was tissue paper wrapped around it.  I toyed with the feeling for a while and then took my hands out to see the Kleenex.  There was nothing there.  We were sitting under black-lights with black-light posters hanging on the walls around us, and it was very spacey and surreal.  I felt beautiful in a way I had not known in my life previously, and the beginnings of my love affair with LSD were set in motion.

Something happened that same night that changed many people’s lives, though it did not really affect me personally and I add it only as an after-note.  Two kids a year younger than us also got their hands on the same acid that was going around.  They mixed it with benzodiazepines, probably Xanax, and alcohol, and they decided to take their parent’s car out for a drive.  This ended in a head on accident with a tree that killed one of the kids and put the other in a coma.  The one that was driving was the one in the coma.  This was an incredibly sad time for people; the kid that had died had been generally liked and was thought to be a good kid.  The other kid was his “bad influence” friend who goaded him on.  It figures that he was the one that survived.  It’s a common story, and seems like the way these things often play themselves out. 

Much later in my life, during a time when I was not medicated, I was not sleeping at all and staying up at night thinking about my past.  When I thought of those two kids, I came to the conclusion that my friends and I had had a hand in this accident, as we were distantly tied to the event, and my own energy, previously extremely negative, had swung positive on this trip, thus leaving a vacancy and requiring transference, without a positive initiation of this, and I felt that the negative energy was transferred into those boys, who were vulnerable. 

I actually cried at that point and felt terrible for the families, who I had never even met.  I honestly believed, in that moment, that it was my fault that kid had died, my doing.  I don’t know why my mind always tries to blame everything bad that happens to everyone else on myself.  Part of my faulty belief is to think that everything bad that happens to others is somehow my own fault, and though I’m a firm believer in interconnectivity in life, I don’t feel that blame can be put on someone entirely without them being conscious of their own actions.

More Drug Tales

I took LSD three more times before the end of that school year.  Acid has gotten weaker since the sixties, so I’m told.  That makes sense, because one hit of the stuff we were taking was imperceptible without some other drug to enhance it.  The second time I tripped I took one hit again and felt nothing until the end of the night, when I started drinking.  I was hanging out with Ryan and Jay.

Anyway, I had a trench-coat type Jayet with deep side pockets and an ice tea bottle full of vodka in one.  I took it out eventually and started drinking.  Great idea.  I would never recommend to anyone to mix LSD with alcohol, or any hallucinogen for that matter.  Its bad enough you go crazy, do you really want to be drunk and crazy at the same time?  Makes you feel great though. 

I was drinking from the ice tea bottle at the corner of the Wawa (a common convenience store in that area) parking lot, and a cop approached us.  Crapper knew her on some personal level, so she didn’t bust our asses.  One thing LSD does to me is make me feel invincible.  I was drinking vodka while I was talking to her, as though I was drinking actual ice tea.  No fear, total confidence.  Mushrooms have had a similar effect on my perception of invincibility, though not always.  Very dangerous.  In any case I didn’t get arrested.  Instead I walked home, part of the way with Ryan and Jay, and entertained the two of them with my insanity.  I remember getting home feeling great, going up to my black light lit bedroom, and going to bed.

One time that school year I ate some more mushrooms.  These were the most potent mushrooms I have ever come across.  Ken’s sister got them for us.  Ken was a funny guy, kind of weird, but I shouldn’t say anything about him as I was a lot weirder than he was. His sister was older than us by several years.  She called the shrooms “wacky mushrooms”.  They were thicker stemmed and bluer than any mushrooms I have ever seen.  Perhaps you know the variety.  In any case they made me trip balls, and only after eating a sixth of an eighth.  We split half an eighth three ways, Ken, Ben, and I.  Can’t remember much of that trip; only that at one point I was sitting in a park near the police station, and everything seemed to be glowing.  That was typical of mushroom trips, for me and many others: lights seem to shine out brighter than usual.

I got into some serious trouble when I was fifteen.  My mom took me to the hospital where she worked for a “take your kid to work” day.  I had to write a report on what I did and what I learned.  What I did was rob the pharmacy at the hospital, taking three hundred pills.  What I learned is that if you overdose on anti-anxiety medication, you will lose huge chunks of your life.  This lost life is the lapse in memory that occurs when there are high levels of benzodiazepines in your bloodstream.

I got to the hospital and told my mom that I wanted to work at the pharmacy.  She took me there and introduced me to a large black man named Wungavo Dimps.  He was very nice, friendly, and helpful.  After I asked him some questions and took some notes, he told me to just walk around and take note of anything that seemed of consequence to my paper.  I said sure, thanks, and proceeded to rob the place.  I was just hanging around the aisles of pills, looking at names, and looking for specific types of pills.  They were all alphabetical, I believe, so the pills were not hard to find.  If I had known about Oxycodone at the time, I could have made myself rich, in the process of ruining lives.  I settled for Xanax and Valium, two hundred mg of the former and 2 g of the latter.  I had a coat with deep side pockets and I just casually dropped the pill bottles in the pockets of the coat, without anyone noticing me. 

When I got back to school with the pills, I ran into Jay and told him what I had done.  He was ecstatic, but he told me not to tell anyone.  I agreed, though I did not meet his expectations.  I had taken forty mg of valium when I got back to school.  I was wandering around the hallways all messed up, when I ran into a friendly acquaintance that I had gotten high with in the past.  I told him what I had and sold him some on the spot, in a bathroom.  By the time school let out, everyone knew about my pills and I was drawing a crowd across the street from the front entrance.  I was handing out pills and taking cash with the crowd protecting me from the eyes of the aides.  When I had sold enough and the crowd started to disperse, I wandered off in the direction of my home. 

Some people met up with me while I was walking, or they were with me from the high school.  My memory of this time is very hazy, and it soon turns black as I get more intoxicated.  I got back to my parents’ house with some kids that were older than me, and I took two mg of Xanax, up the nose.  Then I started drinking.  After that, I don’t really remember much for about three days.  It’s all broken and fragmented, with brief flashes from events coming through. 

At my house the first day, someone stole a whole bottle of one hundred valium pills from me.  I don’t know how I held on to the rest; I was so messed up.  I puked out in front of the dominos pizza where I had worked earlier in the year.  That was my first real job, and I was working illegally for several months of my fifteenth year.  I also yelled and cursed at my mother while I stumbled on the stairs in front of my bedroom.  I can’t remember much of anything else.  I do remember playing battleship with a class of people I wandered into during that stretch of time, messed up on pills. 

Plenty of bad stuff happened because of those pills.  One kid kicked down his door at his parents’ house, and got arrested.  Another girl got into a big fight with her boyfriend and broke up with him, while she was messed up.  The worst of it was two kids that bought eighty ten mg valium from me.  They took forty each and had to go to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped.  All these things were catalyzed by my decision.

I never got into trouble with the law for that episode, but our parents knew something was seriously messed up and they called a conference with us kids and them lecturing us.  I remember feeling uncomfortable at the time, and then us kids went out back to smoke pot.  Permissive parenting strikes again…

The Water-Balloon Incident

During the yearly block party on Jay’s street on Memorial Day weekend, something happened to me that I consider to be a spiritual experience.  My friends and I, and some older kids as well, were sitting on top of a small rise on someone’s front lawn.  There was a crowd of people in front of us, and they were all dancing to loud music being played by a professional DJ hired for the party.  Every year there was a DJ and this year was no exception.  Anyway, someone ran up to us with a water balloon and said, “yo, throw this at that girl over there”.  There was a black girl dancing in the middle of the crowd, a very fat black girl that lived on the street.  Something happened to me at that point that I cannot logically explain.  Here’s what happened.

What my mind did and my body did was two different things.  My mind, or my consciousness, seemed to get sucked back into my head, deep in there where everything was silent and still.  At that point I had no direct control over my body, I was just watching from what seemed to be a tunnel or cave in my mind.  My mouth said, “gimme that, I’ll hit her”.  My hand took the water balloon, then my body leaned back and my arm hauled a hook shot over the back of my head.  Everyone stopped breathing.  Remember, there was a whole crowd of people dancing there, some women with babies, some older people, and the odds were that the balloon would hit one of them.  Basically, everyone except for me was waiting for something really bad to happen.

Then something amazing happened.  The balloon landed directly in the center of the dancing girl’s head and exploded.  Then we all exploded with laughter.  It was a decidedly evil thing to do to someone, very mean.  I was normally not like that; I wasn’t one of the kids that used his status of being “cool” as a weapon to hurt other kids.  I don’t know what came over me, or how I nailed that ridiculous hook shot from about twenty five feet away.  I call it a spiritual experience because I think it was some form of possession. 

Many of my spiritual experiences have been on the evil side of things; I am internally (and sometimes externally) a very evil person.  I do have a conscience, however, and if I could go back I would apologize to that girl.  It’s funny, I do a lot of stuff that upsets people that care about me, and I find myself feeling guilty for these things at times.  At other times, when I haven’t even done anything wrong, I feel guilt for made up things in my head, like thought processes or beliefs.  I think it’s the knowledge of evil within myself that causes me to feel guilty about things that I haven’t actually done, and makes me come up with crazy explanations of how I caused those things to happen.  That and survivor’s guilt.

Acid and a Party

We had two more acid trips at the end of the school year.  One was a week before the last day of school, the other on the last day of school, at a party at my parents’ house.  During the first trip we took three hits each and it was most of the usual bullshit: laughter, hilarity, goofiness, and a powerful feeling of being connected to something larger than your self.  We drank as well, and wandered around town making noise.  At one point, I put Jay in a headlock, which was unusual of me, to get the better of him that way.  He got me back later that night by decking me or something, I can’t remember.

The second acid trip on the last day of school took place at a party at my parents’ house, as I have already said.  We got a keg from a heroin addict older brother of a friend of ours, and I remember trying to lift it out of his car and dropping it on the ground, then rolling the fucking thing up my front lawn. I finally hauled it up the front stoop and into the house.  My parents were in CT looking at properties; I will get to that part later as it concerns my mental illness, drug addiction, and emotional states.

We were supposed to only have about twenty people over.  However, people talk, especially teenagers, and it just so happened there was an awful storm that night, so kids could not really hang out outside.  The result was about sixty people between age fourteen and eighteen, all at my parents’ house getting wasted, music blasting, people coming out of the back yard’s bushes half naked, strip teases under black lights in my bedroom…you get the picture.  I was on three hits of acid and I probably drank about fifteen beers.  After the keg got kicked, people raided my parents’ liquor cabinet, which has never been locked.  I was overwhelmed; I had not expected the turn out and the insanity and I was at a loss as to what to do.  I just wandered from room to room with my mouth gaping open, wondering when it was going to end and how in God’s name I was going to clean up the mess. 

As it turned out, many people stayed behind when the rest left for the night to help clean.  I remember one girl, very pretty, who basically took charge of the situation.  I tried to vacuum for a while but I was still tripping and getting distracted by what I was seeing.  The girl was very kind and if it wasn’t for her, the house would have been totally trashed for my parents to see when they got home.  They still found out about the party; our neighbors told them.  It’s a very good thing for me that my neighbors and I were on very good terms, so no one called the cops.  We were certainly making enough noise for that to happen.

Although my psychosis did not change much and the paranoia did not go away, something happened towards the end of my tenth year of school that changed how I felt drastically.  My parents informed me that our family was going to move.  This would be the third time my parents and I have moved since I was born, all three times far enough away to cut me off from my friends in the previous area.  I find moving very difficult, especially leaving behind old friends.  Starting new in a new environment is hard as well, when you feel like you had so much where you used to live.

Big Money Moves

At the time, my father worked for the University of Pennsylvania as a part time professor and full time researcher in genetic research on fruit flies.  He is a very diligent worker and dedicated to his career, so he always did an outstanding job.  For his hard work, a pharmaceutical company noticed what he was doing and offered him a job; director of cancer research, at Pfizer.  He took it and told me his reasoning for doing so.  For one thing, I had been getting into trouble with my friends, doing drugs, and he wanted to separate me from them.  What he didn’t tell me was the job basically quadrupled his salary and allowed the family to live in a much nicer house, in a much nicer area surrounded by woodland, which my parents loved.  At this point, before the move, we lived in a suburb of Philly near the ghetto, crack houses, drug dealers, and prostitutes, and my parents knew I wandered into that part of town with my friends on a regular basis.  I’m sure they did not approve.

Whatever the reason for the move, I was distraught about it.  I was just starting to feel more like a “cool” kid, as I was enjoying doing drugs more, and I was generally hilarious around other kids.  That summer was great; I spent every day working at the University with my father, making money that supported the drug habits that filled my evenings after work.  I tripped several times that summer: three times on mushrooms and once on acid.  My state of mind was something unusual.  Desperation had fallen over me, desperation to have as much fun as possible before I moved.  The move seemed like an apocalyptic event in my mind.  I felt like my life was going to be over.  I didn’t really face those feelings until after our family moved away, at which point I started complaining to my parents about it.  The sad thing is, I would have loved living in CT under different circumstances.  Me having a more stable mind, for one thing. 

My family has done well for themselves for most of my life, but in the past sixteen years or so my immediate family has done very well.  That’s the point in time that my father started working for pharmaceutical companies, and he has worked in that field ever since.  He was doing research for new cancer drugs up until very recently and has had great success in the past, which is very rewarding for him as both his parents died of cancer.  He’s the American Dream come to life, a third world and poverty stricken family origin to this success with four homes.

Memorable Acid Trip

Let me go back to the summer and early fall before the move.  I said I did acid once, and I would like to tell the story of that trip. I can remember this trip with more clarity than any other that I have had, and it makes a good story as well.  We started the night picking up the stuff, which was with a friendly acquaintance across town.  When we arrived, he took us down to his basement and showed us the paper.  As it always is with acid on the black market, you can only have an idea of how much you are taking secondhand from some else’s description until you try it yourself.  That’s one reason it’s always a bit anxiety provoking and exciting; acid trips are usually much speedier and more hectic than mushrooms or mescaline.  You tend to get loud, you tend to get weird, you tend to get wild, and you tend to laugh your ass off most of the time.

Anyway, we went to his place and got the stuff, then headed back to Ben’s house to hang out for awhile.  We just took it immediately, and the effects began to set in within fifteen or twenty minutes.  We took three hits each, and as it turned out, the acid was pretty good.  By the time we started coming up, reruns of the Simpsons were on TV.  We grabbed some food and headed upstairs to Ben’s room.  His room was pretty sweet.  It was big and like a long rectangle, almost cave-like. It had one window at the far end that looked outside to his neighbor’s house.  That’s where we usually smoked, blowing our hits out his window. 

I don’t remember the Simpsons episode very well; I don’t even remember which one it was.  All I remember is sitting on Ben’s reclining chair, leaning back, and laughing my head off for half an hour straight.  Ben was on the couch, and he was in the same shape as I was.  I don’t think I have ever laughed at anything on TV like that in my life.  I was probably laughing even harder than I was at the live Robin Williams show, and I laughed to the point of tears most of the time at that one.  Anyway, the next hour or so is kind of blurry.  I remember leaving Ben’s house and walking towards town. 

It was a beautiful summer day, the kind whose memory makes one ache for warm weather in the middle of winter.  It was probably around seven thirty, so the sun wasn’t setting yet, but I remember when it did, it was spectacular.  We were walking and talking for a while.  I remember making gesticulations and gestures with my hand while I talked, and as I saw my arm moving through the air, I was seeing it trail behind itself in multiple recreated images of the original hands and arms.  I was definitely tripping and I was in a jolly mood, very lively and excited, up and energetic.  Peaking on acid is one of the best feelings out there for me.  It makes me ecstatic and jubilant, joyful and full of life.

As we walked towards town, we decided to pee when we reached the park near the high school, the same park we were at when we were coming up on our first mushroom trip.  When we got to the park, we ducked onto the trail to take a piss.  The park was mostly woods with one trail that went right through it.  There were some chill spots along the trail where there were fallen trees that we could sit on.  It was within an eighth of a mile from the high school, so usually after school we would stop in that park to hang out and get high.  Sometimes before school as well, or during school if we could get out of class.  I once climbed out the window of a classroom in the middle of a science lab.  The teacher was walking around and didn’t pay any attention to me.  I saw a couple of older kids walking by and I hollered to them out the window.  The saw me and made motions as though to tell me to come and join them.  So I just climbed out the window, dropped to the ground, and followed them to the park.  But I digress...

Bill and his girlfriend were sitting on the bench in front of the park, and we bantered with them for a bit before heading down the trail to pee.  Bill was two years older than us, and his girlfriend was in our grade.  He lived nearby, was kind of a burnout, but had a lot of friends.  And his girlfriend was hot, so I guess we thought he was cool.  Anyway, we went down the trail and did our thing, and the whole time we were pissing, we yelled back and forth to each other.  I don’t exactly remember what it was we were yelling, but when we came out of the park, Bill and his girlfriend were both cracking up at us.  I think he made a comment about drugs in regards to us; he definitely knew there was acid in town.  Hell, he had probably already sampled some himself.

I don’t really remember how we made our way to the trench that ran behind my buddy Don’s house, but we got there just as it started getting dark.  After the initial fallout and the year ahead of that, we started hanging out with Don again.  He is still friends with the same crowd, I believe.  We picked up the six-pack from where we had hidden it previously, and made our way to the spot behind Don’s house where we were supposed to meet.  The only thing of any consequence that happened before we met up with Don was that I saw what I believed to be a Pukul Man.  That’s a term from the Lord of the Rings.  Pukul men are short, stubby men that live like animals in the woods.  In ancient times, more civilized men had made statues of Pukul men, lining a path that wound up into the mountains.  I remember looking at a tree stump and in the half-light from the street, it turned into a Pukul man.  Like some tribal midget you might see with a spear in one hand and a loincloth around his waist.  He was just sitting there, looking at me.  We made eye contact and held it for a while, and then I realized we had to go meet up with Don, so I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

We met up with Dave and Caroline and started drinking.  I don’t remember much of what was said and done.  I do remember making a comment to Caroline, a comment I later apologized for.  We were talking about being healthy and happy, and she said something about it, and I looked at her and asked, “Do you want to have sex?” I then explained that if you have a healthy sex drive it reflects your overall state of health, a fine theory from a fifteen year old who was still a virgin.  Caroline was a nice girl, and what I said was inappropriate, but I guess it wasn’t too big a deal.  She knew I was tripping and drinking so I’m sure she forgave me.

At some point I got a strong feeling like I wanted to go back into town to see what was going on.  I got Ben’s attention and asked if he wanted to head out.  I said I really think we should go.  He agreed so we said goodbye and left.  We walked for a ways, just tripping and making conversation, probably some weird shit mixed with a good deal of laughter.  That’s the thing about acid; it makes you merrier than Santa Claus. 

I remember stopping to take a leak in front of this building.  There were trees lined up in front of it, and Ben and I each took our own tree.  The thing about the suburbs is that usually it’s so dead that you can get away with doing something like that, even if it’s only ten o’clock on a Friday night.  While peeing, we heard some commotion coming from the direction of downtown.  It sounded like a fight or something to me; a lot of people making a lot of noise with yelling, shouting, hollering, and all the rest.  So we zipped up our flies and headed towards the noise.

It turned out to be coming from the park, which was about six blocks away.  As we got closer, we started jogging, then running, as we saw what the commotion was all about.  There were maybe forty people at the park, and half of them were crowded around this spinning ride thingy.  It was one of the spinning things that have metal around the outside of it, in the shapes of huge handles that kids would use to spin it while other kids were sitting on it.

Well, the twenty or so people were standing around it with half of them on one side yanking their end up while the other half on their side pushed their end down.  They were see-sawing it back and forth, up and down, and yelling at the tops of their lungs while doing it.  The funny thing about all this, and the reason I was amazed we didn’t get caught, was the fact that the police station was within eyeshot of where we were.  We were all very lucky, especially considering we were all in high school, most of us were intoxicated, and a good number of us were carrying drugs.  Ben and I just ran all the way to the center of the crowd, yelling as we ran, and jumped over or around the people who were busy destroying this spinning thing.  I landed right on top of it, and jumped from one end to the other while the thing gyrated under my feet.  It may have been the most fun I have ever had in my entire life.  I was yelling at the top of my lungs and laughing as I flew through the air and landed with thuds that reverberated throughout the whole thing.

We worked on it for a while, weakening the center bolt until it was about to snap.  At some point we took a break and stood around laughing at our fun.  It was like a crazy outdoor party, which would happen in town from time to time.  Where I went to high school, kids would go out and hang around at different spots in town to get wasted.  We spent most of our time walking around and getting fucked up.  It was pretty bad, considering we were so young.  Amazingly, my close friends and I never got arrested for it. 

After taking a break for some time, someone raised their voice and got everybody to try to finally rip the thing out of the ground.  We all crowded around it, and this time, instead of pushing down on it and yanking it back up, we all bent our knees and pulled upwards on it.  We pulled for a while, and suddenly with a wrenching sound, the center bold snapped and we were carrying it.  We all dropped it at once and stood around laughing for a while.  We knew we had to do something with it; we couldn’t just leave it like that, sitting where it was.  Someone had the bright idea of lifting it up on its side and rolling it like a giant wheel.  So we all got together, lifted it, and rolled it down a shallow hill and into a dry creek bed.   I can still remember the metallic clang it made as it struck the rocks.

That sound was an informal signal for us to disperse.  Everybody took off in their respective groups with their respective friends and headed away from the park.  We had pushed our luck about as far as we could, and we all knew if we stuck around any longer, the cops would show up and ruin our little party.  I don’t really remember where I went, or who I was with, but I do think that pretty soon after that I headed home.  We’d had our fun, at the taxpayers’ expense, and it was time to call it a night,

I don’t know if that was the best night of my life, but it certainly was up there in the fun and good feeling category.  I was hanging out with my closest friends, for the most part, tripping and laughing and carrying on, and we finished the night in a massive orgy of destruction that was so childish, so juvenile, that it could only have really been a good time if we were intoxicated to begin with.  It was perfect.

Talking Crap

There is a side note I’d like to add about my sophomore year, a habit that has haunted me since, as it is deeply rooted to shame, guilt, paranoia, and other forms of mental illness.  Jay and I used to talk crap to each other constantly at times, him enjoying it I believe, and me being miserable, as I often was with him in my company.  The messed up thing is this: he would talk about having sex with my mother, and I would do the same thing.  The usual joke was to go back and forth with each other’s mothers, and I remember being appalled by his language use when this first began, and in my mind I wanted to gross him out more than he was grossing me out.  This made me deeply ashamed of what I was saying and doing.

Now, I’ve never been a momma’s boy, or had mother issues growing up.  I was very independent, and frankly, since I was a little kid I can hardly stand my mom in any way anyway.  I love her, but I’d not want to be with a woman like her, in fact, I’ve been most attracted to girls and women with opposite mentalities and even looks than my own mom.  I like straight hair and have only hooked up with straight hair girls, my mom has curly hair.  I like logical minds that express creativity often and are into spirituality, my mom is more of a mishmash of practicality with heavy doses of illogical ideation.  I like people that are soft, intimate, and cozy, my mom is into “tough love” and has been since I was little.  In any case, these things I used to say went on for that year, my sophomore year of high school, and this ideation towards my mother has become, even in present times, something of a mental symptom in and of itself. 

I know now that it is just that in my mind, residues of shame and its connection to my schizophrenia, and recurring thoughts that relate to this early horrible way of talking still come up nowadays, though at other parts of my life even in the past years this was never the case.  My mental symptoms have switched from being trapped in the present to going to the past, and I often have Jay come to mind as though he is messing with my feelings and thoughts, and this is caused by my using mushrooms too much last year.  I won’t ever trip again, and this means that eventually my mind will reassert itself in the present, and writing this should help and talking with you.

Pot Plants

Another thing that happened that summer was a group project with four of my friends.  We grew pot in the woods down the street from my house.  We got the seeds from very potent and very, very stinky bud that we had filched from Ben’s dad.  I’m pretty sure we had six plants out there that were healthy and happy in the summer sun.  We found a clearing off the trail a short ways, away from the hang out spot in those woods where kids went to get high.  We went out to that spot all summer to care for the plants.  Me most of all, as the spot was a few minutes’ walk from my home.  We took gallon jugs of water out there during the dry spells, and we got high around the plants and promoted positive energy with them.  At this point, my symptoms were much less difficult to cope with and much reduced by my strong feelings of attachment to the place where I had lived for the past eight years.  The knowledge that I was leaving that place to live somewhere else heightened my feelings of love for the town and most of all, my friends there.  A place is only a home as much as the people you know, and I had gotten to know the people I spent time with very well over the few years before then.

I never got to harvest that bud.  It reached the point where it was ripped out of the ground and hanging from a nearby tree to dry, but it actually got stolen.  By kids, I think, not cops.  The reason I think this is because two kids saw me walking into the woods at two in the morning with a five gallon water cooler jug that was half full of water in my arms.  When I reached the park, I heard a “hey!” and looked to my right where there was a picnic bench.  I wasn’t expecting to see anyone, as few people actually habituated that park, in my experience.  But I walked over to the kids and sat down.  They asked me what I was doing with the water.  I couldn’t think of a plausible excuse to be carrying several gallons of water into the woods at two am, so I told the truth. 

They were very interested, which makes sense because both of them smoked pot.  One of them was blind, and he started talking about how he tripped (on drugs, not tripping and falling) many times and he would get visuals.  Eventually they left and I went into the park to do my business.  I’m pretty sure they are the ones that stole the plants.  All they would have had to do is wander around for a while with their noses turned up.  The woods were not that big and the plants were very stinky.  In retrospect, I should have found a better spot to hang them to dry, preferably deeper in the woods or even on my parents’ property, if I could have gotten away with it.  With my parents, who knows?  Even if they found them they may not have taken them away.

Going down to the spot and finding the plants gone, just when I wanted to harvest them, was the final straw for me.  I went down the day we moved, just before we got going!!! I reached the spot, saw them gone, and hollered “Noooooooo!!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs.  I was dejected and depressed, pissed off and antsy, and generally scared as well.  Seeing that my plants were stolen crushed my feelings like nothing else could.

 I had put my heart and soul into those plants.  I love growing things and taking care of plants.  I also love and care for animals and take a great deal of joy and satisfaction in spending time with them.  I have always loved plants and animals, and have always had a way with them.  I am good at caring for living things and creatures more deeply tied to instinct tend to like me more automatically like animals, babies, and even women sometimes when I’m up to being someone.

 

Southeastern Connecticut

A New Crush and some New Friends

My family moved to CT, a real step-up in the world.  My father was now working for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and my mother still had work available as an occupational therapist.  I once asked her what an occupational therapist does.  She told me “physical therapists teach patients how to walk; I teach them how to cross the street.”  When I told Jay and his brother this one night at their mountain house, they roared with laughter, thinking it was the funniest thing they had ever heard.

I was going to a new school with new people in a different environment and living situation.  Our house was a lot bigger and more expensive, split level, with two fireplaces and an unfinished basement that we later finished.  My room was huge, and I spend well over a thousand dollars on it.  Money that I worked for.  I decked it out with black lights, black light posters, about five thousand stars on the ceiling, and a disco ball in the center of the ceiling.  The disco ball was attached to the light fixture, so that when you flipped the switch it would turn.  I also had a fog machine, a strobe light, lava lamps, and laser beams to train on the disco ball, shooting red beams of light around at two opposing mirrors on either end of the room.  Great fun if you’re tripping.  Just fill the room with fog and play with the laser all night.  Everybody that had seen that room said it was the coolest bedroom they had ever been in.  You could see it glowing from down the street when all the black lights were turned on.

My first day at the new school I got called down to the office to do some paperwork, and a girl named Keigh volunteered to take me there, as I did not know the way.  She was cute and had a great body, and she was with the cool kids.  I immediately formed a crush on her, something she did not know until late the next year, when I worked up the nuts to tell her.  She seemed surprised.  Anyway, as it turned out, she lived around the corner from me, and when we realized this she offered to drive me home.  I was immediately hooked.

Nothing came of that crush and I did not even have a girlfriend until the next year, and no successful relationship until the very end of my senior year.  I made friends with a guy named Jim, who was tall, intelligent, creative, and deep.  We tripped a lot together, and we worked together at the local IGA across the street from the school for quite some time. That is, until I lost my job for huffing cool whip canisters and throwing them above the drop ceiling in the back room. 

I hung out with Jim and his group of friends for over a year, up until the point when I had a complete psychotic break and became too paranoid to maintain relationships with people.  We took acid many times, though never mushrooms, if I remember correctly.  Jim was always organizing things; activities, concerts, trips, camping ect.  Everyone in our group loved and respected him.  Another thing I remember about him was he seemed to be partial towards fat girls.  Two of his girlfriends, at least, were severely overweight.  Jim was a tall, skinny drink of water himself, and with his personality he could have easily gotten better looking girls than the ones he dated.  I guess he really wasn’t very superficial.

Jim and I worked at the local IGA supermarket.  He worked in the produce section and I worked in the dairy, both in the same aisle.  We used to huff whipped cream canisters together in the back room.  I would get shipments of several cases of canisters, and then we would sit in the back room and huff them like there was no tomorrow.  One time, we were huffing nitrous oxide, when a man came to the back room.  He was asking for boxes because he was moving.  The strange thing was, this man’s face was all burnt off.  He looked like something out of a circus.  Here I am, huffing laughing gas, and this guy comes back asking for boxes.  I had to duck into the cooler to laugh my head off, without hurting the poor guy’s feelings.

One of our friends had come from a very abusive family in Boston.  He was adopted by a family in CT, who had a very pretty daughter that went to the same high school.  Lucky him, I guess.  He had some emotional problems due to his life circumstances, and I remember he was pretty out there.  All of us were, and all of us had our own sets of problems.  If you introduce enough hallucinogenic drugs to any individual, that individual will develop mental and emotional problems.  Even if you don’t introduce these drugs, most likely, individuals will develop mental and emotional problems at some point.  Once, on acid, I got into a conversation about psychic dolphins with the guy from Boston; he was an interesting cat.

Paul was another of our friends.  He was from Philly too, and he always seemed to be competing with me somehow.  Maybe he felt threatened by the fact that we were both from Philly and up until that point, he had been the Philly guy in the group.  I didn’t know how to respond to that; I just wanted to get along with everyone and be seen as reasonable, not someone who started trouble.  He was a pretty good guy otherwise, very interesting in his own way.  On New Year’s Eve of 2000, Paul, Jim and some other people went to see Phish in Florida, where Paul dressed up in some kind of costume, maybe a walrus, and stood on his head, kicking his legs up into the air.  He had been practicing this trick for a long time to prepare for the show.  I guess he wanted to put on his own show and entertain people.  He also had a great sense of humor and was always coming up with hilarious things to say.

I Really Wanted Cigarettes!

My first year at the new school went by pretty uneventfully, though a few things of note happened.  For one thing, I was seeing a probation officer.  He was a pretty chill dude that seemed to understand that kids sometimes get into trouble, and more importantly, it’s not the end of the world when that happens.  I had to see him for six months straight, due to the fact that I had been arrested before my family moved to CT.  I was arrested in Philly on the last day of summer in 1998, just before my junior year.  Here’s how it happened.

I had been drinking a bit, and was at the local Wawa with a buddy of mine, Andrew.  I went into the Wawa to try to buy smokes, but I was only sixteen and they carded me so I didn’t get any.  I came back outside and sat next to Andrew and told him what happened. I was annoyed and disgruntled; The Man had had his way with me again.  I was complaining that I couldn’t even have a goddamn cigarette like a normal person.  There was a guy delivering smokes from the back of a truck to the Wawa as we were sitting there.  Just jokingly, Andrew said “that guy over there is delivering cigs right now.  If you go into his truck you can get some.”  He said this laughing, and he wasn’t serious.  Neither was I, at first. 

I walked over to the truck, playing along, and put my hand on the handle of the rear door.  “You mean lift this latch and raise the door?”  I asked.  He just laughed and said yeah.  “Like this?” I asked, and I do it.  Suddenly, I’m looking at an eighteen wheeler carriage full of boxes of cartons of cigarettes.  I didn’t even think.  I just grabbed the nearest box and took off.  Andrew followed me; what was he going to do, ditch me?  This turned out to be very bad for him, because when I got arrested he was with me and he got arrested as well.  So did Jay, as a matter of fact.  We had met up with him on the trolley tracks.  He had just gotten back from some kind of family function and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You see, I wasn’t really thinking at all.  I actually ran towards the police station.  I wasn’t even lucid enough to realize I was going to get caught. I should have stashed the fucking shit somewhere before that could happen.  Finally, after carrying the box on the trolley tracks for a few minutes, I decided to hide it in the woods.  Too late.  When I came back to the tracks, two or three cops were at one end, where there was a trolley station, and they were walking towards us.  We all wanted to play it cool and pretend we weren’t doing anything wrong, instead of trying to run.  We casually walked towards them.  When they were ten or fifteen feet away, one of them shouted, “Get on the ground!”  We all did as we were told, and we were handcuffed and put in squad cars.  Jay was sitting next to me, and I remember him telling me he was going to beat my ass when we got out of this mess.  I didn’t care so much about that; we were always fighting, but I did feel bad that I got him and Andrew into trouble.

        Actually, Jay did not get into any trouble.  He was let off because he wasn’t even there at the time of the incident.  Andrew and I had to pay a fine, and he did community service.  I would have had to as well, except for the fact that my family was shortly moving out of the community, so it made no sense (in legal terms, which make no sense anyway) to have me do community service.  I got probation and a fine that my parents paid, though I think I paid them back for that.  I was working on a regular basis during my fifteenth and sixteenth years.

Ozzy, A Fool Selling Pot, and Cheating

        In any case, that is why I was on probation.  I had to go to Uncasville once a month and talk to this guy.  He was actually pretty cool and understanding.  He never made me take pee tests for drugs.  Which was good for me, as I was smoking pot every day.  I guess I didn’t learn very much from the experience.  Only recently did I stop using regularly, the pot a few months ago and alcohol about three weeks ago.

        I saw Ozzy at Ozzfest in February of 1999.  That was a great show; he was still in (relatively) good shape at that point and he went nuts.  Pantera opened up for them and they put on a good show too, though we missed most of it because we were in the parking lot getting wasted.  I saw a guy, probably six four or six five and fat, flop out after huffing a nitrous oxide balloon for too long, depriving his brain of oxygen.  “Flopping out” basically means he fell flat on his face and twitched around until his brain had enough oxygen in it for him to stand up straight again.  The same thing happened to me that night at one point, which everyone thought was hilarious.  Laughing gas is great stuff if you are into that sort of thing.  Kills a lot of brain cells though.  Haven’t done it in a long time, but once in a while I will buy a few canisters of cool whip and huff until I hear the wah-wah’s.

        A few more things happened that year that are of note.  For one thing, I came within a hair’s breadth of getting arrested again.  I was trying to sell some pot in school, and I was going about it like an idiot.  Actually, it wasn’t even my pot.  Jay gave it to me to sell and then bring him the money, and I could smoke some of it as compensation.  I didn’t end up selling any, and I had to pay him back out of money I worked for.  I smoked most of it myself.  I had two bags with me the day before spring break, and I was trying to get sixty dollars apiece for them.  This was a rip off; they were only worth forty, but I had smoked too much of it and wanted to make my money back, so I wouldn’t have to cut into my savings. 

        I went about selling the stuff entirely the wrong way.  What I should have done is sold it to my friends at a reasonable price and cut my losses, no fuss no muss.  What I did was entirely wrong.  I tried selling the first bag to a thug who I didn’t like and who didn’t like me either, and I was a total idiot about it.  I handed him the bag in the bathroom, and he grabbed it and took off with it.  What was I going to do, tell on him?  He hung out with some hard boys and I hung out with hippies, so it’s not like I could just kick his ass and get away with it.  Besides, at that point I didn’t have the confidence to kick anyone’s ass, certainly not him.

        The second bag was my undoing.  I was in a stairwell, holding the bag up for this girl to see, as I didn’t want to hand it to her until she handed me money.  A teacher walked by the stairwell and looked in, seeing me holding the bag.  She spoke sharply, “come with me!”  I followed her, but as I opened the door to the stairwell, I cupped the bag in my palm and tossed it behind me with my hand at my side.  She never noticed.

        I was taken to the office and questioned, and I pretended to know nothing.  They kept trying to get me to produce the bag and I was stalling them.  Finally they agreed to search me down to my underpants.  At that point I told that I had tossed the bag and I told them where.  When they went to look, it was gone.  They had no evidence, so they couldn’t have me arrested.  What they did was suspend me and have my parents take me to a psychologist.  This was a good idea.  I’m the type of person who should never stop seeing psychologists; working on my mental problems is an ongoing process that takes time, effort, and care, as well as a great deal of support from others.  Anyone with a disabling mental illness will tell you the same thing: you can’t go it alone.

        I was grounded and not allowed to go to Philly for spring break.  What a bummer.  I deserved it.  I was a stupid punk kid that thought he could rip people off to save himself some money, and not even bright enough to accomplish that without getting robbed himself, and almost arrested. 

        Another thing that happened that school year was that I fooled around with a friend’s girlfriend.  My buddy Tim and his girlfriend were at my place and I had stolen a big bottle of strong booze from my parents.  We all got hammered and decided to go swimming.  We took the paddle-boat out on the water; Tim’s girlfriend and I jumped in.  He didn’t; I don’t know why.  I was swimming around drunk and we were laughing.  It was dark out on the water, we couldn’t see very well.  I ended up swimming behind Tim’s girl, pressing myself up against her.  She rubbed on me, and I reached around and started playing with her.  She seemed to like it.  I have no clue what Tim was thinking, he didn’t say anything then or later, though we had an incident that summer over the same girl.

        When we got back into the house, Tim and his girl starting fooling around under the covers on my bed.  I thought we were going to have a threesome, so I got under the covers as well and tried to get in on the action.  I remember not seeing anything, because I was totally covered up.  I can’t remember what happened, but I know we didn’t have a threesome.  I think we all just…stopped, at some point, and then the three of us passed out.

The Only Thing you have to Lose is your Virginity

        That year ended well.  On the first day of summer I took a train to Philly and went to an Allman Brothers concert.  When I got there, I filled up a party cup with rum and chugged it.  I was drunk in three minutes.  I remember Jay grabbing me and shaking me yelling “you’re invincible!”  Then I huffed down some nitrous oxide balloons as we walked into the concert.  On the way in we bought acid and coke.  We took the acid immediately, and blew the coke on top of someone’s car. When we got into the concert, I was on so many drugs that I had no clue what was going on.  It was a complete waste of time and money; I didn’t even really enjoy myself.

At one point I was dancing around to the music, at another I was huddled up in my head, thinking and tripping, and after that I started puking.  I remember tripping and puking, feeling awful, and wishing the feeling of sickness would go away.  I got sick for a while, then the concert was over and we walked back to our cars.  While waiting around in the parking lot, a girl from Philly High came on to me and started necking with me while I felt her up. 

I got sick in the car on the way back, puking out of the rear window, getting the shit all over the car.  The guy who was driving was also in the gifted program that I had been involved in when I was going to school in Philly. A smart kid, if I remember correctly, and a good guy.  He was nice about the incident and didn’t complain.

The next day I went to a Tom Petty show at the same place.  This time I didn’t do drugs or even drink that much; I was still recovering from the night before.  Consequently, the concert was a lot more fun.  I even made out with some random chick. She was kissing this guy and when they finished I said, “Let’s see who’s a better kisser,” and I leaned in and kissed her.  She kissed me back, though when I pulled away and stood up straight she had a dazed look on her face.  I didn’t get beat up for that, surprisingly, and I’m not entirely sure why.  It’s not like I was a big guy or anything.  I had been working out all year and was tight and toned by then.  I was also completely full of myself, cocksure, arrogant, and foolish.  I decided I was going to lose my virginity that summer, and I did.  It happened in my old hometown, Potsdam. 

        I was travelling around New York State with my mom, visiting colleges and looking at brochures.  I had made honor roll every semester but one in high school, and I scored a 1380 on my SAT’s (which I took baked out of my mind), so I was a good candidate for any state school.  Maybe not Ivy League material; my drug habits had defeated that possibility.  But I was still smart and flying through classes without much trouble, or effort.

        We stopped in Potsdam because it was on the way to Montreal, where I wanted to see Concordia, a good school.  I wanted to stop there for memory’s sake, to see my old haunts and old friends, and enjoy myself in a college town.  I was staying with Huda, and I wanted to have sex with her.  I actually came onto her very strong near the beginning of the visit.  We were talking, and then I leaning in and kissed her full on the mouth.  At first she kissed me back, but then better sense got a hold of her and she pushed me away.  “Holy shit!” she said.  “You just mauled me.” 

        I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to play it cool.  She didn’t make a big deal out of it; it certainly didn’t ruin my time with her.  We ended up necking near a river at the center of town one evening, and the next morning I woke up with her on my lap.  I don’t think she was really slutty, in fact, she’s a devout Muslim, but at the time we were young and experimenting, and these things can happen. 

        I never had sex with her, but I did end up doing this with her friend, Adie.  Huda, Adie, Nick Z, and I all went skinny dipping two nights in a row.  One night, Huda and Adie were making out in the water while us guys just watched.  The next night the guys and the girls got together.  Nick swam towards Huda and I swam towards Adie.  When I reached her she lifted her leg up and wrapped it around me.  The first time was quick.  It must always be like that for guys.

        Later, I walked Adie home.  She said goodbye and gave me a kiss.  I waited for her to climb up the fire escape into her bedroom, and then I waited some more.  I kept waiting for some time, not knowing why, only that I felt like there was unfinished business.  I started pacing back and forth, arguing with myself.  Finally I made up my mind and walked up the fire escape myself.  When I knocked at her window, she opened it and said, “I knew you would come back!”  Then I burst out crying.  I was babbling something about never seeing her again and not really knowing her and being upset about it.  She soothed me with kind words and kisses. 

We made love for several hours after that.  After we had finished, her mom called up to her, yelling that Huda was on the phone.  I took off before I could get caught, and headed back to Huda’s house. My mom was waiting for me, and we drove away with many thanks and fare well’s.

        That day is a blur, partly because I didn’t sleep at all the night before, more because I had taken a handful of benzodiazepines and was still a wreck.  I slept in the car and barely managed to keep my head up when we stopped at several colleges and universities.  I ended up keeping in touch with Adie all summer.  We wrote letters back and forth and talked on the phone sometimes.  In the fall, after I had my psychotic break, we got out of touch.  I’m not sure exactly why; maybe she knew I was not well and didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

Tripping in Philly Again

        Later that summer, I visited Philadelphia again.  This time I only went to one concert, and this one on the last day of my visit.  Earlier on we got some Molle, which is pure ecstasy, MDMA, in powder form.  I think it was legit, because the high lasted about six hours, didn’t feel anything like opiates or cocaine, and made me feel like every sensation was orgasmically pleasurable.  At one point a girl we were hanging out gave me a back massage.  It was Laura, one of the two girls that were there during my first acid trip.  I was drinking beer as well; the feel of it going down my throat and the moisture from the can on my hand felt amazing.  The back massage was even better.  I decided I was going to fuck her, though in that case I didn’t actually fulfill my wish.  She had nice big breasts and a great apple bottom ass, and she was cute.

        Later during that visit to my old haunts, Ben and I stopped over at a drug dealer’s house to pick up a quarter pound of mushrooms.  We ate some and went for a walk.  We ran into Sally and Lorraine at the park by the police station.  I had my guitar and started serenading the girls.  Somehow, Laura ended up on my lap, and I gave her a back massage this time. 

        Ben and I walked back to his place where we filled up two bowls, one for each of us, with magic mushrooms.  Then we started eating the shrooms like popcorn.  I mentioned that I was cocky, arrogant, and foolish, and this act sums up those traits perfectly.  I didn’t even have a conception of what could happen to me; I thought I was invincible.  That trip led directly to a psychotic breakdown that lasted almost eight months, and has had repercussions that have echoed through my entire life.  Total non-functionality.  If I knew what I was going to go through…but I was young, stupid, and full of myself.  I really didn’t think anything bad would happen.

        After a while, Ben told me he didn’t feel well, and soon he started puking out of his bedroom window.  I felt very sick myself, but I didn’t puke that night. I’ve only puked on shrooms once, much later in life, when I mixed a high dose with some booze.  Bad idea.  Anyway, he was puking and I felt like I was going to puke.  I went to the bathroom to see if I was going to get sick and tried to get my act together.

        When I came back I still felt sick but much better than before.  I couldn’t even look at the pile of mushrooms on his desk at first, almost a quarter pound there all told.  After some time, Ben said that we had to separate the mushrooms out into baggies so that they would be ready to sell.  He said he couldn’t do it.  I was starting to feel better and could look at the mushrooms again.  They even seemed beautiful to me.  Ben gave me instructions to go down to his basement and get his scale and some baggies as well.  I did as I was told, and when I came back up he asked me if I could weigh them all out.  I said sure, and proceeded with the task.

        As I was weighing out the shrooms, Ben began playing his guitar.  I can’t remember what he was playing, but I was laughing the whole time, clearly out of my mind.  Once in a while he would falter in his song and I would hear, “Help, I need help,” in my head. 

In my head I would respond, “It’s ok, you’re ok, everything is ok”, and then Ben would start playing again as though he never stopped.  This went on until all the mushrooms were bagged up.  I can’t remember what happened after that; I’m assuming we went to bed at some point but we may have stayed up all night.

        This experience led me to become obsessed with telepathy, which was a symptom of my psychosis.  I am still obsessed with telepathy and am convinced that people can hear me think.  I have a thought sometimes that seems to come from my self, and a person will turn and look at me very knowingly at that moment and even say something about it sometimes.  Other times, due to my own actions, and especially if I’ve made mistakes, random people will give me knowing looks and remind me of this interconnectivity that exists for all people and life on this Earth. 

Anyway the next day we went to a Roger Waters concert, where I ate another eighth of mushrooms and wandered around selling bags to people who wanted to trip.  I got lost at one point.  I was with Laura and we decided to go into the concert together.  I was adamant about that; I wanted to be with her while we were there.  I lay on the grass with my head in her lap while she played with my hair, which was very nice.  There was an enormous disco ball at that show with lights trained on it, sending beams out over the field and hill, past the sitting room at the front.  It was a great show.

As we were walking into the show, a woman (or girl) pulled my pants down and exposed me to the crowd of people that were standing around.  Everybody cheered.  It helped that I was topless, so I was basically standing there naked in front of everyone.  The girl with me thought it was great, she was laughing and clapping along with everyone else.  I was practically a sex icon.  This was the beginning and experimental part of my new sexuality, and I started old, not losing my virginity until I was seventeen.

Alaska

Another item of import that happened that summer was that I went to Alaska with my family.  We flew to Seattle and then stopped at Bainbridge Island, a truly beautiful place.  We hiked in the woods and stayed with some friends of my parents.  One family had a few kids our age, maybe a few years older.  I remember we watched “Clerks” together, which was hilarious, even if it was in black and white.

One day, we went for a hike up a mountain with the children of the family friends.  The trail was wide, though pretty steep, and there was a sheer drop on one side.  It was exciting.  When we got to the top, we stopped and enjoyed the view for a while, which was 360 degrees from a flat, enormous rock that we stood on at the very top of the trail.  While we were waiting, two men drove up the path, one in a jeep and the other a Ford truck.  I just stood there, gaping at them.  They offered us a ride down the mountain, which we gladly took.

That ride down the mountain was one of the neatest things that has ever happened to me.  The truck was right at the edge of the cliff and luckily, the guy driving wasn’t drunk and knew what he was doing; otherwise we could have all died there.  It was still very exciting and exhilarating, and a memory that I will always keep.  What really stuck in my mind was the fact that these two total strangers offered some kids a ride down a mountain, as though that was a normal thing to do.  People are friendlier out west; if I had to choose any place in the U.S. to live, it would most likely be southern California.  Where the weather suits my clothes, so to speak.

After this brief interlude on that beautiful island, we headed to Vancouver to get ready to board the cruise ship.  One day there, we ate at the hard rock café; I used to have a shirt from that place, but the last time it fit me I weighed 140 pounds.

We boarded the cruise ship and settled into our cabins.  I told my parents I wanted to walk around.  The first place I stopped at was the bar, or one of the bars on the ship.  I always stuck to the same one; my first day the bartender asked for my room number so he knew whom to bill, and from that point on, I drank on my father’s tab.  I don’t think that’s legal for a seventeen year old to do, even on a cruise ship.  We weren’t in international waters anyway; we stayed pretty close to the coast.  But for a week, I drank all day and all night, and my dad paid for it after.

One day, a friend of my dad’s named Linda came to see us when we were on shore.  We took a hike up into the mountains and picked wild blueberries.  They were delicious, fresh like that.  Linda is a very kindhearted woman.  I sometimes email her, and she always is a fount of good advice and homely wisdom.  I can tell she is also very spiritual and tied to nature.  That’s probably why she picked Alaska out of all places to live.  So much nature, so little man.  Real rugged country.  Not woods that you want to get lost in; there may be no 7-11 for several hundred miles.

I met this guy on the cruise, Trevor or maybe Travis was his name.  He was in his early twenties and I thought he was cool.  We hung out together most of the time, drank together, smoked weed together, and made passes at women together.  We bought weed on the Alaskan coast in a town called Skagway.  Its north and west of Juneau, I believe.  The people were friendly, though it was kind of a culture shock.  In Skagway, there were more Alaskan Natives (by far) than Caucasian people.  I remember bumming a smoke off some kid, and he and the rest of his friends were making fun of the new white guy at school.  Talk about a change in scenery!  I found it refreshing, as I do most novel experiences.  The weed was real good, some purplish orangey stuff that smelled like a tropical fruit.  We got high and watched glaciers come crashing down into the ocean.  The enormous chunks of floating ice were slowly melting, due to global warming.  Once in a while, there would be an ice avalanche into the ocean.  I actually witnessed this happening with my own eyes. 

I spent a great deal of time at the bar on the cruise.  The bartender’s name was Edwin.  He was a Pilipino man in his late thirties or early forties that looked at least ten years younger.  Good genes I guess.  Whatever his genetic background, he was a fun guy to party with.  I had come with my guitar, and I would bring it to the bar and play for the people drinking there.  Edwin also played guitar.  The last night of the cruise, he told me to wait for him while he closed up.  Afterwards, he met me in front of the bar and escorted me down to the crew quarters where all the other Pilipino workers were staying. 

They were all drinking Jay Daniels and coke, and Edwin proceeded to get me hammered.  I mean really hammered.  I was already hammered to begin with, having drank all day.  They started passing around my guitar.  Finally, Edwin grabbed it from someone and handed it to me, telling me to get out of there.  It was getting late but I thought that he was worried someone would try to steal the guitar.  He was a good guy, Edwin.  I crawled into my bunk at quarter to six in the morning, the room spinning.  I was woken up half an hour later.  I was so groggy and out of it that I almost puked, and the room was still spinning.  We had to pack our stuff and get ready to go.  That’s the end of my memories of that trip.

Chapter 7: Robodose Initiated Robbery

One last thing happened that eventful summer.  This actually happened before the Alaska trip, and I came home to the aftermath.  I took DXM (cough medicine) in an enormous dose of pure, powder form one day.  It was the day of Jim’s big concert that he set up and organized himself.  I took the stuff, and my buddy Tom picked me up from my place.  We drove to the house where the party was going to be at after the show.  It was an interesting house, with terrariums and fish-tanks all over the place, some full, some empty.  Musicians lived there; you could tell just by being there.  The atmosphere itself seemed to vibrate.  At least, while I was on the drug it did. 

During our time there, I got into a conversation with Tim about his girlfriend.  I think I actually used the words, “can’t we share?”  I was on a lot of drugs, but I was pretty insane to begin with, and that didn’t help my cause at all.  He pushed me down a flight of stairs for that one.  I, of course, got up like nothing happened, and he got even more pissed.  Anyway, we went to the show and I danced like a buffoon. It was a lot of fun.

So we went back to the house after the show.  I wasn’t really tripping anymore, just feeling druggy side effects.  It took me about an hour to realize that I had been at that house earlier the same day.  I thought it looked familiar.  I had to go outside and see the bridge overhanging the river, before I realized where I was.  That image had stayed with me from the trip, as I had found it compellingly beautiful, and that’s when I figured out I had been there before.  There was a drum circle (that I joined) and we were all drinking and smoking pot.  I remember feeling the energy in the circle.  Everybody seemed to be going into a trance together.  I was high and going into a trance myself.  People were changing up beats but keeping a steady rhythm throughout the whole thing.  I have had no other experiences in large drum circles and I found it very enjoyable.

At one point I was out on the porch (within sight of the same bridge) and there was some guy drinking Southern Comfort.  I made a comment about it, “Southern Comfort, huh?” or something like that.  He gave me a funny look and then told me a strange story.  He said that last time he was at a party he was also drinking Southern Comfort.  That time some random guy showed up and started acting a fool in front of everybody, and the guy drinking the Southern Comfort got up and punched him in the face.  He actually said he felt bad about doing that, because the random guy was really harmless.  After a few moments, I remembered the night I had crashed the party down the street from my parents’ house with my guitar and tried to pick up this girl.  I was walking towards this guy talking about boxing (the sport, not actually doing it) and he stood up and punched me in the face.  Shortly after that I left.  I was that random guy, and when I made the connection to this other guy’s story, I felt a flush of warmth pass through me.  He was apologizing.

The outcome of pissing off Tim over his girlfriend was this: he robbed my house.  He stole a bunch of CD’s, some jewelry, and most importantly, an eighth of mushrooms that I showed him the day he pushed me down the stairs.  I didn’t call the cops.  My only proof that it was him was his knowledge of my hiding spot for the mushrooms, and that’s very incriminating against myself.

In retrospect, it was a very foolish thing for me to do, to ask him about “sharing” his girlfriend.  He already knew we were fooling around that one night we got drunk, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it.  At the same time, he didn’t say anything about it so I didn’t get any clear signals as to how he felt.  He was very upset, to the point where he robbed my house, even taking my mushrooms.  I was just horny and looking for ways to score with girls.  She seemed to have liked me the first time we fooled around, so I thought maybe we could do it again.  Of course, Tim was one of my friends and it was a cruel position for me to put him in.  It ruined our friendship.  Anyway, that’s the end of that summer, the summer of ’99. 

Last Rites

The next school year started, and I felt a strange emptiness pervading me, a feeling that I did not understand, as I had gotten everything I could have possibly wanted and more that past summer.  What I really needed was a powerful connection with someone stable, someone who truly loved me, someone my own age and at a level of intelligence that would allow free communication.  What I definitely didn’t need was more hallucinogenic drugs.  Those I took as freely as I had the previous three years, to my own ending.

I remember a few friends of mine talking about telepathy.  They were saying some people were better at sending and some at receiving.  I think they were trying to get me into the right state of mind.  Now, I know this all sounds very cult-y, but remember we were tripping quite a bit and very open to things of this nature.  It seemed natural to me to be talking about it as though it was a normal thing, considering the experiences I had had.  I was sure they were hinting at me to get me to understand the nature of these experiences, at least as far as they could teach.

The first few trips were uneventful.  One time, I bought acid in school, where another student, I think a junior, was putting drops of liquid LSD onto cookies and handing them out to people for five bucks a shot.  I took some of his, maybe two or three hits, while I still had a class left to go to before the end of the day.  In class, which was my German class, the teacher seemed to be creating trails behind her as she walked back and forth in front of us.  I was just nervous she would call on me, not knowing if I could keep my shit together and not make a fool out of myself.

We had a really good acid trip where the four or five of us actually wrote down stuff about ourselves that we wanted to share, and we all spent time talking about ourselves as though we were in some kind of group therapy.  I guess that’s what it was.  Felt great.  I remember writing about drugs, sex, and music, as three things that had made a major impact on my life.  Other people talked about their childhoods, or their ideological beliefs.  That trip was good, without any immediate aftereffects that were very negative.  I even played some guitar for my friends, and we played hacky-sack for a while, with the hacks creating trails through the air.  No sweat.  The trouble came during and after the mescaline trip that we had next.

Three of my friends from Philly and several of my friends from CT all got together with me at my parents’ house to take the mescaline.  I was anxious about it from the beginning; I had never hung out with both my CT friends and my Philly friends at the same time.  I thought this was why I was anxious.  I think, deep down, I was scared for my sanity, and I knew, on some level, that it was in serious danger at that point.

Only two things from that trip stand out in my mind.  One was an incredible jam session with Ben.  We played Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe”.  He played the chords and I soloed.  It sounded and felt great; I had never let go like that, at least not while playing with a real person. I used to jam along to Jimi and Floyd and reach incredible peaks of improvisation, but that was on my own.  I never clicked with someone so well in person. Maybe when I was jamming along with my CD’s I would reach heights like that, if I was stoned, but this was something else.  This time I felt like I was Hendrix, or that he was temporarily possessing me with his spirit.  It was deep.

The other thing that I remember happening, was something that changed the way I thought about reality in a permanent way.  Here’s the situation: Jay and I are sitting on my balcony deck by the table.  I’m thinking stuff in my head, and he is responding out loud! Sometimes, I would stop and consider what was happening and my mind would get very chaotic.  At these points he would say something like “slow down there, buddy, it’s ok”.  Then I would reassert control over myself and continue.  We did this for a while.  It’s hard to say how long; we were tripping after all.  If I had to guess I would say at least half an hour, if not more like an hour.  My head was blown wide open at this point, and I had no time to even sleep; I had to go to work in the morning.

I managed to work all day without having a nervous breakdown, though I felt like I was on the edge of one the whole time.  A nervous breakdown does not always happen all at once; sometimes it comes in stages, and may take a very long time to recover from.  I met Lynn that day; she was covering a shift at the courtesy booth for someone.  Normally she worked at a different store.  She was pretty and slim, about twenty one years old I guess.  She liked me.  I know this because she kissed me in public that day, in front of half the store.  All I did was walk up to her and start talking to her.  I desperately needed to talk to somebody, and she seemed as likely a candidate as any, being a pretty young girl.

I walked up to the courtesy booth and smiled at her.  Then I began.  “Have you ever had an experience that changes the way you think about everything?” I asked.  Smiles and nods at her end.  I rambled on for a while, not sure of myself but getting more comfortable.  Continuous smiles and nods from her end.  Finally, I got the picture and I asked for her number, which she quickly gave to me.  Then I got a call from my friends saying they needed cigarettes.  I told her my friends wanted me to steal smokes.  She smiled knowingly, turned her back, and whistled.  I grabbed four packs and pocketed them.  Then my friends called and said they wanted beer.  Tim (the same one) worked there too, and he had the beer cage’s key.  I got it from him and took two six packs out back where we could pick them up at the end of my shift.  Done deal.  Then I came back in and talked quietly with Lynn for a while.  Somehow, we started kissing.  That kiss was like a cool drink of water for a man dying of thirst.  It was the best kiss of my life.  I will never forget it, and I will always compare every other kiss I have to that one.

I know what everybody wants.  Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy’s life is saved.  Sorry but I can’t give you that.  What happened was that my mental state deteriorated considerable and continuously over the next several months.  My relationship with Lynn lasted about a month, whatever was there.  I was slowly falling apart.  I was in no condition to have a relationship with anyone.

My First Girlfriend

 The first time we hung out, a week after the day we met, she drove me to her house and we listened to Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits.  Afterwards we had sex.  It was short and difficult; and not very rewarding, as I’ve found all sex that does not include a fixed and indefinite commitment is like.  My friend Ben called and explained a very similar unsuccessful sexual encounter on the same night.  I immediately jumped to a secret meaning or hidden message, which was my paranoia getting a hold on me.  Maybe the worst thing about it is how the mind incessantly comes up with faulty theories and explanations for every coincidence it encounters.  Coincidences that would otherwise just be interesting, maybe even enlightening.  Paranoia warps those experiences into something awful, something soul crushing and terrifying.

Another time, Lynn came over to my place, and we hung out and had dinner with my parents and some of my friends.  One girl there started hitting on my dad in a joking sort of way.  I didn’t know what the hell was going on.  Everyone seemed so happy for me, but I was in no condition to appreciate that; I was so messed up.  I remember my mother reading my coffee cup, like a psychic reading, and she said she saw a rocket ship rising to the sky that could be representative of my life.  My mother is a deep person but she is not always right about her intuitions.  Her major drawback is that she always thinks she is right.  In this case, if my life had been a rocket ship, it exploded when it broke out of the atmosphere.

My relationship with Lynn ended with me hanging up on her for some crazy reason, then calling her back and trying to sing her a song to make it up to her.  Even if something as pathetic as that could actually work (and it was my parents’ idea, the geniuses of my life), my voice was totally cracking up, like my brain, and it sounded like crap.  Whatever; she didn’t like it and that was the end of our ill-fated relationship.  In retrospect I don’t know why I listened to my parents, or why my parents are so off on social situations that require me to interact with women.  I don’t think I have ever had any “normal” relationships; the closest one is the current one I am in, and even that one has been crazy.  I have a friend that says all women are crazy.  I think that applies to people in general, not just women.  I certainly am crazy, and I see madness everywhere I go, though I also see order within the chaos.  Just think of a highway.  Everybody is driving their individual vehicles, it’s noisy and fast, and people go into altered states of mind.  Very chaotic, but also very orderly, in that people stay within their lanes, don’t drive too close to each other, don’t speed too much etc.

The next five months were an agony of despair and suicidal thoughts.  I hated everything in my life.  I felt inferior to the rest of the human race because I honestly believed that everybody except for me was some kind of superhuman, telepathic god that had mind powers.  I was the only one who didn’t.  Talk about a total reversal of belief.  I really tripped myself off the deep end.  What I didn’t even realize at the time, what I didn’t realize until many years later, was that if anyone actually had mind powers, it was me and people like me.

But, at the time, I could see nothing good about myself.  I had completely and utterly destroyed my sense of perspective.  And I was lost in this new perceptual schema that my overindulgence in hallucinogenic drugs had created for me.  I saw everyone as being superior, and myself as being inferior.  All because I held this crazy belief that if you are not telepathic, all the time, you are not really a worthy human being at all.  It was an old feeling of being socially disconnected, rising up to haunt me in my senior year in high school.  The same isolation, the same wall between me and “normal” kids, who were now about eighteen years old with me. 

Basically, I almost tripped myself to death.  Many nights in winter I would sit in front of the lake and imagine throwing myself in, wondering how long it takes to freeze.  I think some deep rooted part of me was afraid of hell, or else I may have done it.  Either that or my survival instinct was telling me to live.  I believe God and other Spirits were watching over me then, and I had had visionary experiences during that time to indicate that I had a spiritual “family” of departed people who were always with me, and especially in times of need.  In any case I did not kill myself. 

One thing that happened that year was that I shared a dream with a girl, a friend of mine.  One night, I dreamt that this girl and I were sitting in the living room at my parents’ house, and I tried making out with her.  She took off, out of the house, and I followed her.  Then we spoke and the dream ended.  The next day at school, in the morning before classes, I approached her and said, “Last night I had a dream about you”.  She quickly said, “You tried to kiss me and I ran away”.  I dropped my mouth open and gaped.  How did she know?  Of course, this fit my schema of people being able to read minds and whatnot.  Now, I believe there is a seed of truth to all this mind-reading, which is that people can and will get on wavelengths of perception with one another that would qualify as mind-sharing, and also people have intuition that is inherently magical and “knowing” in nature, an especially regarding myself, people seem to often be right on point, mirroring my thoughts and actions as though they are in tune with me.  I don’t believe this is a delusion; the horror of it that first year was living this way with a shattered mind and broken emotions, and not knowing who or even what I was in the grand scheme of things surrounded by people that seemed to be doing well for themselves.

Another time, this time in the Spring or late Winter, I was in class and I was obsessing over psychic phenomena, as usual.  At the end of the class, we all had to get into a line at the door, waiting for the bell to ring so we could go home.  I decided to just walk up to a random person and blurt out the first thing that popped into my head.  I walked up to one guy, one of the more popular kids in school.  I blurted out, “My name is Saro Bedian!” 

He laughed and said, “I was about to say ‘what’s up Zorro?’”  I, of course, took it as a sign that I had read his mind.  I was elated, in fact, and I felt great that something had happened where I knew something.  In the Spring my mood had lifted, I was feeling better, and the hell of the winter was fading into memory.  I had simply “let go”, which allowed me to connect in a real way with this person in my class who I actually liked and admired as a worthy individual.  I had instinctually known what he would say ahead of time; real clairvoyance in my life is common now and I’m used to just accepting these things that happen to my perception as though they are normal.

 One of my symptoms was a belief that every time someone coughed or cleared their throat, they were doing it because of me. This, I believe, is absolutely true in a way, and this “symptom” was triggered by reading Herman Hess’ book, “Damian”, which is about two boys’ friendship, one of them being Damian who had mind powers and could induce a clearing of the throat or a sneeze in someone at will.  I’ve noticed I have this capacity even now at times, it’s simply a matter of Zen-ing their energy into my own in a specific way to create a break in their natural flow.  I’ve been aggravated with people on the phone who were advertising and projecting, outside of my own direct ability to control each detail, my annoyance, which would immediately result in a break in speech, a loss of thought connected to what they were saying, that in one conversation had me laughing as to how often it occurred, based on my annoyance with their voice.

At the time, I’d built a reservoir of destructive, negative energy, combined with excess of altered states, that led to many symptoms of “causing things to happen”, without physical contact in any way.  The school was suffering with me, I feel, and people were doing the best they could anyways.  Nobody really knew what to do with me, and my few friends that tried to help were a great support, and there were moments, brief though they were, that allowed me to transcend my mental and emotional disorder into states of peace, that would quickly be whisked away as the negative energy returned.

Another symptom of my disease was that I believed I was causing disruption in my music class.  Our chorus sucked that year, though it was the only year I was in it.  I remember people being very anxious about going up on stage, and even crying when we got down.  Not tears of joy, but disappointment and maybe even shame.  I could have sworn the reason we sounded so bad was because I was putting out a bad vibe, due to my horrific mental state.  It’s too bad I did not get medicated that year; it could have saved me and others from a lot of problems.  I felt sorry for the people around me, even though I had little to no control over my feelings and what I was doing with them.  I felt like I was ruining everybody’s lives, even as I had ruined my own.

The Rape Victim

A few good things came out of that school year.  One was my first experience counseling someone who also had serious mental problems.  There was a girl that worked at IGA with me who was very friendly with me at work.  She was always a good girl, not on drugs, not slutty, very well mannered and likeable.  Fat, but likeable.  I liked her anyway.  She called me one day (I don’t know how she got my number and I have no idea why she would call me, of all people), and asked for drugs; acid, mushrooms, coke, heroin etc.  This was a girl who previously (to my knowledge, anyway) had not even drank or smoked pot.  I knew something was very wrong immediately, both by the tone of her voice and her requests, and I asked her what had happened.  She didn’t want to talk on the phone, so I asked her to come over and sit with me to talk about what was going on.  In this way, I began informally (and I’m proud to say successfully) counseling a rape victim, which was something that she’d become recently before this occurred.

She came by and confessed to me, in tears, something that had happened to her at a party.  She had gotten drunk and fallen asleep, and when she woke up, she was getting raped.  She tried fighting him off but he had a friend there that was holding her down, and she was too weak and drunk to really do much fighting.  She was deeply scarred by the experience and needed some psychological help.  I don’t know why she didn’t go see a shrink; if this was the first time she ran into serious mental problems in her life she was probably slow to go down that avenue, everybody is at the beginning.  Instead, she came to me.  The paranoid, delusional, schizophrenic on the verge of suicide, me.

Counseling her actually made me feel better.  I felt like I was serving a purpose, helping someone out.  It led to me deciding to be a psychology major when I first when to college.  I think I actually helped the poor girl.  She would come over periodically with her journal and her scarred arms and wrists, and I would always tell her she should get professional help somehow.  I recommended women’s shelters and just a regular counselor, or at least friends she could trust to open up to.  She was, as many women become, ashamed of herself, and was scared to open up to people as to what had happened. 

One night, in winter when there was snow on the ground, we were out on the balcony deck (the same place I had had the telepathic experience with Jay several months earlier).  She was saying something along the lines of, “I don’t want to feel anything anymore, everything hurts, I wish I was dead, I don’t want to exist,” etc.  I got frustrated and freaked out on her.  “You don’t want to exist!?” I cried.  Then I started taking all my clothes off until I was standing in the snow in my underwear.  I started grabbing handfuls of snow and smacking myself with them, covering my body with the stuff.  “This hurts! This is unpleasant!  I feel cold and miserable!” I cried.  “But it’s better than feeling nothing, than not existing!” I told her.  I think I shocked the pain right out of her.  Talk about experimental therapy.  She certainly wasn’t expecting that.  That was the best move I made the entire time I was counseling her.  It really woke her up somehow.

Eventually, she went to a women’s clinic, a shelter for abused women.  She still came to see me from time to time, showing me her journal and telling me about her experiences.  I listened attentively and responded when I could, in whatever ways I thought made sense.  Eventually she stopped coming by.  I guess she got better.  I know she got better, actually, because a few years later, I was driving behind her when she rear-ended the car in front of her at the end of an off ramp by my neighborhood.  She got out and I recognized her immediately.  At that point in my life, I was in the most negative, destructive, soul crushing relationship that I have ever been the victim of.  I was in a bad place.  But she was psyched to see me and gave me a big hug, which made me feel good.  She told me she had a boyfriend and was happy with him, that her life was better now.  I was happy for her, but my own problems at the time loomed up in front of me, so the feeling did not last.

I remember being very angry at the rapist for a long time.  I would think of that poor girl, and get into a state of rage where I would fantasize about beating the guy that hurt her.  I actually prayed to hurt him; I tried to intend that he would get hurt, even though I didn’t know who he was.  I was trying to use magic, I think, and that is the beginning of those types of thoughts, in which I tried to create a destructive result in reality by “praying” or “intending”.  This is dark stuff, the stuff of sorcery.  Many people believe in it, in fact, many people that are not diagnosed practice magic.  People light candles and say a few words and concentrate, focusing themselves.  Whether or not the magic works is another story, but people still believe.  When I talked to the girl a few years after counseling her and I saw that she was ok, it gave me a good feeling, like we had won against the evil the guy had committed.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  That did not happen until a year or two later.  Right now I’m in the springtime of my senior year, the year 2000.  A new millennium, and a new season for a new state of mind.  My paranoia was clearing up finally, and I stopped having those feelings of uncontrollably leaving myself that would always lead to a cough or sometimes a sneeze in someone I went to.  It took almost six months of agonizing over this one thing to gain enough will to overcome this obstacle.  The change in weather always makes me feel better, and another thing happened.  I started being interested in girls again.  Actually, I was seriously considering trying to get laid or at least start a relationship.  As fate would have it, a relationship landed in my lap.  I consider it the first time I fell in love, though I botched up that situation so badly that again, due to my mistakes, I almost lost my life.  Call it bad karma, call it what you will; if you discard something beautiful and pure in essence for something purely carnal, and you are me, you will go to hell over it.  But let me start at the beginning…

Psychic in Germany

In April of that year, I went on a class trip to Germany.  A group of about a dozen students went, and several teachers.  I think it cost the students’ parents about fifteen hundred dollars; not bad for ten days in Europe.  I remember the frau was in charge, our German teacher.  The chorus teacher was there too, Mrs. B.  I always like her; she seemed free spirited and also very spiritual.  She was a creative artist, so that goes with the territory.  I’ m surprised she didn’t smoke pot; maybe those days were behind her.  I think she was pushing on forty when I was in her class, though I thought she was beautiful and I even had some fantasies about her.  Not that she knew that, but I always felt like we had a special connection.  In fact, I think I loved her.  One way to sum up how I felt about Mrs. Bodwell was a painting someone had done on a wall in the hallways of the musical part of school.  The painting was of the night sky, and the caption read, “Aim for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars”.  That was Mrs. Bodwell’s mentality; aim high, seek the heavens.  She once alluded to me having an old soul, which I took as a high compliment at the time.

Anyway, I had a friend with me there, Marcin.  He was German born, an immigrant to the U.S., whose family had money (anyone living in that area and going to that school had some money), and he was very intelligent, confident, cool, sophisticated, and charming.  Like a European gentleman businessman in miniature.  I think he was fourteen or fifteen at the time.  I was glad he was there, as I didn’t really know anyone else very well.  I had been in class with most of them throughout the past two years, but I hardly knew them at all.  There were some preppy kids that goofed off a lot.  There were also some nerdy kids who were very intelligent and studious.  One of those nerdy kids, a girl, was to change my life during that trip.

One day, on a bus somewhere in Bavaria, I was sitting next to a girl name Rachel.  She was dozing, and I was totally relaxed, soaking up Europe for the first time, alive with possibilities and dreams.  I closed my eyes and leaned my head back and immediately slipped into a vision, in which I saw a train going around a mountain.  I opened my eyes and then Rachel did too, and we looked at each other.  She simply said, “I was dreaming”. 

I then simply said, “I saw a train going around a mountain.” 

“So did I!” she exclaimed, and that’s how we met.  I call that true love now, because from my current perspective, that’s one of the most powerful things that can happen between a boy and a girl, a man and a woman.  Especially total strangers, or near total.  It is both intimate and beautiful, as intimacy should always be, like our souls were touching for a moment, which I believe they were.  I feel very lucky that this was possible to happen, and I often say in order to enter a serious relationship (which is only what I look for, if I feel like I’m looking at all), one needs a proper Act of God, or, in other words, for a higher power to step in and take control of the meeting so that the puzzle pieces fit perfectly.  It implies a loss of or reduction in personal control over the events, which I like, because I am a romantic and believe fate is largely out of our own hands. All we can do is follow it or fight it.

In any case we hung out during the trip.  We even got drunk on the slopes of the Alps one day when we were given free time.  A group of us drank together.  At one point I was alone, wandering up the gentle slope of a mountain, and I found myself in front of a barn and farmhouse where there were goats.  I pet the goats for a while and relaxed, drinking.  Then I returned to the others and rejoined the group.  I was sloshed, and I remember Rachel got really sick.  I felt bad for her, especially because I was the one that bought the alcohol and provided it to the others.  It was her first time drinking, I think.

One day on the trip we went to a castle in the Bavarian countryside.  It was Ludwig the second’s castle, and it had been built for him by his father on his birth.  His father hired all the greatest and most skilled artists and craftsman to come work on the castle.  The whole thing is like one enormous work of art.  In every room there is carved wood, paintings on the walls and ceiling, and stained glass windows looking out on the valley below.  The castle was built on a hillside, and there was a bridge leading to the main entrance that we had to cross over a ravine.  It was one of the most beautiful structures I have ever seen, maybe the most beautiful of all. 

We also spent a day walking through gardens of nobles in Germany.  We wandered around in a wide expanse of land that was covered with well-ordered flower patches and hedge mazes with watercourses running through it.  That was one thing I loved about Europe; many of the nobility that still live there open their estates to tourists so we can walk around in their gardens and pretend we are highborn like themselves.  Very benevolent, if you ask me, and a far cry from the historical abuses of nobility.  Maybe there is hope for mankind yet; it seems things have gotten better as time goes on.

The trip was great, the food was great, the scenery was great, the social contact was great…Europe was great!  I think it always is, though I’ve only been there twice, once in Germany and once in Portugal.  Both times I was deeply affected by my experiences there and they have impacted my life in vast, far reaching ways.  Spiritual experiences abound when I travel, the farther from home and hearth the greater, it seems to be.  Makes sense; altered states are what really cause spiritual experiences, and traveling somewhere as distant, both geographically and societally, as Europe, causes changes in mental states that run through the whole organism.

Good Times with Rachel

I came back to the States on top of the world; I had got what I wanted, in two ways.  One: I proved that I am capable and lovable as a man who has access to the higher consciousness of a human being, both to myself and to a girl I really liked.  Two: I had a girlfriend, a nice, loving, respectful, decent, intelligent girlfriend.  I didn’t really understand how lucky I was; it’s amazing the depths of tomfoolery I’ve indulged in.  It’s almost like a part of me wants to fail, wants to suffer.  Because fail and suffer I did; this relationship did not end on a happy note either, though it wasn’t in the wake of total devastation like the brief stint with Lynn.

Rachel and I hung out whenever we could.  The first time we hung out I kissed her.  I felt like we had a special connection and I really liked her and knew she liked me, so I made my move.  She became my girlfriend, and for the time that we had, it was a good relationship.  So we hung out, me driving us around town in my dad’s Toyota Tercel station-wagon, stick, and her in the passenger seat.  I remember once she told me that when I drove, she felt safe with me.  I’ve heard that compliment from the two happy relationships I had in my life, and I hold it to be an incredible thing to hear from the woman you are with, especially with my lurid history.  I don’t think I really understood what I had in her.  Here was a girl that adored me, that was willing to overlook all my eccentricities and really enjoy being with me, who wanted me to love her.  And I think I did love her, in a way.  I loved being with her and the way she made me feel.  I was still dealing with underlying issues that had yet to be fully addressed, however, and these issues and life circumstances ruined what good was in that once briefly healthy friendship and love.

I remember one night, after prom I think, when we slept outside in a tent on someone’s property.  Prom was fun, though I didn’t know how to dance then (though I have a much better hang of it now, I just needed to learn to let loose and let go).   I got drunk and had a blast anyways.  The night in the tent, Rachel and I were with another couple, all of us in sleeping backs.  Everybody seemed to be having a blast and no one was uncomfortable.  We slept there in peace and tranquility, something I forget about having always regularly experienced as the ravages of time and drug abuse completely interfered with my ability to sleep in normal, healthy ways.

Rachel was a virgin when we got together, and we decided to have sex after a couple of months of being a couple.  That didn’t turn out too well.  I had never had sex with a virgin before, and never since.  Technically we didn’t really have sex at all.  When I tried entering her, I met resistence and after a few pushes I gave up, having had a thought of blood and perhaps a crying fit.   I feel that was a major failure on my part; she wanted it to be me to do it, and I should have done it, I should have been “the one”.  I feel, to this day, that I played the part of a coward, and I broke up with her afterwards because of this one mistake I made, which was my peace and happiness’ downfall that year. 

She had a mentally retarded sister, that’s one thing I remember.  Her sister was really fat, as some slower people get if they are overindulged.  They don’t have many available pleasures in life, so eating often becomes one of the few things they do as a coping skill, which can be “fed into” by their families.  Her family was Unitarian Universalist, which I thought was fascinating.  I could’ve really enjoyed my time with her had I not taken her for granted because in many ways she was perfect for me.  At least for the short period of time we would have had before she went to college.  I wasn’t going to college, not then, not after that horrific year in high school and the necessary time I’d need to take to recover from the whole high school experience, though I never got that recovery period at all anyway.

So in a way, our relationship was doomed to end anyway at the end of the summer.  Maybe I knew this and that’s what prompted me to do what I did.  I’m not trying to condone it; my life over the next few years would have been infinitely better had I stuck it out with her for the summer, wrote, and called one another after she had gone away.  What I did was awful, and I remember that during that time she started becoming very depressive as the breakup loomed in front of us.  I told her I wanted to be with someone else, and I simply cut the relationship short.  One of the worst moves of my life, a life chock full of deep mistakes.  I think I broke her heart, and the result for me was to enter a relationship and life that I have termed, “The Seventh Circle”.

The Fool Needs Comfort

That Spring I had started working at the IGA again.  I met a woman, ten years older than me, named Leah Greene.  The same Leah Greene whose voice, most often bellowing out pure rage, haunted my days when I was at my weakest post-2006 Mushroom trip.  She became like a demon to me, one that I could overcome with effort, but she was intrinsically negative towards me and my life for many years

When I met her I had no clue how miserable I was going to be with her.  I don’t know what kept us together for about a year and a half; the sex was good, but I don’t think that was it.  I always got deeply depressed after we had sex anyway, probably because I knew she didn’t care for me and I didn’t care for her.  I think what kept me in the relationship was my fear of being alone.  I did not want to be alone; I wanted someone with me all the time.  She was the last person in the world that I should have been going to for comfort; she was not really the comforting type.  She was what I’ve read to be a “free woman”, in other words, she didn’t answer to any man and would support herself as a personal choice.  The absolute wrong person to be in a relationship with.  She was also ten years older than me, and with my embarrassing talk in mid high school about my mother, this created a deep rooted embarrassment and shame in my choice for a relationship, as she was an older woman.  I should have stuck to a girl my age, and not worked for a living, as part of my suffering and insanity was due to cognitive dissonance and a lack of given time to heal from high school.  Instead, I jumped into a very stressful work environment right out of high school, worked overtime, and ended up after two years with nothing to show for it but more scars and pain.

Shortly after we started being sexual together, I had a dream in which her ex-husband was giving it to me from behind while I went down on her.  There was another clear cut sign that something was terribly out of whack.  Her husband and she were swingers and he a porn store mogul in our local area, also a freelance pornographer trying to start his own label at the time.  I should’ve backed off at that point and headed for the hills, but the fool that I was; I just put my head down and pushed forward.  I don’t think I even thought about the dream at all.  Dreams are very easy to forget, and only in retrospect after the relationship was over did I remember the dream and think about its implications.

Shortly after beginning my job (which I immediately hated), my cognitive dissonance and previous damage led to a quiet voice in my mind that I took for my own voice simply saying “rape”, as though a part of me was being raped.  This was an effect of my own choices at the time, and this quiet beginning escalated into the most horrific types of thoughts, especially for a person who was intrinsically designed to be humanitarian in nature and a lover of people of any creed or race.  The main result, over time and pressure and an ongoing living nightmare emotionally and psychologically, was the bellowing voice in my mind shouting “rape a nigger’s asshole!”.  This became a series of types of negative racist and violent thinking, the echoes of which still haunt my daily life when I’m not well on a day to day basis, though my coping skills and self awareness have, as a general rule, improved greatly over time.  I was exposed to racism from my friendship with Jay and his older brother as well, having been called a “sand-nigger” by these people that were supposed to be friends.  I think the psychotic thought process was a self-reflection of my horrified, child’s mind unto itself, my voice bellowing in my own ears, until all sense of basic goodness, harmony, and peace were eradicated and replaced with an out of control eighteen to twenty year old who wished only to die and be done with it, but was raised Christian and therefore feared the devil he didn’t know over the devil he did, and did not buy a gun to simply end it all at once.  There’s another aspect to this thought-emotion-hell that I must elucidate: I was under the impression, for the duration of those two years, that the whole human race was being affected by me being this way, and this, by itself, made the nightmare that much worse and an impossible situation to live with.  The “situation” ended with me retracting from all work related things, isolating in my parents’ home and telling them I wasn’t going to work anymore, and them taking me to a psychiatrist to become permanently medicated due to my choices.  Some life…

Hell in the Ghetto

I was working overtime for the next year and a half or so, paying my parents rent, paying my car insurance, paying for my drugs and gas, and I even saved enough to almost buy myself a car.  With a little help from my folks, I did.  I should have been proud of myself, but I wasn’t.  I felt like the biggest lowlife, the biggest piece of shit, and the biggest loser imaginable.  I wanted to die, but again, because of my deep rooted fear of the unknown, in this case, what waited for me on the other side, I didn’t actually come out and try to kill myself.  Instead, I made it far more likely that I would die by acting in certain ways. 

For one thing, I drove around about fifty miles per hour over the speed limit, whenever I could, all the time.  I also would close my eyes while driving, especially on the highway, and when I was feeling really ballsy I would close my eyes with a mental snapshot of the traffic on the highway, and then speed up and swerve in and out, still with my eyes closed.  This is all true; none of it is made up or exaggerated.  I was truly insane, more crazy than I had ever been in my life, and crazier in a raw, negative way than I’ve ever been before or after.  Hence, “The Seventh Circle” (of hell) seems aptly put.  I wanted to die, but I was afraid to take responsibility for that desire and actually kill myself outright, so I just tried to have an accidental death.  The fact that I am still alive today makes me believe in God, or gods, or at least some force in the universe that acts as a protective agent for people like me.  They say that God looks out for drunks, lunatics, and small children.  I guess something was looking out for me, because I am still here today to write about those experiences.

I also started picking up prostitutes and habituating crack houses during the wee hours of the night.  When I was nineteen, I worked the overnight shift at a construction site in the middle of the worst ghetto in that area, and I really lived it up.  The first time I picked up a prostitute was an evening when, against my wishes, Leah said she was spending the night at her ex-husband’s place.  Her swinger, porn store owner, orgy instigating ex-husband, who had, incidentally, fucked me in a horrible dream I had of him.  I was driving around that night, very disturbed, and a woman walking the street flagged me down.  I honestly had no idea what this was that was happening until she offered me a thirty dollar blowjob, which I was going to take, but she ripped me off instead.  I then picked up someone else and did my thing with them.

These hookers would usually charge twenty to thirty dollars for a BJ, and fifty to sixty for sex.  I must have picked up about a dozen different hookers in my stint as a security guard in that town in my nineteenth year of life, and by the end of that time the streets were largely empty and cleared up of this kind of thing.  I’ve never picked up a hooker since that time, though in the recent years I had the unfortunate experience of doing just that once, only to drive her around her town of Fitchburg to sell drugs, smoking crack with her but not using her for her body.  That is a complete turn off to me, and in a way that was subconscious to me then was during that time as well.  Once in Worcester in the past few years I picked up a woman of whom I was asking directions.  She just jumped into my car without asking and I knew immediately what was going on.  She offered me a ten dollar BJ, and I had cash, but I turned her down and simply asked her where she lived, driving her home.  I have, however, been a frequenter of a strip club in Worcester, which is almost as bad, as these girls there do some serious work on me at least when I used to go, and I’d almost always get off for twenty to forty dollars.

Her response when I told her was not, “how could you do that to me?” or “you’re a goddamn cheater”.  Instead, she said, “why couldn’t you pick a nice young cheerleader instead of a hooker?”  That response, in and of itself, should have told me to get out of the relationship, as I am deeply romantic, but at that time in my life I was so cut off from my true identity that I was basically just a scared and confused kid not knowing what was good for him.

One night I had another brush with death, this time by potential gunshot.  I had picked up a prostitute and was with her in my car, when I suddenly had a hankering for some weed.  I asked her if she had any at her place, and she said yes, we could go.  So we drove to this crack house along the main drag of that ghetto area.  I brought a six pack with me inside, and I handed a beer to some Hispanic guy at the door, just being friendly.  He decided then to mess with me and pulled out a gun, putting it directly to the center of my forehead.  He told me to give him another beer.  I had been waiting for a non-suicide opportunity to get killed, so I automatically responded to this “request” without even thinking.

I looked him straight in the eyes and simply said, “No”.  Blank face, no emotion showing, and then the transference of the situation hit both him and the hooker, who knew him personally it turned out.  They both started freaking out in front of me, while I stood there, totally calm, like a Zen monk, just waiting to see what would happen.  The man with the gun just ended up saying something cliché, I think “you’re cool”, and then pointed with the gun for me to go upstairs.  I just did a mental shrug and walked up into the crack den.

Not only was I a potential homicide-ee during that time, I was also a potential homicide-er.  One time I was trying to buy coke off some black guy in the same ghetto, and he grabbed my wallet when I brought it out, took the money from it, and exited my car all in the blink of an eye.  He had sold me a stick of chewing gum for fifty bucks, and he wasn’t sticking around for me to realize that I was a fool.  I tried to run him down with my car.  For fifty bucks. 

Another time, this a much more dangerous and serious incident, I was driving down the highway with the pedal to the floor as I always did, cruising at around 105 or 110 in the left hand lane, when a car pulled up in the right lane and matched my speed.  I glanced over to see a young man in a muscle car.  He was built looking and was staring right at me.  I kept an eye on him and noticed him slowly cut his wheel in my direction as he stared at me.  I cruised to the left as far as I had to so he wouldn't hit me, all the way into my shoulder, and then he repositioned himself in his lane again.  I moved right with him, coming back into my lane as he moved into his.  He was looking directly at me throughout all of this.

My response was again, quick, instant, without thought.  I spun my wheel hard into his lane, and drove him off the road, not looking back to see what had happened. I may have killed him, I won’t know until I die I guess.

I spent nights in crack houses several times during that period of my life.  Once I was with some guys who were actually pretty civil, for crack heads.  One of them took a liking to me and convinced me to let him give me a BJ.  I tried, I really did.  I ended up standing there, limp, while he tried his best to get me up, eventually with my whole body shaking, and finally I told him to stop.  I’ve also before tried watching gay porn to see if I had it in me, but I end up laughing at myself after a few minutes with no activity whatsoever.  I guess I’m actually 100% straight, though I’ve been well feminized in my life and when I’m ok with myself, enjoy having a feminine side, watching movies and listening to music that is designed for women at times, really getting into it.

        Although I was suffering immensely during this time, I was not at all drug addicted, nor did I gravitate towards the ideation regarding drug use and drug addiction.  I occasionally drank a few beers, more rarely smoked pot (which I would usually buy off of a black person in a convenience store parking lot, dressed as a security officer with the lights on my security car on), and very rarely I’d do coke, smoke crack basically.  That happened only a handful of times and was always very negative, contributing much more to my symptoms instead of making me feel at least temporarily better.  The weed would bring me real peace of mind when I smoked, though I never thought to become a pothead at the time.

Violent out of my Body

        I’d like to mention an interesting (but rather disturbing) experience I had with an unusual dream one night.  I went to bed, and my dog came into my room while I was lying there.  I remember thinking I didn’t want her there because I was worried she would wake me up in the morning, but I didn’t have the heart to get her to leave.  Besides, I was comfortable, so I said, “what the hell, let her sleep here.”  That night, I dreamt that I flew up into the air out of my body, and then went flying down at the dog, striking her butt.  I felt a jolt in the dream and then I snapped wide awake.  The dog was getting up and walking out of the room.

        Now, I’ve never raised my hand in anger at that dog.  I never struck her or kicked her or abused her in any way.  I don’t know why that happened, or how.  I remember getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom to get water, and then washing my face.  The poor animal was lying on the ground in front of my parents’ bedroom door.  She looked a little freaked out.  I tried to comfort her. I hope I did, because I loved that dog.  I have always had a deep rooted violent streak in me.  I used to take it out on my brother, before I became mature enough to realize that I shouldn’t abuse the poor kid.  After all the tripping and getting high, my violence came out of me in a very bad way.  I was hell bent on destruction, at the same time trying to hold my life together.  I thought I was going to die.

        There is a story I read in a Carlos Castaneda book much later in my life about Toltec sorcery, where he and a woman who was being taught by the same master were put together in a situation by him, both set up to experience something like this.  Don Juan, their teacher, told the woman to find a way to kill Carlos by using her sexuality as a weapon to weaken him.  She did attempt to do this, and when she struck at his navel, his will, he projected himself automatically out of his body, into the air, and then struck her with his energy body from above, which backed her off immediately.  Interesting recounting, and I know I read it when I was well into my twenties for the first time, remembering the experience I had with  my dog as I did, and this frightened me more than the rest of his work ever did.

A Dysfunctional Relationship

Now, it’s not as though I had no choice but to stay with Leah.  Other girls had shown interest in me, both at my work setting and just from knowing them around the neighborhood.  One was a sensualistic, slightly overweight poetess, who could do amazing things with her tongue on my neck.  I hooked up with her one night, but as soon as I got home I called up Leah and confessed what I did, as though she owned me already, even at this early stage of our relationship.  I would have done better to stay with someone my own age, again my only excuse is a history previously of masochism mixed with just youth, immaturity, a lack of self-knowledge…just not knowing what’s good for me and sticking to it. 

Another time, when Leah was on vacation in Las Vegas, I was working the night shift as usual and I had fallen asleep in my car as often would happen. I woke suddenly, instinctually, with a start.  Another car was pulling up the street to my side, and I felt mysteriously drawn to it.  I got out and walked over, where two girls had gotten out of the car.  One of them was standing and the other one was bent over, her nice butt sticking up in the air in front of me.  I felt flustered and turned on at the same time.  I had a curly afro at the time, and when the girl stood up, she looked at me and said, “You’re one of those cute hippy guys right?”  Then she stepped up to me and started rubbing on me.  My mouth dropped and if it had lasted a second longer I would have grabbed her and held her, but she moved away just before I had a chance to get my head on straight.  She walked up the steps into her apartment.  Her friend looked at me and said, “She has split personality disorder”, as though that explained everything.  Very unusual, but unusual things seem to happen to me periodically in my life, even nowadays, though things are far more predictable to me now.

Anyway, the relationship between Leah and I lasted until the Spring before my twentieth birthday.  One night she had company over; a young guy around my age, handsome and fun loving, and I could tell she wanted him.  They were flirting and teasing each other right in front of me, which really pissed me off.  He was even tickling her, while I was sitting next to them, and still I did nothing about it.  That night when I was in bed with her, I tried to have sex her, but she didn’t want to.  This infuriated me, and I stormed out of there with the intent of picking up a prostitute.  Healthy relationship, huh?

I found a night walker and fucked her in my car at the site where I worked.  This time however, something new happened.  My condom broke.  While I was inside a hooker.  That was the last straw.  I knew Leah wouldn’t have sex with me from then on, and I was ok with that.  That’s actually what I wanted.  I wanted out of that relationship, and I was too stuck in habit to make a clean break of it.  So I used what happened with the prostitute as an excuse and said, “See, now we can’t have sex anymore, I guess we are done”.  So dysfunctional it’s disturbing. 

I never hit Leah or was physically violent with her, nor had I been that way with any girl or woman in my life to that point but at one point something strange happened that I now understand.  We’d been fighting verbally, and I was washing dishes in her sink and imagining beating up on her.  As I was imagining this, she came up from behind and said, “I think you’d better leave”.  I said ok and left her apartment to muse on things and cool off.  I was convinced she knew what I was thinking.  She had already indicated to me that she was psychic so it wasn’t too far-fetched. This sort of thing only fed into my belief that anyone can read my mind at any time, which has, in a way, still stuck with me to this day, though my coping skills are well developed and the grain of truth hidden in that belief I hold sacred and try to keep well.

Jay came to my rescue shortly after I broke up with Leah.  I was still depressed, though strangely freed from the relationship that had haunted me for the past year and a half.  He brought me one thing that made me feel better: marijuana.  This time, I smoked as though my life depended on it.  I smoked myself stupid, stupid and happy, and crazy, and ecstatic.  I remember banging myself on the chest in front of my kitchen sliding door where I could see my reflection.  I remember wandering out into the neighborhood, elated, thinking deep thoughts and feeling deep feelings.  I had a lot of guilt about my relationship with Leah, and I was struggling with that while I was high, apologizing to her in my own way.  I was apologizing for never appreciating her positive qualities, always taking her for granted, and generally being miserable in her company.  I continued to smoke pot on a regular basis for a while, for a few weeks anyway, until I ran out.

Danai

At this point, I met Danai, which is just a side note in this story, though she is still a woman that I think of sometimes.  I could have had something with her, but I did not play my cards right.  Honestly I just wasn’t ready for anything new.  When I met her I was being driven around by my mother.  We stopped at a Middle Eastern market, where I met Danai and asked her if I could bum a smoke.  She was dressed as a gothic girl, with the makeup and clothing that fit the image.  I didn’t think she was especially attractive at the time, she just seemed interesting.  Somehow, I got her number, and we decided to hang out. 

When she picked me up, she looked like a totally different person.  She was wearing jeans and a tight blouse and she looked hot.  I was blown away, I wanted her and I wanted her to like me.  We started the night just the two of us in her bedroom, and she asked me if I wanted to smoke pot.  I said sure, and when I smoked, I turned into a completely different person.  Extreme paranoia, social awkwardness, and even fear were gripping me when I was high with her.  This was a sharp contrast to how I was experiencing pot on my own.  When I smoked by myself, I felt elated, overjoyed, at peace.  With her I felt like a little bug, anxious that I was going to be seen and judged, no self esteem, no confidence.

The night passed pretty uneventfully.  At one point I was sure that she was somehow sharing thoughts with her friends while we were riding in their car.  She said something about pirates, I think.  I got the impression that her friends and she were existing on two different planes at the same time.  Partially on the physical plane, and partially on what can only be called the astral plane.  They were existing both in physical reality and their imaginations, sharing aspects of both among all their separate consciousness. 

I’ve experienced this myself in a variety of different ways with a variety of different people, often on drugs, often sober as the day I was born.  But these experiences only started occurring a few years later, when I began hanging out with Chris, and that’s for another part of this story.  For now, let’s just say I was fascinated and terrified by Danai and her friends, and as much as I had wanted her when I was sober, I could not bring myself to the point where I could be a human being while I was stoned.  Weed was my undoing in that situation, and I will always wonder, wistfully, what could have happened with Danai and I, had I not gotten high.

Crisis and Medication

        After the events with Danai, I gave up all hope and stayed at home, telling my parents I was not going to work anymore.  I blamed my whole lifestyle for the horrors and chaos I’d witness for those few years, and I was right in doing so.  My dad’s immediate response was to take me to a psychiatrist, which I went with, as I was open to help and did not know what I was getting myself into.  They put on Depakote and Zyprexa, which I hardly took for the next six months, but ended up working again against my will and better judgment.

That summer, the summer of 2002, I got a job at a gas station/convenience store.  I hated this job, almost as much as I had hated my previous several jobs.  My boss seemed bossy, my coworkers seemed to dislike me, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to do a good enough job to get positive feedback.  I was still un-medicated at this point, though I had seen the psychiatrist and received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  I did not go into the details of my thought processes with the doctor.  Otherwise I would have probably gotten a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder to begin with. However, I did tell the story of the things I had been doing for the past few years, as well as an overview of my drug use.  Based on what I told him, he diagnosed me as being bipolar.

One other thing happened that summer.  I went to my cousin’s wedding in California, and I got hammered at the wedding party.  We were at a woodsy resort in the mountains, very upscale, and I had a bungalow with my dad, mom, and brother.  I hurt my ankle the first day there, playing hacky-sack, and I was going to stay in for the wedding party and skip it.  My dad came by and convinced me to come to the party.  There was an open bar, and everyone was drinking, dancing, and carrying on.  I ate and drank, danced a bit with one of my cousins, and then went to the bar to get hammered.  The bartender was a beautiful young woman, who I was trying to get to sleep with me the whole time I was there.  I was very horny for some reason.  At one point, I walked up to a total stranger, a hot, slim woman in her twenties, and simply asked her, “Do you want to fuck?”  She said no and I went back to hitting on the bartender.

I never got laid that time, though I was in good shape.  I was pretty emotionally scarred by my previous years and I didn’t have much game.  I’m sure if I had played my cards right I could have got some action.  I just went about doing my thing in a haphazard, overly cocky sort of way.  Women like gentlemen, generally, or at least the types of women at that wedding did, and any women that have turned on to me like me as a decent man with good intelligence and a good heart, and a lot of interest in them also of course.

 

What triggered me to get on the meds and stay on the meds was my last time experiencing what it’s like to be in a crack house.  Leah and I were broken up.  In other words, we were not having sex anymore, but we were still hanging out.  I wanted to hang out with her one night, but she did not want to.  I was upset and lonely, and in my state I decided to drive to New York to pick up a hooker.  I did not find one there, though I ended up at the Bronx Zoo at three am somehow, and ended up pulling over to ask a cop for directions out of the city.  I used to drive sometimes to Boston from southeastern CT and I’ve gone to NY City to visit a friend in college several times as well, and was healthy enough and confident to the point where I would not even use directions, only follow road signs and the four cardinal points to know where to go.  After getting out of NY, I ended up back in the same ghetto that I used to work in around five am.  There, I found what I was looking for, and this is the story of what happened.

The hooker I picked up was a fat, middle aged black woman who smoked crack.  She picked some up while we were together and we went back to my parents’ house to fool around and smoke it.  I couldn’t get hard, either because I was really turned off by her, or because the crack messed up my sex drive.  In either case, I did not get what I wanted in the first place.  Instead, she convinced me to go to a house, where there was a crack dealer, and hang out there.  I don’t know why I agreed, I was pretty crazy.  I didn’t even like crack all that much; it was not a high that I especially enjoyed.  I’ve never liked coke or crack very much, and I can count the number of times I’ve done them on my two hands.

Anyway, we were at the crack house and we smoked crack.  All morning, until around ten am.  The dealer needed to get paid eventually, and he told me so.  He actually went with me to the bank to make sure I didn’t try to rip him off.  I’m pretty sure he ripped me off, because I gave him four hundred dollars for five hours of smoking crack, which seems ridiculous.  I had smoked a lot, however, and I was close to freaking out.  At one point I was curled up in a ball in the corner, rocking back and forth, hearing the word “nigger” in my head, paranoid, scared, feeling awful, with the black hooker rubbing my arms with rubbing alcohol.  The crack dealer started yelling at me. “I’m a nigger!  I’m a nigger!” he yelled.  I was sure he was hearing me think the word and that was why he was yelling that at me.  I believe that is true, and this only contributed to my horror at the time more, as I couldn’t control my mind’s reactions as I was, and was unwilling to leave with the pressure being put on me by the same people there who were with me.

They were, strangely enough, nice enough people, and treated me well, cooking me food, and the hooker trying to keep me calm when I was freaking out.  Long story short, when I finally left I got into a hit and run by backing into the car behind me, and I actually returned to the same spot afterwards.  Someone had called the cops, and they showed up and questioned me.  I felt close to fainting and did my best not to do or say anything stupid.  I was already in deep trouble already, so I did not want to make the situation any worse.  My mother came and picked me up from there, because I was in no condition to drive.  When I got home I finally took the meds, feeling terrible, and I slept.  After that I didn’t take meds daily until another incident occurred, about a week later, in which I totaled my mother’s minivan and hurt two innocent people in the process.

I got into a head on collision with another car going forty five or fifty miles per hour.  I wasn’t on drugs at the time, though my mental state was terrible and I really shouldn’t have been driving.  I was speeding and the person in front of me, pretty far in front of me, made a right hand turn, then pulled a u-turn on that street and came back on the road.  When I saw them make the right I sped up even more, and that led to me rear-ending them when they pulled back onto the road.  When I hit their car, the van I was driving swerved into oncoming traffic, where I had a head on collision with a small sedan.  The people in the car were injured pretty badly.  One of them broke their wrist and the other their leg, or something like that.  No one died, gratefully.  The people were somewhat elderly, and I felt awful for what happened.  I think I sent an apology note to them while they were staying at the hospital.

After the crack house and crashing the car, I finally got on the meds and stayed on them this time.  I remember that after the first week on meds had gone by, I told my father that I felt at peace finally.  I started school at the same time, and would sleep sixteen hours a day with my meds in me.  Twelve overnight, and four more during the first four hours at school.  People seemed to like me and feel ok around me much more when I was medicated than without, which is almost always the case in my life.  I did well in school even with the excessive sleeping, mainly A’s the first two semesters, an easy time for me at the beginning of college.  During the second semester, around mid winter, probably at the end of January into early February, I started hearing a little voice in my mind saying that it wished it would die.  I thought it was because I was taking meds; in actuality I was likely overmedicated at the time, as doctors tend to often make this mistake with people.  Also, over the four months I had taken these drugs I’d gone from a slim and fit 160 pounds to a very heavyset 210, and my self esteem was suffering as well as my hopes for meeting a nice girl.  I decided to get off my meds at that point, told my parents and doctor, who backed me in this decision at the time and said I could try it out and see how it went.

At that point I decided to stop taking them and start dieting and working out.  The only reason I have ever tried to permanently get off my meds was weight gain.  After I started getting prescribed meds that didn’t have that side effect, I continued taking them every day, up until and including the present.  I feel that meds are a necessary part of my life.  They may not have been had I not been at all involved with other drugs, but I did the damage to my mind early on and now I accept the fact that I need help from meds.  I may have had to take them anyway, even if I didn’t do any drugs, but it’s impossible to know for sure.  My mother is pretty crazy and she never had to take meds, and she only dappled a little bit in drugs in college.  Had I followed a pattern like that, had I been protected as a child, I may have been able to handle my life. If your kid shows signs of being a hyper-sensitive, very imaginative and creative and also moody and unstable, make sure you protect them from drug use.  What is a manageable condition to begin with can soon become hellish for the people involved.

Chapter 19: Trips Leading to a Trip

For a long time it seemed I could be ok without the meds.  Doctors will tell you the stuff builds up in your system and then stays there for a while after you stop taking them.  This may be true, but I did not reach a crisis until about five months later, and only after tripping intensely a few times, doing some coke, and travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe for the second time in my life.  At first when I stopped the pills, I immediately felt better the very next day, and each day it seemed my head cleared up a bit more.  However, other things that I did and that happened got in the way of any real success getting off of medication permanently, which were old failures that I messed up with again at this point in my life.  I was also eating about two hundred calories a day and exercising five days a week for a few months.  I lost fifty pounds in about a month and a half.  Eventually I got down to a respectable weight and I looked pretty good, so I stopped dieting and working out.  I did not start gaining weight again until I went back on the meds the following fall.  In the spring of 2003 I tripped twice with two different friends from high school, which proved to be disastrous and destroyed any hopes of stability and ok-ness off of medication.

The first one was with Ben, and we ate a crap-load of cough medicine and mixed it with pot and laughing gas.  At one point, we were playing Super Puzzle Fighter on the Playstation, a game like Tetris only with different rules and a competition mode between one player and the computer, or two players against one another.  Ben and I were playing against each other.  I beat him in one round, while the two of us were huffing nitrous oxide at the same time as we played the game.  That was a crazy round; we kept going back and forth, filling each other’s screens up with blocks and then breaking them and fighting back.  Finally, I took him down.  I was always good at video games, though so was he, but that time I won.

The second time I tripped was one of the most messed up on drugs that I’ve ever been in my life.  Jay came over to hang out one weekend.  He brought a case of beer.  I had Xanax.  We took two mg of Xanax each and finished off the beer.  Leah was over with her new boyfriend, who had some killer pot.  Jay and I smoked several bongs of this, at which point we were pretty retarded.  Jay says to me, “I have a surprise for you, but I’m too fucked up right now to show you.”  I convinced him, with not too much effort, to show me immediately, and he pulled out some wet.  “Wet” is a term for PCP.  I don’t know what it is, if it is even PCP, but it is some kind of chemical that is put on an herb, lacing it.  You smoke the herb and it makes you trip.  He had a lot with him and it was very potent, which he told me.

We smoked all of it at once.

After smoking, we wandered around my bedroom making guttural noises at each other, grunting and moaning like Neanderthals, not using language anymore but communicating on some more basic, instinctual level.  I remember puking after that, and then I wandered outside at around two or three a.m. in a T-shirt and shorts, and lay down on the grass in my back yard.  It was raining, and it was early April, so it may have been forty or fifty degrees out.  I couldn’t feel the cold; actually that was one of the first times I was cognizant of having a long lasting out of body experience.

I was laying there with my eyes closed, and my mind expanded to fill up the whole yard.  I then left my physical form as a ghost, basically, seeing my body lying there under me as I shone like a spirit from Star Wars.  I just wandered around for several hours, outside of my physical body, and looked at things, the trees and grass, the sky, I can’t really remember everything but I do recall that it was three hours later that I re-entered myself and went upstairs to pass out finally. This was a very brutal way to induce something people would consider sacred to experience, and in truth I may have experienced brain death at the time, and I do believe in miracles, so I may have just been protected from actual death by God.

There were few immediate aftereffects of this trip.  Jay somehow got pink eye, and I wet the bed that night.  When I woke up wet, I actually thought God had punished me for smoking “wet” and it was some kind of metaphysical reaction.  Then I realized I pissed myself and I laughed at myself for being so foolish.  One thing happened that was probably related to the trip.  The last evening that Jay was over, we went to a restaurant where I would have sworn there was an earthquake.  No one else seemed to notice, however, and when I asked Jay if he felt it he just gave me a funny look and said no.  Shortly after this I started becoming clairvoyant.

An Open Mind

My father dropped me off at school before he headed to work every morning.  He worked in the same town so it was very convenient, and we had a good system worked out for us.  I would get to school early and study in the morning, catching up on homework before my first class.  I sat at a table that was at the end of a hall; at the other end there was an entrance to the building.  While I was doing my homework, I would randomly see a face in my mind.  A few moments later, that person would open the door and walk into the building.  This happened with regularity and consistency until I started expecting it to happen and thought it strange if it didn’t.  Seeing the future in this way became the norm, not the exception.

This type of activity has come and gone at different phases of my lifetime, as early as age ten (if you recall with the knocking on the walls when I was up all night reading books), and up to the present in which the knocking of walls and ceilings and other strange noises is apparent to me just before and as it happens, with my body physically reacting to these event occurrences in a way that I am comfortable and familiar with.  I also regularly have intuitions that pertain to events in a given day, things regarding gambling if I ever do that, and things in or related to dreaming that could be defined as prophetic.  At the time I am now writing about, my head had been blown open by those two trips, my intensive fasting an exercise, and of course I had a feeling of personal power that was deeply rooted in my physical fitness as well as my intelligence and good grades, and my success (as of yet) at managing myself without the medications.  I was extremely lucky then, like the return to innocence, a lost time in my youth when things were different and I was in better overall health, even with my traumatic past behind me then.

Another strange prophetic (or possibly sorcerous) thing that happened was that one night, after I had stopped taking my meds, I was in an awful mood and felt like I hated everything.  I sat in bed and punched it over and over thinking “die, die” the whole time.  This thought filled my entire mind until it peaked, and then suddenly the intensity of this attack dropped to total silence.  The next morning, when I was at school, a girl I had talked to a few times in some of my classes came up to me crying.  She told me her neighbor had died the night before of a heart attack.  She was clearly distraught and I tried to offer comfort.  I never think about death really, it’s not a normal thing for me.  In this case, I had Intended death onto something abstract, at the same moment a man who was still yet young had dropped dead of a sudden heart attack, as I corroborated the time frame of both occurrences and they lined up.  Other times in my life, I’ve had premonitions about something bad happening during which I would feel compelled to think about mortality, not in any way to Intend it upon anything, but rather as a self reflection of something I was intuitively aware of but could not logically know.  The Boston City Marathon Bombing was one extreme case of this happening, though I will get to that much later.

Whatever I had done to my mind by fasting, exercising, going off my meds, and tripping, it was not at its full potential yet, not even with the clairvoyance.  I reached my peak while I was in Portugal, when everything came together for me.  The trip was planned months in advance.  One staff member from the marine biology department came around to classrooms offering the opportunity to go on this trip to Portugal.  There were about seven or eight of us going, more girls than boys.  I had a vision while the staff member was giving us the talk about the trip, a vision of me on a wild water slide that seemed to go on forever.  I took it as a sign and convinced my father to pay for the trip.

I was excited to go to Europe again, as the last experience had been majorly positive in its effect on my life, and I had had that great vision and feeling about something amazing waiting for me.  Little did I know then what I was in for.

The trip, or the extent of it that I experienced, was amazing!  We left from the campus in a van with some staff members of the college.  There were about four staff and eight kids on the trip.  When we reached Logan Airport in Boston, I started having severe anxiety.  It was like I was afraid the plane was going to crash or something.  I had to actually go to the bathroom and compose myself while we were waiting in line for our tickets.  I brought a liter of coke on the plane which was half full of rum, and I got hammered several miles up.  I passed out at some point, and when we landed at Heathrow in London, I was hung-over.  The airport in London had a completely different atmosphere.  Remember, this was post 9/11 so the airport in Boston was extremely hectic and stressful.  Heathrow, on the other hand, was totally peaceful in comparison.  I didn’t know what real peace was until we landed in Portugal, but London seemed a lot better than Boston.

I was smoking in the airport (they had an indoor smokers area there), thinking about my experience of the Boston airport vs. the London airport, and I exclaimed, “I hate America!”  I didn’t do this with any intent in mind, but after I said that, several British guys, who were also smoking, walked up to me and started asking me questions.  They were very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in me.  They weren’t asking questions like “are you a terrorist?”  Instead, they asked me where I was from, who I was with, and what I was doing in London.  We talked amicably for a while, and I felt like I had made some friends.  It just goes to show the opinion of the rest of the world towards the United States, if all you have to do is say “I hate America” to get positive regard from people.  Disturbing, but true.  In actuality, I don’t know exactly what had triggered this sudden outburst, though the difference between the two airports, Logan and Heathrow, was as tangible as a powerful physical reaction to my environment.  I’d never thought of the U.S. in a way that would indicate that I disliked or especially not hated it, and in fact I’d loved America and Americans since early childhood and looked up to people both my own age and older or adults as cool and worthy people.  I’d had good friendships in my life just before this trip and I loved what was going on with me at that time, so the outburst was very out of place for me.

Anyway we boarded the next plane heading for Lisbon and I took a nap during the flight.  When we landed, I forgot to grab my luggage at the appropriate time, and we went through a one way barrier before I realized my mistake.  This was a hassle, as we had to get in touch with someone on the other side and have them bring the luggage out themselves.  The staff from the college were irritated with me, but they did not make a big deal out of it.

We got to our hotel in taxi cabs that took us through the ghettos of Lisbon.  I was wondering if there were lots of prostitutes wandering around, though not with the intent of looking for one.  Any ghetto I’ve gone into since those early years and experiences has made me remember this facet of life, though I’ve never picked up a streetwalker with any intent of doing anything with them since I was in my late teens. 

We did some touring in groups, sometimes just students and sometimes with the staff.  The hotel was nice.  The first night, the three guys and two of the girls, who were both pretty, one Asian, one black, all hung out and talked and flirted.  One of the guys I knew from high school; he went to East Lyme High as well, where he had been kind of a dork.  He had started taking martial arts classes and working out since then, and he had a lot more confidence at that point.  Too much confidence; he seemed cocky and arrogant to me.  Not that I should be one to talk, I’ve been cocky and arrogant plenty of times in my life.

Late that night I went to the bar in the hotel and had a drink.  There was a man there that sat with me and talked to me.  I was asking him about the Portuguese language.  He told me a few words.  The only one I remember is “rapariga”, which he said means “girl”.  I don’t know if he was just messing with me, because when I asked someone else about it they told me it wasn’t true.  Rapariga sounds a lot like the phrase that I was hearing my mind bellow out of me with the belief that people worldwide could hear it as well for almost two years, “Rape a nigga’”.  When the man told me this he seemed to be laughing at me, or just laughing at his own private joke as we sat and I took notes on the Portuguese language.

        I remember staying the night at that hotel and sleeping well, and getting up in the morning to do a bit more sightseeing and tourist stuff.  I was out in front of the hotel and man approached me off the street, asking me if I was American at first.  I said yes, and he asked me if I was there to stay.  I told him no, just on vacation, and he nodded in a knowing way.  People are friendly and interested in Americans all over Europe from what I know, and I noticed this both times I was there, though Germany is a more closed and cold society than Portugal.

Memories of Paradise

Back to Portugal.  One of my memories of that place there was during a bus ride.  The radio was on, and to my delight, “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” was being played, one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs.  I closed my eyes and slipped into a trance full of pink and white fuzziness.  I felt like I had slipped into paradise.  The song was about me, of course, and the gods of the radio had decided to play it because they knew I would hear it.  I really believed this, wholeheartedly.  In a way I still do.  I recognize what being in a state of mind like that does to you, and I can put myself in states of mind like that consciously, especially when in a manic and “up” phase.

When we got to the resort where I would spend the rest of my time in Portugal, I was amazed at how calm and tranquil everything was.  The feeling in the airport was good; it felt like a soothing hand with cool water over a feverish brow.  The resort was better; I thought I had walked into one of the dimensions of paradise.  It felt like heaven.  There were topless women sitting around the pool with naked little kids running around, the husbands enjoying the scenery, just soaking it up.  I soaked it up myself and had as good a time as I could possibly have, while it lasted.  The bungalows of the resort surrounded the pool at the center, with a bar and tables to sit down at, off to one side. The other vacationers were sitting on the back patios of their bungalows, tanning topless if they were women, fully naked if they were young children.  I felt like I had walked into a story about a place that I never thought I would see in real life, it was surreal, super-real.  It was like being on potent psychotropic drugs, without having to actually take any.

Portugal, to me, was like being on a higher plane of existence.  I had spiritual experiences there that nothing else in my life up to that point could compare to.  One of these experiences was a powerful connection to Christ, maybe to what Christians call the Holy Spirit.  I was sitting by the pool with my head down, thinking.  For some reason my mind turned to Jesus.  I was thinking/remembering what I had learned about what happened at the moment of his death.  Supposedly there had been some unusual natural phenomena when he was killed.  Earthquakes, thunder, lightning striking the ground etc.  As I was thinking this, a wind, a gust, actually a gale, blew through the pool area.  It was so bad that umbrellas were turning inside out and mothers were running to grab their children.  Suddenly I had a moment of clarity and realized what I was doing.  I thought “STOP!” in my head, and immediately the wind died down.  A friend of mine, a Dominican kid that was sharing the same room with me got out of the pool and came up to me, exclaiming “what the hell was that!?”  I didn’t say anything, or maybe I said something like “I don’t know”.

There was a girl there, a black girl that was interested in me. Her name was Tia and she was hot, and at the time also a few months pregnant.  I always wanted to get with a black girl, and she basically, literally, just jumped on my lap.  That’s how it started.  At one point I was in the shower and she walked in naked, but then she turned and left.  She had an incredible body I remember, and I wanted to have sex with her.

After the shower I came back into the bedroom in my underwear.  The Dominican guy and the Asian girl were in one bed, and Tia was in the other.  I think she was waiting for me.  I got in bed with her, and we started fooling around.  Suddenly, she jumped out of the bed and took off for the other bungalow, where the girls were staying.  We had been in the boys’ bungalow.  I threw the sheet around my waist and ran after her.  I was knocking at the girls’ door asking for her with only the sheet wrapped around me and nothing else on.  This ended up getting me in trouble.  We signed a form saying we would not engage in any sexual behavior while on this trip. This is ridiculous if you ask me, especially on a trip for college students. But this was one issue that was raised later, when I was questioned about my behaviors on the trip.

I have some other pertinent memories of that trip.  There was a bar by the pool at the resort, and one night I was having a beer by myself at a table, while a group of people drank at another table on the other side of the veranda.  One man got up and walked over to me, saying “you shouldn’t be drinking alone, come drink with us”.  The guy was British; they all were.  I was surprised and happy and I said sure.  They bought me drinks all night and asked about where I was from and what I was doing in Portugal.  I remember getting into a conversation about willpower with one man.  He was saying that his willpower comes from his head.  I disagreed.  I was telling him my willpower comes from my navel, the body’s center of energy.  We discussed this and other philosophical ideas, and finally, after several hours and many free drinks, I bid them goodnight and headed to the bungalow to sleep.

Telekinesis and a Spirit

The next part of the story requires a typical person to suspend their reason temporarily and just read it with an open mind.  This is really, really far-fetched stuff, the stuff of mystics and madmen, as out there as some of Castaneda’s work, only not as full in nature.  Broken experiences, not grounded to anything, induced by enormously altered states of mind and energy.  Human potential or pure insanity, you decide.  I recognize that even if I was otherwise just like everybody else (by which I mean socially normal and fully functional, which isn’t really like everybody else, just people that aren’t considered crazy), my belief that these things actually happened would make many people consider me a madman anyway. 

One day, something extraordinary happened.  I was standing in the hall of our bungalow, maybe five feet away from the front door, with the rest of the group of kids in the other room, arguing.  I remember thinking that they were being childish and petty; I can’t remember what they were arguing about but it seemed stupid and trivial to me at the time.  I got annoyed and I felt an attitude go through me that felt like “Oh, whatever”, and I swung my right hand across my front in a dismissive gesture.  At that very moment, the door, which had been standing wide open, slammed shut, as though I had been holding it when I made the gesture with my hand.  I knew what I did.  That was telekinesis.  I had told my mother in an offhand way at the beginning of summer that I wanted to learn to use telekinesis, when she asked me what I was going to do with myself during my break.  I didn’t really mean anything by it at the time; the thought had come to me as though on impulse and I just blurted it out.  The same way that the action occurred…it was just blurted out. 

Immediately after the door slammed shut, everybody shut up.  I found out later that Tia had a nervous breakdown at that moment. She told me this herself, though she did not know why it had happened.  I had a nervous breakdown myself, or something like it.  I wandered, half in a daze, semi conscious immediately after I pulled this stunt, into the bedroom where I collapsed into the bed and went into a visionary state, or dream state.  I can’t remember what I saw, but when I came out of it I felt almost normal.  I didn’t really think about what had happened, I just took it in stride and continued along the course appointed for me.  I was in deep trouble at that point, and my mind could not keep up with these major occurrences or do anything to put them in perspective so that I would be able to avoid a psychotic break.  I hadn’t had the metaphorical shit hit the fan as of yet, and the immediate and automatic response of my young mind was to bury the truth of it in my subconscious out of protection, which was futile anyway.

I could accept that that experience was entirely hallucinated, except for what happened afterwards, that vey evening.  For this next experience I had a witness; a non-crazy witness that corroborated the experience afterwards and validated it for me.  I was in the bedroom getting ready for bed, and the Dominican guy who was sharing the bedroom was also in bed on the other side of the room.  There was a knock at the front door, so I went to answer it.

When I opened the door (the same door that had slammed shut earlier), there was no one there.  I figured it was room service or maybe someone playing a prank, so I just went back to the room and told the Dominican guy that no one was there.  Then I lay back down in bed.  Again, someone knocked on the door.  Now I knew I was being messed with. Just then, a memory of something I had read about when I was younger came back to me.

In the nineteenth century, there were groups of people involved in what they called the “spiritualist movement”.  These people supposedly would commune with spirits from the afterlife, and perform magical acts like levitating out of windows.  Supposedly, these spirits would communicate with the people and answer questions by knocking on the walls.  The people involved would ask a yes or no question, and one knock meant yes, two knocks meant no.  The knocking on the door reminded me of what I had read, and I decided to try something out.

I asked out loud, “Are you a spirit?”  One knock, this time not on the front door but on the actual wall of the bedroom.  The guy in the other bed was freaked out and said sharply “What was that?!”  I felt very strongly that there was a presence in the room, and it seemed safe.  I didn’t sense anything overtly dangerous about it, anyway.  I didn’t know exactly what to do; it felt like the spirit was waiting for something.  I asked another question.  “Are you from a living person’s body, or the afterlife?”  Two knocks.  So it was from the afterlife, which is what I had guessed anyway.  I was at a loss as to what to do next.  I thought of everything I knew about spirits and came up with another question.  “Do you need help in some way?”  At this point, I felt the presence depart and I believed asking that question had been a mistake.  In retrospect, I think the question made it incredulous and it had to back off for a moment to readjust and do what it had to do.  I needed help, and desperately, though I was ignorant as of yet of my trouble.  It had come to help me, not the other way around, and my question literally produced a response in this formless consciousness of incredulity.  This thought that I needed help myself passed through me as I felt the presence come back.   I asked another question, this one I don’t know if I asked out loud or in my head, it doesn’t really matter.  “What do you want me to do?”  At that point I felt a pressure in my head and heard a sound as well, like a buzzing or vibrating sound.  I instinctually knew what to do, or the spirit was communicating to me on some level, telling me what to do.  Either way I understood, and I let my awareness sink into the buzzing sound until I got sucked into a lucid dream.

This dream I remember better than the vision I had after the door slammed shut.  I was in America, or in the astral world that is associated with America, I think somewhere out west.  Everything was very natural looking. The houses were beautiful, and appeared to be made out of magical, textured and different colored wood.  The landscape was woodsy, like an enchanted forest.  I was in awe of the hyper-real feeling of the dream.  I somehow knew what I was supposed to do.  I was there to see Leah, who lived in this astral world.  I went to her man’s home (I don’t know how I knew where to go, I just did) and talked to him about her, telling him I thought she was in trouble.  He took me to her, and I remember her as being distraught.  I tried to comfort her.  In the process of this, I woke up.

When I woke up I was lying awake in bed in the same position I had been in when the spirit came; only a short time had passed.  I got up, washed my face, looked myself in the eyes just to make sure I was still in there, and then went back to bed.  I can’t remember what I dreamt about that night.

Much later, when school had started again, I was sitting next to the Dominican guy in class.  I hadn’t spoken to him about the spirit since the event occurred, and I wanted, needed some kind of validation, because the memory was eating me up and driving me crazy.  I asked him if he remembered when the walls were knocking.  All he said was, “that was the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me”.  After that I didn’t bother him about it anymore, I had got my answer.  This was after I started taking medication again, when my mind was stable (for the most part) and my worst symptom of mental illness was loneliness and depression.

Like I said, I am a crazy man, regardless of the validity of this story, I admit I’m crazy.  This does not automatically mean I am delusional, however, though easily prone to intense experience and altered states that go beyond people’s norms just au natural.  I am only relating what I experienced, and I have a simple telekinesis trick that I’ve shown my social worker in which I Zen smoke and guide its path in a still, well lit area where it would naturally go straight up by itself.  I can show this to anyone open to seeing it under those circumstances. 

Intense telekinesis occurred after I returned to the states, brought home by my father when the teachers on the trip found out that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and not taking medication.  This time, I was in my bedroom at my parents’ house and I was thinking about smoking a cigarette.  I had been struggling to quit tobacco for some time, and I suddenly got frustrated and had a powerful, solid though, “NO!” to the question of whether or not I should smoke.  The tobacco tin, a cylindrical container with a flat bottom and top, was sitting upright on the flat surface of my desk.  It tipped onto its side and rolled to the floor.  My dog, who was in the room with me at the time, looked at me, looked at the tin of tobacco, got up with her tail between her legs, and went downstairs.  In a few minutes I followed her.  The first thing my brother said to me when I got downstairs was “what did you do to the dog?  She is acting all freaked out.”  I didn’t tell him what happened, I figured he would just think I’m crazy, and I did not know how to reproduce the effect.  I didn’t even know if it was real, even though there was compelling evidence that it was.

I have come to understand that reality is malleable to some extent.  Within limits, we as human beings can experience a lot.  Our subjective realities can directly affect objective reality, if our subjective realities are far enough away from the norm.  People are affected by each other in subtle ways, and so are animals and plants, and even things like weather and temperature.  Humans have a great deal of potential for power; it makes sense by the way we are designed.  Power is something most people strive for, some with more success than others.  However, power goes far beyond merely influencing other people to get what you want out of life.  It has to do with skill and experience, states of mind that allow free thinking and absorption of knowledge. 

Power, to me, is not something cannot be truly physically represented through common themes like money, reputation, sexual prowess, intelligence or other typical notions of what power gives a person.  All of these things are simply metaphors for the underlying thing that power is, which is, to me, quite literally a force of some kind, like a spiritual force of magic or prayer, that directly affects change in reality that can be used once a person reaches levels of cognizance and awareness over what they do with this force and can direct it willfully.  It follows its own rules of how it works, how it affects people, and how it can be generated or obtained.

Fast Friends

I met some good people while in Portugal, including the British folks that were buying me drinks on the evening I mentioned earlier.  There were two guys that I got to know at the animal park that we were working at as part of the marine biology class, which this trip technically was.  We were all given a choice to work with various animals, and if people chose the same thing, straws were drawn to decide who would get it.  It seemed like everyone wanted to work with the dolphins.  I chose to work with the exotic birds.  I have always felt a strong connection to birds and I was dying to get a chance to see falcons, hawks, and eagles, all trained and people friendly, up close and personal. 

We saw a bird show where a crowd of people stood on an open area while the trainers got the birds to fly over our heads and catch food out of the sky.  It was a lot of fun, for the spectators, trainers, and even the birds.  The trainers would lift the birds up into the air and cry out, giving them the signal to fly.  Then, the birds flew away, and came back when called.  The birds were having a blast.  You could tell they enjoyed performing, and they enjoyed the attention, not to mention the meal.

One of the guys, Louis, whose nickname was Na, talked to me about spiritual stuff.  We discussed the nature of infinity for one thing, and the connection between the imagination and the spirit world.  I remember something about circles and spirals and how they are related to the concept of infinity.  He seemed very deep, yet down to earth as well.  He promised to have me over at his apartment the coming weekend, where we would smoke some “poppy”.  I was assuming he meant opium, though I didn’t ask.  I was looking forward to it, but I got kicked out of the program before I had a chance to sample his stuff.

The other guy, Bart, was from Holland.  Not Amsterdam, but he had been there.  He was an avid pot head, and offered to smoke hash with me after work one day.  This turned out to be my undoing; once again, marijuana catalyzed change in my life.  This time it was hash though, and not just any hash.  Like I said, he was Dutch, had been to Amsterdam and knew all about hash and hash oil.  He told me that the hash he had was really good, but not the very best quality that is available.  It was the most potent cannabis product I had smoked up to that point.  He put fire to the little brick he had, in order to soften it up, then crumbled some onto his palm.  This he mixed with a large amount of tobacco, so that it would burn properly and cut down on the potency of the smoke.  It was still a stronger smoke than I’d ever had with plain weed.  I took three hits and I was stoned for like six hours.

Because I stayed late to get high, the rest of the group had to wait for me in the van while I made my way to them.  The adults there were angry; they made me sit in the front between two of them.  When we got back to the resort they questioned me, bringing up the issues of me showing up with a sheet around my waist at the girls’ bungalow, as well as a comment I had made to some of the students about getting bitten by a dolphin.  I denied that I had been bitten (though I had been, and I was not supposed to be interacting with the dolphins at all), and explained that I just wanted to talk to Tia when I had gone to the girls’ place.  I also told them that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that I had not been medicated for a long time.  I don’t know why I told them this, maybe it was like a cry for help; perhaps I had gotten in over my head and needed help.  They certainly couldn’t help me, but what they did do was to kick me out of the program and have my dad fly halfway across the world to pick me up.

One last thing happened before I left Portugal, something I will remember until the day I die.  I had a run in with some swingers.  There was a couple at the outdoor bar/restaurant at the resort we were staying at.  I was sitting at another table with a staff member from the college who was there to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn’t get into any trouble.  I don’t know what prompted me to do this, but I stood up, walked to this attractive, middle aged couple’s table, and sat down.  They immediately started playing footsie with me, both the man and his wife.  We talked for a bit, with them asking me questions about myself, rubbing my feet with theirs the whole time.  At one point, one of them said, “We have a nineteen year old daughter that would love you”.  The guy that was there to keep an eye on me broke into the conversation at this point, and indicated that we had to leave.  I was fit and also incredibly high energy at this point, and acting on impulse and instinct, so that explains how this could have happened.

Summer of Hell

The return and aftermath of my experiences was hellish.  I told my parents and brother what happened.  Of course, they just thought I was insane, and they took me to a doctor.  The doctor told me I was standing on train tracks with a train coming fast, whatever the hell that means.  I didn’t buy it at the time; only when I became severely depressed and suicidal, again, did I finally go back on meds.  I figured a figurative death was preferable to a literal death, and I stick by that decision.  Like I said before, if it wasn’t for the side effect of severe weight gain, I would never have gone off my meds to begin with.  They made me feel good, stable, and confident.  The proof of this is that when newer meds were developed that don’t have the side effect of weight gain and are still effective in treating my condition, I started taking them regularly and have continued taking them every day, for the past five years or so.

One night shortly after I returned, I awoke at three in the morning with all the birds in the neighborhood singing outside my window.  I could understand their song, and they were singing about the apocalypse.  I don’t remember the details; it’s like trying to remember a hazy dream.  Their song put me into a visionary state and I basically dreamed the apocalypse while I was still awake.  After that, I listened to Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” album, two songs, forty five minutes of poetry and jamming.  I thought the song was about me, as though the boy who had written it had had a vision about me when he did so and it inspired his song.  Everything in the song seemed to connect to my life in general and the recent trip in specific.  “The poet and the painter…” “Coming from across the sea…” ect.

In my psychotic state, I came up with a crazy theory to explain my experiences.  Apparently, the wind that was caused by an awareness of the natural phenomena at Christ’s death actually listened to my voice, and on top of that, I apparently had god-like powers and a strong connection to the spirit world.  My theory was this: Christ’s soul had been reincarnated into different bodies over the millennia, and my body was one incarnation of his soul.  On top of that, I believed that my father was an incarnation of Hitler, probably because he was the one that took me away from the paradise that I was in, and he was the authority figure in my life at the time that had absolutely no patience for my crazy experiences and beliefs.  I actually intended to kill him.  I was planning it, when I was un-medicated, and I would have done it, except that my better sense and conscience stepped in and told me I would feel awful if I actually killed my father. I hated him, but I loved him as well.  He probably felt the same way about me.

The rest of the summer and early fall, up until the point that I started going back on my meds, was pretty uneventful.  While I was suicidal for several months, my mental state deteriorated drastically and at the end of this, I spent about a week planning my death, thinking about leaving a note behind, figuring out how I would actually kill myself, and fantasizing about the peace and tranquility I would find in the afterlife.  I started hallucinating during that time.  I was hearing children singing and crying out at me not to do it, to live.  These hallucinations are what led to me going back on my meds.  I was very spiritual and hearing the children crying out to me to not hurt myself made me think about how killing myself would affect others.  At the time I wasn’t thinking about my parents. Rather, I was thinking about the feelings of the imaginary children in my vision.  I did not want to hurt them by hurting myself.  My mind is a funny thing, and the ways my feelings work do not always make sense.  There is a method to my madness, however.  Otherwise, nothing I do would ever work.

New Friends and a New School

So I went back on medication and was lonely and depressed.  The worst of the depression was smothered by the meds, but the loneliness did not go away until I made a new, old friend.  Brandon.  I had known Brandon in high school.  He was a grade below me, and he was musically talented and in the same chorus class as I was.  We always sat together in class and talked philosophy.  I found a lot of comfort in my friendship with him then and I found comfort in my new friendship with him at this point in my life.  He is a deep thinker who is very spiritual.  Also incredibly superficial in some ways.  But still a very deep thinker.

He was taking a class at the same college I was going to; I think it was an English class.  He was never the best student; for one thing, he’s dyslexic.  I think he made his way through high school by cheating.  He was naturally likeable and loveable, and people seemed to always see him as a good person.  Also, very industrious, a hard worker, and a good man for the jobs he found.

That fall, I did not do well in some of my classes.  I dropped out of the psychology program at that school, and did not finish a required course, which was a statistics course in psychology.  I got reasonably good grades besides that, which was pretty amazing considering my condition.  I would still sleep sixteen hours a day, but this time I was feeling pretty awful, besides the times that Brandon was hanging out with me.  We smoked pot together sometimes, which became more of a regular thing the following Spring.

In the Spring semester I decided to go away to a different school and live in the dorms there.  For the first time in my life I was leaving my parents’ home and living on my own.  I was psyched.  I made a lot of friends, both boys and girls, and I partied a lot, played a lot of guitar, studied, and drank my way through that semester. One of my friends was Otto.  He had just recently picked up the guitar, and we played together often, me showing him new stuff as much as possible.  Otto has a good heart, though his head gets mixed up sometimes.  He is also a very romantic person, and he loved serenading the ladies with his guitar.

Otto and I used to walk around town together.  I also hung out at some local bars with other students; Otto doesn’t drink.  He is super Christian, which at the time could annoy me a bit, as he would randomly just go on my computer and erase all the porn, and also I was not into Christianity at that point in my life.  Other times we hung out, walking around town, getting gelato at a local place we could walk to, and buying school food which my parents paid for at the beginning of the semester. 

I used to hang out with people and drink, or smoke pot, play guitar, play hacky-sack, talk and bullshit, play video games, do homework, flirt…you name something you can do on a college campus and we did it.  I started working out again in the spring of that year, and dropped my weight to 170 lbs, which is low for me.  I didn’t have a six-pack or anything, but I was pretty lean.  I was starting to show more interest in girls as well, and trying to hook up with some.

I even got laid once that semester, though the sex was nothing to write home about, for either of us.  I made a friend, a woman, named Lea.  Like my previous Lea, only the new Lea’s last name was Young.  She was a real sweetheart; the type of girl that will take a lot of crap from guys because she is too nice to put them in their place.  Not that I gave her a lot myself; I was as nice to her as she was to me.  But she always seemed to have boy troubles. Alcoholics and lunatics followed her like rats follow the pied piper.  I got drunk with her a few times.  Once, we went to my parents’ house and drank together.  That night we kissed, and later had sex.  I don’t know how she felt, but that was the last time we ever did that, so it couldn’t have been that good.  I felt good about it afterwards though; the next day there was this peaceful feeling filling me up which I liked.

One thing that happened with me and Lea was a profound spiritual experience at her apartment in that town.  We were studying together, and she went into the other room to smoke pot.  I didn’t smoke much then and didn’t wish to with her, so I just stayed in her living room, sitting on a couch that was opposite another couch that was empty.  I closed my eyes, suddenly overcome by a deep feeling of peace and lethargy, and immediately slipped into a lucid dream.

The dream was simple: I was, in the dream, immediately sitting just where I was sitting on the couch in real life, in the living room that looked, other than the fact that it was glowing more than in real life, just as it did in my waking state.  Except for one thing.  There was a woman sitting on the couch opposite of me with a baby in her arms.  She was wearing colonial style clothing, and was looking deeply into my eyes, mesmerizing me.  I stared at her, he gaze seeming to look into my soul, and woke up finally.

        Lea had come back into the living room after smoking, and I recounted my strange dream to her.  She immediately began to get agitated and started pacing back and forth, clearly distressed.  I asked what was wrong, and then she told me a story that gave me chills, and still does if I think about it.

        She said to me then that this building that she was living in was the oldest building in CT.  She’d done her research on the history of it, and had found out that the first woman ever hanged in CT, in pre-revolutionary times, had lived in this same structure before it had been modified for modern times.  She had become pregnant out of wedlock, and had killed her baby after it was born to hide her pregnancy.  Her crime was discovered and she was hung for it.

        Well, that was worth some chills, especially at that time right when it had occurred.  Lea said she had seen strange activity in this house, doors opening by themselves and strange noises, and she’d been concerned with the possibility that her home was haunted.  Apparent afterwards that it was true, I found this fascinating rather than frightening.  I’ve valued spiritual experience like this above the riches of Earth and personal glory my whole life, so I fit into the scheme of being capable of experiencing this sort of thing as I aged.

I met another interesting cat that I knew from high school at that college.  This guy was three grades below me, but he was old enough to be going to college when and where I was going.  He was a very deep person.  He confided in me that he could astral project and that he did so regularly.  He told me he had seen girls naked in their rooms, even seen people having sex.  A bit creepy, but he was an open minded guy and very mature for his age, so I didn’t hold it against him. One night we were hanging out, and we got into a conversation about telekinesis.  He told me he had experienced this, also in Europe, at an old castle in England.  He said that he was able to move all the hanging tapestries on the walls with his (mind? Energy?)  I believed him; he seemed like the type of guy who would experience that sort of thing. 

He was not medicated or even diagnosed with anything at the time, though he was pretty out there.  He used to talk about his lucid dream states, in which he called himself a guard or vanguard.  He also once told me he was in the astral plane and saw me walking into a realm of chaos.  He warned me not to go in, but I did anyways.  This seems realistic to me, based on my decisions and my mind’s activities.  I don’t know what happened to him, but I hope he is doing well.  He gave me insight into my own experience and also a connection to someone who (believed they) had done it themselves.  He also played guitar, and I remember one jam we had together where we played “Turn your Lights On”, by Carlos Santana.

I continued drinking, about a six pack a day, throughout that semester.  I had put on weight again, and once again, I went off my meds around the end of February to lose it.  I lost weight, got in better shape, and finished off the semester with good grades.  That summer, I went crazier than I have ever gone in my life.  I came into my own with a deep rooted, psychotic belief that I was the current incarnation of Christ.

More Mushrooms

At the beginning of the summer, I went to Philly with Brandon and Krista, a girl who had just graduated high school.  We partied for four or five days.  I think I may have slept a total of ten hours during that stretch, and I probably had about a hundred drinks.  I was drinking all day and all night, non-stop, with no sleep, sometimes with no company (because everyone else was asleep).  On the fourth evening, we were partying at a friend’s place, a guy with the nickname of Buffalo Head.  People called him this because he got hit by a car when he was younger, and as the story goes, he stopped the car with his head.

Anyway, we were at his place and some guy there had mushrooms.  I spent ninety dollars and bought three eighths.  Brandon and I split an eighth that night.  It was his first time.  We wandered around the suburb of Philly while I initiated him in the intricacies of hallucinogenic drugs.  I think he enjoyed himself.  He seemed at ease anyway, and comfortable with what was going on.  I remember a moment when we were standing in someone’s driveway, and I started talking about how I was feeling a presence nearby.  I asked him if he could see it, he said no.

A few interesting things happened while that trip lasted, at least a few things that I can remember.  When we got to Jay’s house at the end of the night, still tripping, Brandon asked me to go out to his car and get his protein powder from the back seat.  I was rummaging around his messy automobile, when a cop pulled up by me and flipped on his lights.  It was five a.m. at the time, and I looked like a suspicious character going through someone’s vehicle in the wee hours of the morning.  I got questioned and I explained the situation.  The officers told me to get the protein shake powder from the car to show that I was telling the truth.  As I climbed into the back seat, I took out my bag of mushrooms and tossed it under one of the front seats without the cops seeing me.  If I got searched I would be clean that way.  I picked up the protein powder and showed the cops that I was telling the truth.  They still looked like they wanted to harass me, but at that point another cop showed up, this one outranking the other two.  As soon as I saw this guy, I knew everything was ok.  He questioned the other cops and they explained the situation, expressing their doubts.  The lieutenant (I think he was a lieutenant), looked me up and down, and then simply said, “You can go”.  I thanked the officer with a few “yes sirs” and blessings upon his family, and walked back to Jay’s house.

Jay was at work at this point.  Krista, who had been with him sexually that weekend, was sleeping in his bed.  I went up to his room and got in bed with her, still tripping.  I tried touching her but she moaned and rolled onto her side.  Then I did something that I have only experienced in this way that one time at that point in my life.  I went into a vision while masturbating. 

I was jerking off, lying next to her, and fantasizing about her.  The fantasy wasn’t really sexual; it was more a fantasy of love.  I fantasized that we had grown up together in the same hometown, had seen each other go from little kids to teenagers to adults, and that as we got older our feelings for each other developed.  We fell in love, got married, had kids, our kids grew up, we got old, and we died together.  After the fantasy reached that point, I stopped jerking off and left the room.  I didn’t even get off, though it had been vivid and lucid and very erotic.  The whole time I was fantasizing and playing with myself, Krista was moaning deep, passionate moans, as though she was picking up on my vibe and responding to it.  It never occurred to me to try to have sex with her, I was just following my own instincts at that point and I didn’t want to wake her from her reverie.  I wonder what she was dreaming about herself, and have since then.

Crazy Summer

When I got back home, the first night I was hanging out with Irena, a Russian girl the same age as Krista, who had also just graduated.  I had hooked up with her at her house a few weeks before, and I thought she liked me.  We ate the last of the mushrooms; an eighth each.  I felt like I could levitate that night.  The only thing of consequence that happened was that I sweet talked a girl into kissing me for the first time in my life.  And when I say sweet talked, I mean really sweet talked. As in “I will gather all the stars out of the heavens and lay them before your feet in heap, so that the light of them can shine in your eyes, bringing out your beauty and showing that you are a sublime goddess.”  “I will tear down mountains into rubble and melt them all down into glass so that you may see your loveliness reflected in a thousand, thousand prisms of holy light”  etc, etc.  So we made out a bit and even shared a bed that morning, though we didn’t have sex.

Those two trips, coupled with the lack of medication for so long, and the endless intake of booze, as well as my experiences of the previous year, all combined to lead to the ongoing cycle of psychosis that summer, in which I basically went public with my belief that I was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.  I was literally walking around town, getting drunk in public, and hanging out with both townspeople and tourists without telling them of my belief.  It never occurred to me to tell anyone besides my close friends.  I was convinced, psychotically, that Irena was the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene, and that she was destined for me.  Total full blown schizophrenic symptoms, mixed with a delusional spiritual belief, that ended my summer by landing me, for the first time in my life, in a mental hospital.

The darkness and mental disturbance of those times lies in my memory like a chill breeze in winter, blowing through my soul.  In the chambers of my heart I know the truth of madness, that belief is the underlying factor.  A failure to identify truth in situations and only see what your deranged, frightened, and confused mind shows you.  I thought I was in touch with infinity…maybe I was.  I had the belief that mixed Christianity and Buddhism or Hinduism, where Jesus was reincarnated into other humans throughout the millennia, and I was one incarnation of him.  I believed that the spirit that inhabited Jesus also inhabited myself.  It was due to the experiences I had had in Portugal, and being un-medicated and all the drugs involved in the previous few years, all led to this psychotic belief that I was some kind of god.

I remember hallucinating in a variety of ways.  I was having powerful dreams in which I was flying or using magical powers to change reality.  I was drinking all day, every day, and my state of mind was getting rather warped.  In this altered state, I became very social and confident with people for the first time in my life.  I really started interacting and doing things.  Once, there was an outdoor music festival in town and I was hanging out with some of the musicians.  We went to their apartment and drank and smoked pot together. 

I also was talking to girls a lot again.  I had lost some weight and had kept it off, and I didn’t gain weight from drinking.  Once, I was talking to a good looking girl who I thought was about eighteen or nineteen.  I was twenty two at the time and figured she was within my age range.  She had a mature body and a pretty face.  I asked her if she’d recently graduated.  She affirmed this question and said yes.

I asked, “Are you going to college?”  I thought the girl was intelligent and mature and I figured she would have applied to colleges.  I also figured we would have something to talk about as I had been going to college a few years already.

She laughed and then with a smile, said, “I graduated middle school.” 

My mouth dropped and I blushed, feeling like a fool.  Then I noticed a man eying us from several yards away.  I immediately saw the resemblance and walked over to him.  He had his arms crosses and a slightly amused expression on his face.  I asked him, “That your daughter?” and gestured towards the girl.

He smiled and says, “Yup,” nodding his head.

“You’ve gotta keep a good eye on her, huh?” I said, and laughed.  He just grinned wider and chuckled. 

I was working for my father in the back yard all summer, making money to support my booze and tobacco habits.  I was drinking a half gallon of vodka a day, as well as smoking about three packs of cigarettes a day, hand rolled, non-filtered.  I was always on drugs, from morning to night.  I lost all my friends, my family, and my self-respect. My sanity was slipping ever deeper and deeper into madness.  I was obsessed with Irena; poor Irena.  It’s no wonder she hated me so much.  Actually, she despised me, at least when I was trying to convince her that we were meant for each other, she did.  She once punched me in the face (which actually stung a lot more than the time that Jay punched me in the face once) for making a wise-crack about a blowjob, though that happened a few years later.

Discipline your Kids!

Now, my parents hold the belief that people are basically good, and if you let them do what they want with freedom, things will generally work out.  I disagree.  I think almost all people, basically, are lousy.  Myself included.  Only through a combination of fear and coercion mixed with love and attention can you get people to actually be good.  Here’s a good example.  In my early years, my parents used corporal punishment.  On top of that, they used fear and coercion to force me to do things.  The results:  I was usually well behaved and I was very good at the things they forced me to do. 

When I was six I started playing the violin and taking lessons.  At first, I hated it.  My mother used to force me to practice every day, for a few years.  By the end of it, I enjoying myself and practicing of my own accord.  That is one example of how fear and coercion benefitted me.  I am thankful to my mother for making me cry so that I could reach a point where I felt like I had accomplished something.

When I was eight and I started going to the private, Catholic school, my academic marks dropped significantly the first trimester.  My mother forced me, while I was crying, to do my homework and do it well!  The result: the next trimester I was almost a straight A student.  That’s good parenting.  Most of my childhood, I was dealing with bad parenting.  Which basically means they generally didn’t inspire any fear and hardly any respect.  My parents and I disagree on some basic principles of life, the very nature of humanity.  We are at odds, and I would like to make a point right now.

Here’s a question I have to my parents: if they knew I was drinking and smoking that much, in their own home, and they were the only source of my income, which they also knew, why the hell did they keep giving me money?  Because they believed that people are basically good if given freedom to choose?  They were literally supporting my drinking habits!  They were enabling me to be an alcoholic, not to mention the fact that they didn’t even try to get me to take my meds.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  My parents are not really bad parents.  They provided us food, shelter, clothing, medicine, a roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, and many luxuries, things that other kids don’t get.  They also loved us a great deal, and gave us a lot of attention, and taught us things.  Many of their values I agree with, and am grateful to share with them.  What they did not provide, however, is strict discipline.  They will admit to this themselves, in fact, they will say it is wrong to discipline your child.  They believe that children should be allowed to do what they want, without interference, and if they suffer due to mistakes, they will learn over time and be wise in the long run.  This may work for normal children, but in my case, it almost killed me.

I don’t know when or how they developed this value system, but I want to get something across here.  Parents should make the time and effort to keep their kids disciplined.  Make them respect you and even fear you a bit, and above all, in the long run, love you for the discipline you instill in them.  I love my parents for the harsh lessons, the few that there were, that they taught me, because these harsh lessons made me strong, and wise.  I wish I could go back in time and tell my father to ground me indefinitely when he knew I was doing drugs all the time, instead of the mixed-message and ultimately more confusing statement to simply do the drugs in their own home.  If he had known that early use was going to lead to the problems I ended up having, he may have.  Maybe, just maybe, I would not be an alcoholic now.  At the very least, I could never complain that my parents didn’t even try.

A Fight, a Cult, and an Overdose

At the end of the summer I sold all my remaining belongings so that I would have money to go to Mexico.  I even sold my nice BOSE speakers to Brandon, who basically exploited my insanity to get a good deal.  Some friends I got.  My “plan” was to find a decent spot to sit down in the desert, and wait for sorcerers to find me.  They were supposed to help me unlock my god-like potential and teach me magic, so that I may take my place as the lord of the earth.  Suffice it to say, I didn’t make it to Mexico.  If I had, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this story today.  I made it as far as Willimantic, CT, where I had gone to college the previous semester.

I stayed with Lea Young for a while, during which time she indicated that I was far too crazy to continue hanging out with her.  I gave up on my plans to go to Mexico at that time, and instead went back to school.  One thing happened before this.  My pacifist father and I got into a fistfight.  I had gone from smoking three packs a day to quitting cold turkey, which directly contributed to the fight.  He was already pissed at me for drinking and abusing my privileges so much (even though he had basically done nothing to stop me).  I can totally understand where he was coming from.  If I had been in his shoes and had to deal with me, I would have stopped the whole thing before it even started.  This was my first long term binge drinking stint, and the precursor of full blown alcoholism, which did not actually begin until a few years later.

The fight started over me slamming the microwave door.  He yelled, “Oaf!” and raised his hand.  I walked towards him and put my hands up, and we grappled.  I threw him on the ground and punched him in the head a few times, then got up.  I am more ashamed of this thing than I am of almost everything else wrong that I have ever done, even though I understand how it happened.  It was more a chemical reaction than anything else; I was totally out of control.  I needed meds and therapy, not a complete absence of nicotine and heavy alcohol abuse.

In the aftermath of the fight I went to Brandon’s house and had a spiritual counseling session with his mother.  She’s pretty crazy herself, but more functional than I am.  Very deep person, I think.  We talked about the stuff going on in my life, though I can’t remember the details of what was said.  I felt better after talking to her, however, and Brandon took me back to my place when we were done.  I’m pretty sure I apologized to my dad at that point and he forgave me, at least on the surface.  Maybe just to keep the peace, who knows?

After all of this, I went back to college.  I was there for exactly one week before an out of control crisis landed me directly into a mental hospital.  During that week, I was drinking heavily, hallucinating heavily, and behaving like a lunatic.  Once, at the lobby of my dorm, I saw a girl getting into the elevator.  I rushed up the stairs to go after her, and I met her when she got out.  I actually got her to come into my dorm room with me, where I think I tried to stand on my head, falling over.  She looked amused, but soon left when she realized I had no wits in the head I had just been trying to stand on.

I went to the bars every day instead of my classes, and I came pretty close to starting a cult.  My father once told me, “Saro, don’t start a cult, no matter what”.  Well, I almost did.  I was at this bar and met this guy, who started following me around.  We went to an outdoor area of the bar where I was drinking beer, and the guy was gesticulating wildly at another man and pointing at me, ranting and raving the whole time.  When we left the bar, the guy took out his wallet and threw a couple bucks on the ground, in a spastic sort of way.  I knew what was going on and told him to follow me to my dorms where he could sleep on the floor.  At that point he lost interest and wandered away.  Guess I wasn’t good enough cult leader material, living in a dorm and offering spots on the ground to sleep.

I remember one hallucination vividly.  I was in front of the building where we got our class schedules, sitting on a stoop, when I saw an African looking guy walk by.  In my mind (or out loud, I couldn’t tell the difference at this point) I asked “Raoul?”  He turned to me and said “I’m not Raoul.”  Then I blinked and the African guy turned into a white guy, who wasn’t even looking at me.  I think I hallucinated the whole thing, except for the white guy, who was really there.

I was wandering around the campus for a few days.  I had lost my door key, and somehow I had lost my shoes as well. Two girls who were in the same dorm stopped while I was outside and talked to me.  They let me back into the dorm and even came with me into my room.  I didn’t know what I was doing with them and started playing a keyboard I had, maybe with the intent of impressing them, though I had no idea how to play.  They ended up leaving.  The next day, after not having slept for about a week, I decided to take ten Ambien, ten Ativan, and chase the pills with a bottle of wine.  Then I went out to get something to eat.  This act led me to get hospitalized for the first time in my life.

I passed out at the cafeteria, or so I’ve been told.  I don’t really remember much after a certain point, only that it was sunny out.  When I woke up, I was lying in a bed in a psychiatric ward.  My parents were there, as well as a doctor.  I felt at peace, rested.  I asked where I was.  They told me.  I was confused as to how I got there.  They explained that I had overdosed on drugs, passed out in public, and was rushed to the hospital to get my stomach pumped.  Oh…I see.  Now what?  Now, I had to stay there until I “stabilized”.  In other words, until I had been taking heavy doses of medication for long enough for them to trust me back among the civilized people in society.  For me, this meant a week of being fully medicated after a first week of not taking any of the meds they gave me.

The Mental Hospital

I liked the mental hospital.  I started by palming all my meds, but when I realized they were running blood tests to tell whether or not I was taking them, I gave in and swallowed the damn things.  At first I was angry though.  I tried calling the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer, and my friends (the last to help me escape).  When I realized I wasn’t getting out without taking the meds, I did the rational thing and just took them.  This process extended my stay there by about a week, however, and a lot happened in that time.

For one thing, my parents started bringing me cigarettes.  Two packs a day.  I was bumming them out as well, so I went through more than that.  My folks would just pick up cartons and deliver them to me every few days.  I was very cruel to them during that time.  I did not want them there, and I hardly spoke to them.  It breaks my heart now to think of what they were going through, with me all messed up and acting cold towards them.  I was a very sick individual, what can I say?

They also brought me my guitar, and I played it every day, under supervision.  I played for the rest of the patients, as well as the staff there.  I had to be supervised so that I wouldn’t take off one of the strings and try to strangle myself with it, I guess.  Some of the other people there were very creatively talented.  There was one guy who was there for only a few days who could script like nothing else.  If you don’t know what scripting is, think of Gandalf writing in cursive in a spidery hand, or Bilbo for that matter.  It simply means having a style of writing, a style of how the words are written.  I never actually read any of what he scripted, but I saw the work and I thought it was beautiful.

I remember seeing this old man come out of his room one day.  He was from the opposite end of the ward from where I was staying.  I don’t know if he was a long time resident, a temporary, or just a hallucination.  He seemed magical, like he had an aura around him.  We used to have exercise every morning when we walked around the ward down to his end at a fast pace.  One of the female staff would always be the leader. 

I had crushes on some of the staff members there.  I even masturbated thinking about them at night in my bed.  A couple of really attractive girls working there that I would flirt with whenever I felt like it, and of course they were friendly.  I certainly wasn’t dangerous, and they knew I was high functioning and intelligent, so I think they actually enjoyed our banter.  There one blond and one African woman that was so exotic and hot that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. 

I almost got laid there, and only didn’t out of choice.  A Hispanic woman was brought in one day who became very flirtatious with me.  She was slim with high breasts and an unusual looking face.  I can’t remember the details.  I was playing gin rummy with a heroin addict, and she was sitting across from me, playing footsie with me.  She winked at me and stood up, walking away and turning her head back to give me a knowing look.  I followed the woman to her room.  She was thin, but with a typical Spanish ass: a nice bubble butt.  I came up behind her and pressed myself against her.  She smiled and let out a little moan, then turned and started to kiss me.  I realized I was going to have sex.  When this thought hit me, another one followed right on its heels.  Do I really want to do this?  This crazy woman that is off the street most likely, who’s been God knows where? I don’t even have a condom…  That was the end of that; I stopped at the thought of HIV.  I guess, even as insane as I was, better sense was still a capability of mine.

The heroin addict I mentioned before was an interesting man.  I don’t know how much he was bullshitting and how much was truth, but he had a decent story.  He told me that he liked to do heroin, and that he was a travelling salesman who spent most of his time away from home.  He did heroin about once a day and kept his habit in check.  He told me (and I think this may have been true, the man was very intelligent for a mental patient, as I was myself) that he would check himself into a  place like this from time to time to take a break from society, on society’s tab, no less.  He certainly wasn’t paying for the stay; the state was.  I liked that guy, and I liked his wife when I saw her the day that she came to pick him up.  He was the most down to earth and easy to communicate with mental patient that I met there. 

There was one woman, a middle aged lady probably around fifty five years old, who was there for most of the time that I was.  She told me she was a lesbian, and she always bummed smokes off of me.  She also told me she had had cancer, and that was part of the reason she was in there.  I felt a very strong connection to her; I sympathized with her and I could tell she took comfort from talking to me.  Actually, the patients there probably got a lot more out of talking to one another, especially during smoking sessions, than they did talking to the shrinks.  We all communicated, on some level, and in communicating we found some peace and respite from our troubles.

I felt like the mental hospital was a summer camp for lunatics, except we were never allowed outside.  We had regular meals, as well as time to exercise, and we took part in other activities for creativity and bonding as well.  It was a really well run establishment, I think, for the types of people that ended up there.  Therapy is the key word.  They were using therapeutic techniques to help us cope with our pain and trauma, and they really meant well, I think.  No one was mistreated; I didn’t see any signs of abuse of power over us.

Once, a girl tried to escape.  Once a day they would unlock the doors to the ward and let people in to visit the patients.  Otherwise, the door stayed closed and locked from both sides, unless someone was being admitted to the hospital.  One of these times the door was opened for visitors, a girl tried to get out.  They literally dragged her back in, kicking and screaming, and they forced her into a room where they injected her with medication.  I remember this clearly. I was on the other side of the ward in the hallway by the smoker’s room.  I still had the Jesus complex going, and I remember hearing her scream.  I thought “In the name of God, be still!”  At that moment the screaming stopped.  I thought it was me and my “power”, of course.  In retrospect, I probably had that thought at the moment that they injected her with whatever drug they used to calm her down.  A coincidence, in other words.  Or just good timing on my part, on a subconscious level.

That stay was largely a positive experience for me, and the total effect of it was to permanently end the psychosis of believing I was an incarnation of Christ.  It may have been just ending up in a hospital for the first time and then coming to terms with myself there, but honestly, I think the incident with the Hispanic woman was what really put me over the top into sanity again.  For some reason, I’ve made that connection, that if I was an incarnation of Christ, then I wouldn’t be worrying about getting any diseases, now would I?  I think the therapy helped a lot, and I felt there was a good deal of bonding going on among patients, and the staff was very communicative, compassionate, and caring.  I enjoyed it, overall, and going back to the real world was something I was ready to do when they let me out.

The day my father picked me up I was itching to go.  I felt tired of being indoors all the time and not able to do what I want.  The mental hospital was a novel experience, but I had reached my limit with it.  Anymore and I may have gone crazier from being cooped up for so long.  I said goodbye to the patients I had been friendly with and the staff that seemed to be more involved with us, and I followed my dad out of the building.  We got in his car, and I said, “It’s good to be out.”  Then he drove us home.

Rehab and Poker

One repercussion of my stay at the mental hospital was that I was forced to go to an outpatient rehabilitation center for six weeks after I got out.  I met a friend at rehab that I ended up doing a lot of drugs with, Scott.  He was seventeen when I was twenty two, which basically meant that I was doing the buying of the alcohol and he was doing the paying.  We got lunch breaks at rehab for about an hour, every day, and every day I would go with Sam to the liquor store down the street and buy booze, with his money.  This we both drank before we headed back to rehab to be lectured about the dangers of drinking.  Ironic, but I think these things often happen in reality.

Scott was an interesting cat.  He was in tune with his own magical energies.  He claimed to be able to read cards, and after playing gin rummy with him long enough, I started to believe him.  I did some card readings of my own at rehab for other patients there; psychic readings, basically, only with a deck of fifty two cards instead of a tarot deck.  I got a lot of positive feedback, at least from drug addicts.  As it happens, my mother is known to do psychic readings of her own, only she doesn’t read cards, she reads coffee grounds.  Armenian coffee is thick, black stuff that leaves a residue on the bottom and sides of the little cups that people drink it from.  My mother looks at the residue, and sees things in it, and explains what she sees.  It’s an old trick, a mind game, a social activity for us and our Middle Eastern friends.  Probably a very ancient tradition as well, though I don’t know its history.  You should never turn your back on your history, something all Americans should keep in mind.

Rehab passed pretty uneventfully, and pretty soon I was free again.  Occasionally I was hanging out with Scott, but most of the time it was Brandon that filled my life.  I wasn’t medicated, again; I had stopped taking the pills as soon as I got out of the loony bin.  I was also smoking pot, though I didn’t really enjoy it, because it made me feel weird and paranoid.  I was just smoking for the hell of it, to drug myself into a stupor.  I don’t like going about using marijuana in that way nowadays; I prefer waiting some time in between tokes so that my tolerance goes down, and the drug acts as a hallucinogen and stimulant instead of a relaxant.

Another thing started that fall that has had lasting repercussions.  I was introduced to Texas hold ‘em, no limit poker.  I loved it.  I used to play with my brother and his friends, who were younger than me, so it was easy to win against them.  Actually, I was ahead, sometimes by three or four times my initial buy in, almost every time we played.  The first time I went to play, I was up about five bucks at the end of the night, and on our last hand I went all in with Q3 off-suit.  Just for the hell of it, before the flop.  Someone else had AK, and they called my raise of twenty five dollars.  They won, and I learned a valuable lesson: don’t fuck around when you are playing a game for money.  Take it seriously, because it is costing you cash.

I started playing freerolls online and I won a few.  After a while I bought in with a credit card and added funds to my account.  Big mistake.  I may have been doing well in little cash games with my brother’s friends, but online was a different matter.  All in all, I’ve lost about three thousand dollars online since I started playing.  I should not play poker anyway as I have an addictive personality, and online poker is definitely not ok. You always have access to the game from any computer, and you can go into any size table, as long as there is enough money in your account.  This means it is very easy to lose large sums (large for me, anyway) of money in a very short period of time.  And as all you need is a credit card to buy in, it is very easy to lose your head and your money by continuing to play.

I hung out with Scott a few times in that period of my life.  He was an orphan from early age and was being looked after by a family who adopted him in his teenage years.  The father was a drunk and abusive, and Scott was often at the bad end of the stick, so to speak.  He was inherently magical in his ideation and results of actions towards life; once I was with him while he was using telekinesis to push rocks and gravel down my driveway.  Both of us were paying attention, and we both said, I’m (he’s) moving it with my (his) mind…”  I was aware of this type of activity at a younger age, but he was new to it, I believe.  In any case, he was a conscious and deliberate psychic who could predict events and use intuition to guide himself through his life, very well for a person with his history and his young age.  He was seventeen going on eighteen when I was twenty two, and I liked him partly because he was very mature for his age.

Chris and Another Acid Trip

That winter I went away to school again, once again un-medicated.  I couldn’t handle it.  I was going to my classes at the beginning, but I was having such negative thoughts and the paranoid delusion that people could hear me think, that eventually I just hid out in my bedroom, watching Shrek or other movies and listened to music.  I ended up failing out of all my classes.  By spring break I had gone back home to my parents’ house to live there instead, telling them I couldn’t deal with the pressures of college. 

At this point, I ran into Chris again.

We met up over spring break; I can’t remember the details about how.  He lived in the same neighborhood as I did with his parents, though he had gone away to college for the first time the previous fall.  He had made a lot of friends and had had some good times with girls as well.  Once, he told me that only hanging out with girls can drive a guy crazy, because all females are crazy.  One thing I can say about this guy is that I love his sense of humor.  He used to crack me up all the time, literally having me rolling around on the ground and holding my belly, laughing out of control, and us two grown men.  I used to hang out with him up until the winter of 2014, and we grew apart during that year due to my manic excesses and his increased sensitivity and regard for his own spiritual development and person.  When we first started hanging out and all through our friendship we often drank a few beers and smoked pot together, with often hilarious, musical, or deep and intellectual, philosophical results.  He’s one of my favorite friendships, and maybe someday I’ll meet back up with him again, if I’m well enough over time perhaps.

The first time we hung out that year we got drunk on gin and tonic, good gin, if I remember correctly.  Maybe Bombay Sapphire, or Tanqueray Ten.  We watched Evil Dead, and I don’t remember laughing so hard watching TV since my acid days.  Those days, I thought, were long past.  Little did I know, I was in for many more rounds of intensive tripping with this newly formed friendship, this hilarious and genuinely openminded guy, who seemed to share many intrinsic interests and basic beliefs as I myself did.  I met him the first time the previous year, at the beginning of the Summer of the Incarnation of Christ, when he and Irena, who were best friends at the time, showed up at my door and just walked into my parents house.  I had no idea who they were, and they were smiling and laughing that time without any explanation, and I didn’t question them, just asked if they wanted something to drink.  I was having scotch myself then.  Later that evening, the three of us walked out to a small patch of woods adjacent to our neighborhood and we built a fire, then took much of our clothing off and danced around it like crazed Indians.  My favorite friendships always seem to start with a powerful experience of letting go, losing control, and building trust in that newly formed loss of control and experience.  Aram was like that too, and so was my relationships with the two women I fell in love with that were, for their time, positive.   

Anyway, that evening we drank gin and tonics and watched Evil Dead, and it was a laughing riot for both of us.  His sense of humor is contagious to me; its like his vibe is easy to pick up on and then be affected by, and he loves being ridiculous as a general rule of hanging out with people he’s comfortable with.

We watched the movie and laughed our asses off, cracking jokes about it and generally goofing off at the same time.  By the time summer rolled around and he was back from school for good, we were practically inseparable.  We were fast friends, who had similar tastes and predispositions, as well as general attitudes towards life.  Making a friend like that brought me so much hope and joy; my head cleared up, and even though I was still un-medicated, I was asymptomatic during the early summer months.  At least until I tripped again.

One night Chris called me up around ten, and in an excited voice he said, “Hey man, I got some acid!”   A part of my brain told me to stay away, but a stronger voice in me was crying out to get over there fast and take some with him. 

That voice won, and I said, “Hold on, I’ll be over in a minute!”  The night was cool and clear, with the stars shining bright overhead.  I felt exhilarated, knowing what I was walking into.  I practically ran to his house and met up with him in time to take the stuff with him.  It was only a short distance anyway; his parents home was an easy five minute walk from my own.

That was a fun trip.  We took one hit each, I believe, and we smoked pot.  We also wandered around the neighborhood all night goofing off and staring at the street lights with awe.  We talked a lot, which we usually do when we are tripping together, and we cracked each other up.  I kept trying to say the acid was no good, even though I was tripping, and he kept disagreeing with me.  He was like “C’mon, you are obviously trippin right now.”  Eventually I had to agree with him, though from time to time I would question whether or not the stuff was actually working.  It came and went, it seemed, which happens sometimes on low doses of drugs.

I remember stopping at my parents’ house at one point, where we got something to eat.  I warmed up some kebobs that were in sausage like shapes, seasoned with all-spice and cumin.  We were laughing while we ate, which is usually a bad idea.  Chris snorted some of the meat up his nose into his sinus passages, after which he was trying to blow the meat out into a tissue.  He kept saying, “I’ve got meat up my nose!  What the fuck!”  I thought it was the funniest thing in the world and laughed heartily at him until he got the meat out somehow.  Then we both laughed about it, and about many other things before the night concluded itself.

Around five am we wandered into town out of our neighborhood and hung around the Dunkin Donuts on the main drag.  We were seeing people for the first time all morning and we had a blast talking about them as though they weren’t even there, making wisecracks and jokes about them like a couple of comedians.  That’s what acid usually does to me; it turns me into a comedian with the whole world as a topic for my jokes. A combination of hilarity and creativity is what is enhanced in my psyche when I take low to moderate doses of LSD.  On high doses, it is more like a spiritual experience, too intense to be really funny.  We went back to the neighborhood after that, lay down on our backs in the middle of the road, and watched the clouds form overhead.  Fun stuff.

When I finally made my way back home, it was probably around seven or eight, and I wanted to hit the sack.  I felt guilty towards my parents for doing what I had done; I knew it was very risky and dangerous.  As I prepared for bed, I had an experience with Jesus.  I was talking to him, seeking redemption, and he said, “I am God.  Will you call me your God?”.  At that point I balked for some reason.  It was like I couldn’t handle calling him God.  I did not want to commit myself in that way, or give up my freedom to believe in God my own way.  So I didn’t call him God and I didn’t get the feeling of redemption that I was seeking.  Instead, I got tired, curled up in bed, and fell asleep.

Growing Pot

I did not have a psychotic break after the first trip that summer, but my mind started getting, well, enhanced.  I started knowing what Chris was going to say before he said it and I spoke back to him on multiple levels, or so it seemed to me.  One day we were at his parents’ house and I said to him, “Things are getting slippy”.  He responded by saying, “Slippy dippy ducky”, which I thought was the funniest thing in the world.

Irena was back from school as well, and she and Chris were close friends.  I don’t know what happened that summer that changed the nature of their relationship, but it seemed they grew apart somewhat.  I didn’t try to get with Irena at all after the summer before; I may have still been crazy but I had learned my lesson.  For a while, however, we got along, and I used to hang out at her place quite often, with or without Chris.  She lived down the street from him, around the corner from my parents’ house.

One thing Chris and I did that summer was a little project that brought us a great deal of joy.  We grew some pot outdoors in the woods around the corner from both of our homes.  We went to Walmart one day to buy recycling bins that we were going to use as pots for the pot.  While there, we stopped and talked to an army recruiter for a while about guns.  We had been playing Grand Theft Auto, San Andreas, and we wanted to know if the military really used the M6 rifle. 

The guy asked us what we did for a living.  I was looking at his name badge, which said “Farmer”.  Inspired, I blurted out, “we’re farmers!”  Chris thought this was hilarious, considering we were there buying stuff to grow plants with.  The army guy liked this, and he seemed to genuinely like the two of us as well, though he was a recruiter so it’s hard to say. Never trust the smiles of used car salesmen and army recruiters; both are the types of people that are just trying to get you to do something for them, in the guise of them doing something for you.

The guy actually convinced me to take the ASPHAT, or ASFAT; I don’t know which it was.  There was a girl there who was also taking the test, and I worried that I was going to do a lot worse than her and feel like a fool in front of the recruiter.  I thought I did poorly on the test; it was post first trip and my mind was not what it could be.  Also, I did not have the proper tools to do the math section, like a calculator.  I didn’t realize we were allowed to use one when I was taking it, so I did all the work on paper or in my head.  I waited for the test scores to come back in apprehension after finishing the examination.  I didn’t really think I was cut out for the army, but I always get anxious about tests of intelligence, because I think that I should always be at the very top scores.

Finally, Sergeant Farmer walked up to me from down a long hallway with a funny expression on his face.  He asked “how do you think you did?”  I shrugged and said, “Not so good, I was having a hard time focusing”.  He smiled and said, “There are a total of ninety nine possible points of score on this test.”  Then he paused for dramatic effect.  Finally, he said, “you scored ninety nine out of ninety nine”.  He told me I was officer material, and he seemed very pleased.  So was I.  He asked what I’d be interested in doing. I said the first thing that popped into my head. “Can I be a spy?”  I asked. He laughed and said, “No, but we can train you to kill spies, counterintelligence.”  I was a bit disappointed, but I don’t think I really was going to join the Army anyways.  Farmer told me that I would have to hide the fact that I had a mental disorder because the Army does not take people on medication.  Which also meant I couldn’t take meds if I joined.  The guy was really nice but a bit scary, especially with that piece of information.  It explains things like people losing their minds and shooting at civilians from the tops of observation towers, to think of one example.

Anyway, Chris and I bought all the stuff we needed to grow the weed with, and one day we hauled out a few dozen bags of soil, peat moss, and fertilizer to the spot in the woods by the river where there was enough sun to grow.  We used my parents’ wheelbarrow for this.  It was over ninety degrees that day, and finally I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told him I was going back to my place to bring water out for us.  He said sure and I took off.  When I got there, I immediately got a phone call.  It was Chris.  “Dude, get back here!  There are some people having sex in the woods!” 

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed.  “I’m coming!”  I headed back to the entrance of the woods, just in time to see a man and a woman walking out.  They walked out to the street as though nothing strange was going on, and I didn’t say anything to them.  Hiding what we were doing was very important for us, hiding it from everybody.  Now, these people knew we were growing pot in the woods, and if they were the types of people to be having sex in the woods, then they probably smoked pot as well, and wouldn’t think twice about stealing someone else’s plants.  Bad luck, I guess, to find them there.  However, we ended up harvesting all of the weed, as well as several ounces of leaves, and we got stoned for a few months for free.

All summer we tended the plants, and in the fall, I uprooted them and dragged them to my parents’ back yard early in the morning.  I had researched when the appropriate time to harvest was.  The most widely used criteria for harvesting time is the color of the hairs on the buds, as well as the color and size of the crystals.  I went with looking at the hairs, as the crystals are so small that I would need a magnifying glass to examine them.  When the hairs on the top and middle of the plant turn reddish, and the hairs at the bottom are less red and whiter, that is the time to harvest.  Or, if you are looking at crystals, harvesting time is when the crystals get larger and yellowish, signaling the peak potency of THC in the plant.  I’ve read that there is a window of opportunity lasting several hours in which harvesting is best, but I did the best I could under the circumstances.

I hung the plants to dry for about two weeks.  Hanging them upside down is good, as it forces all the resin in the plants to descend to the tips of the buds, making them stickier and tastier to smoke, and possibly more potent.  After hanging, I brought the plants inside and clipped all the buds off of them.  I also clipped all the leaves and saved them to cook with.  You can smoke leaves as well; Ozzy wrote a song about that, called “Sweet Leaf”.  But I prefer to cook with them, as they make a harsh smoke. 

After drying the plants and clipping the buds, the next step to take before they were ready to smoke was curing them.  This I did by putting all the buds in a large glass jar.  I poked holes in the lid of the jar, and several times a day I would open it up, shake up the contents, and then reseal it.  This process I repeated for about a week.  Then the buds were ready to smoke!

The high was good, calming, and pleasant.  I have a theory about ingesting plants and animals that you have loved and cared for yourself, that it is better for you in many ways than ingesting mass produced, processed goods.  This I believe is not just due to organic growing, but also because of a metaphysical connection between your own love and care and the life you are attending to.  I’ve learned to pray to my food, both animals and plants, and ask for forgiveness for killing them.  I do this with my drugs as well at times, though at the present I only smoke tobacco and occasionally pot, and take my regular medication.  I do apologize to my pot for killing it, and thank it for its gifts before I smoke, as I do before I eat, and I find this has an immediate and very noticeably positive effect on the experiences of ingesting plants. 

I’ve read about an experiment conducted by Buddhist monks at a temple.  They were growing string beans, and they had two separate plots for the plants.  They used the same soil and fertilizer for both plots and watered each one equally.  At one plot, the plants were prayed to with the intent of sending them positive energy.  The other plot was left alone unless it was time to water them.  The difference between the plants in the two plots was astounding!  The ones that were prayed to grew larger, stronger, and healthier than the others.  Not only that, when scientists tested the beans for vitamin and mineral content, it was found that the plants that were prayed to were richer in these nutrients than their un-prayed to counterparts.

I have read a theory that all living things have consciousness, even if they don’t have a brain.  This includes plants, fungi, and microorganisms.  I thought the weed was a conscious entity, and a very special one because of its magical potential.  It is a plant that can heighten consciousness if used properly, and open doors into the unknown.  I felt like I was praying to the plants the whole time I was growing them, and the results were great!

So I enjoyed the weed considerably.  We got about four ounces total, though I sold one of my ounces to a drug dealer friend of mine.  I gave him a very good price.  I also gave away some weed to Lea Young, about an eighth of an ounce I think.  The rest I smoked.  It was nice to always have pot around, and it helped me out that fall when I was lonely and bored. The high was very good, and I honestly believe it was effective to produce enjoyable results more than commercial weed due to the fact that we put our own love energy into those plants, and had a personal relationship with them.  No paranoia, no negative thinking, no bad feelings.  Smooth smoke, good taste, a great success.

Summer Job

I got a job that summer, thanks to Chris.  I think he ended up regretting getting me that job, as I was almost totally useless there.  I was not in control of myself enough to actually work; the best I could do was socialize and goof off, making people laugh and be generally entertaining.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason I did not get fired; the entertainment factor.  My boss, Garrett, was like a pimp there.  On breaks he always had a girl on his lap while he got high or smoked butts.  The big boss was a woman, and she basically let him do whatever he wanted.

The place was in danger of going out of business that summer.  It was a small restaurant on the outskirts of town where bikers and drunks would go to have a good time.  They had an open mike night once in a while where musicians could go up on stage and perform.  I never did myself, though I was enjoying playing the guitar on my own time at that point.  I wasn’t confident enough with my playing skills to play on stage even though I was pretty good. 

At the beginning of that summer I started working out, and I worked out hard, until I was tight and toned like I had been when I was younger.  I went from 190 lbs to 160 in a couple of months.  Also, I was holding a job (even if it was in a ridiculous way).  Girls started showing interest in me again.  There was one girl at the resturaunt, probably around sixteen years old that was interested in me.  Garrett kept trying to hook us up; he kept telling me she wanted me while she was standing there in front of us.  She would just smile and look at me without saying anything.  I had even shaved my head, so I looked pretty mainstream at the time.  I remember specifically thinking I didn’t know how old she was and I didn’t want to get in trouble with her, so I didn’t go after her at all.  I’ve turned down sex a few times in my life, even blatant up front offers.  Once, in the Summer of Jesus, I was sitting on a lawn in front of a business and focusing within a powerful vision on the concept of infinite energy.  A good looking young girl from my high school approached me as I sat there and simply asked, with an open expression, “Do you want to fuck me?”  I don’t think I even said anything to her, I was so absorbed in my reverie.  Also, that’s disrespectful, both to her and realistically to myself as well.  I’m not like the other guys, I’m not typically male in a variety of specific ways, one of which being that I was never into “chasing tail”, or really had any desperation for sex, even when having gone without for long stretches of time, even in the face of an upfront offering. 

During the Jesus summer I did get laid once.  Irena had a friend named Brianna Hoar, who she jokingly called “the whore” in front of her and myself, and she kind of set us up on purpose that way at the time.  Brianna started massaging me when the three of us were hanging out, and she came to my parents’ place with us one day and we quickly had sex in my bed.  Not really long lasting or that great, for either of us I guess, but afterwards I felt a strange peace come over me, as I usually do after sex, the tone and texture of which is entirely dependent on any and all factors regarding the coupling, especially underlying emotions, commitment levels, and personal predilections, as well as the quality of the sex itself, which of course is directly influenced by all those factors.  This is normal for men, in any case, and I always sleep better after good sex, which is also normal.  It may be, ultimately, the only way to sleep without medication for the duration of my life, and I still hope to get married someday and settle down with a nice woman who will live with me and share my bed.  That would make things better and easier to manage all by itself, under the right circumstances.

Camping with Booze, Benzos, and LSD

Around the middle of the summer, Chris and I went on a camping trip at Hopeville Pond National Park.  This was where our second acid trip together took place.  This is a nice little place with campsites spaced out at regular intervals, like any campground.   When we arrived at the campsite it was already getting dark.  We hastily set up our tent and made a fire to cook some food with.  I mixed grain alcohol with some juice, and we got drunk. His nickname, as it happens, is “The Juice”, but not due to that night.  It was already his nickname when I first met him, and I never got a clear story as to how he got that name.  We stayed up talking philosophy and cracking jokes on each other. Then we passed out.

The next morning I was feeling fine, but my buddy was tired and feeling sick.  I acted like an inconsiderate ass and poured some anti-anxiety meds in his mouth while he was lying down.  I took some as well, and then something bad happened.  He got sicker.  He could hardly walk.  We got up to try to walk to the spot around the corner where there a small pond to swim in, but I had to almost carry him there, and before we made it he lay down on the grass in a field and said he couldn’t move anymore.  At this point I was very worried and distressed and felt guilty, even with all the drugs in me.  This was primarily my own fault.  I hailed down an ice cream truck and the guy was nice enough to give us a ride directly back to our site.  He crawled into the tent, and I stuck around in case he needed anything.

At one point he started puking and then he puked and drank water all day.  I felt terrible.  I was hanging around the campsite looking after him, and I exchanged some words with the other people in our general vicinity.  They seemed friendly enough and were amicable and social with me.  I felt good about that, but I was constantly worried about my buddy.  A group of Russians with their kids, young people all of them, invited me to hang out with them that night.  I said thank you and maybe I would see them later.  Then I went back to the campsite.

My friend was still sick.  I can’t remember what I did all day, but basically I looked after him.  I felt bad already about what I had done, and I was worried.  I didn’t expect the reaction that he had to the drugs, and I realized I should not have given him them.  Later that evening, he had stopped puking but was still not feeling well.  He said he would try to sleep and told me I could go hang out with the Russians.  I said ok and then left.

I took my guitar with me and headed for the campsite where the Russians were spending their evening.  They were friendly and offered me good vodka (Grey Goose) and pickled tomatoes, which I took thankfully.  The pickled tomatoes were the chaser for the vodka, and it was surprisingly delicious and smooth, a very novel idea for me.  We got drunk and played guitar.  I fooled around with a soccer ball for awhile, and I also remember playing a game with them.  The game was this: they were speaking Russian, and I would respond to them in English.  I don’t speak Russian, I was just guessing out of subconscious noise.  At the time, I was experience something that I’ve read about in a book by a man who’d gone to South America to take part in Ayahuasca ceremonies.  He’d experienced this effect himself, which he called “trans-lingual”, which means the listened can comprehend through understanding the Intent of the speaker of a language not understood in a logical way, via a kind of sixth sense ability to interpret the language through a deep connection. While the group was speaking Russian, I began feeling  meaning in what they said, and at one point I jumped into the conversation in English with confidence, as though I was fluent in their language.  They then conversed with me, them speaking only Russian and me responding only in English, until they started laughing and asked if I spoke Russian well, or how I knew what they were saying.  I said no, I don’t speak Russian, that I was just making good guesses.  They laughed some more and said I had been conversing with them as though I knew what they were saying.  I was pleased with the experience, which happened on its own under the given situation and that I jumped into with full confidence in what I was doing.  It was like having a mind power that I’d never spread my wings with in the past.

I’d experienced something like this during the high school German trip.  After several days there, I found myself conversing in full sentences in German without knowing what I was saying entirely or if it made any sense to my German teacher who I was talking with.  I had a good idea of what the meaning of my words were, which I understood in my head in English, and which I immediately translated into German, again with confidence, though I knew not how I was doing it.  I would talk and listen for a while, then ask what we said in English, and she would confirm what I understood to be what we were saying.  I’d never spoken German fluently like that before, and again at the time it seemed like a special gift of understanding to open up in a different language like that.

After drinking and talking for awhile, we started playing the guitar.  I say “we”, although only one person (obviously) could play at a time, though several of us could play.  So we passed it around, and each person who played dazzled the rest of us with their virtuoso.  I played “Is there anybody out There?” by Pink Floyd.  One of the women there, Tatiana, actually cried.  I took it as a compliment.  When the song was over and she still had tears in her eyes, she came up to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  I felt gratified and happy in that moment, and there was no underlying sexual tension in me to dirty up the pristine moment of the innocent kiss.

Late in the night, I left them and walked back to my campsite.  I woke my friend up and asked him how he was doing.  He said he was doing better but still didn’t feel too well.  I asked him if he wanted to take the acid that we brought.  He said he wasn’t ready, so I offered to collect firewood and build a nice big fire before the sun rose.  He agreed, and I went around collecting wood until I had a big pile of it next to the fire pit.  I proceeded to make a fire that was nice and high.  I asked him again if he wanted to take the acid, and he agreed.

We took two and a half hits each.  They were ten dollars a piece, and very potent.  The acid came on as the fire was dying down, slowly at first, especially for me who had not slept and had been drinking non-stop for two days.  I was pretty strung out at that point and in no condition to be tripping.  But that’s the way it went, and here is the story of that trip.

As the ashes of the fire lay glowing under the dawn, the acid kicked in, and it kicked in hard.  The ashes were like a multicolored, constantly moving mass of nature’s art.  The reds and browns and grey’s and whites all blended together and seemed to shim sham around and around, although in reality they were not moving at all.  I was mesmerized by the effect and found it very beautiful.  The ashes looked alive, like they were moving around of their own accord, filled with some kind of ash spirit that could dance and laugh at us while we watched it.

We were watching the ashes for a bit, and then my friend started going on a rant about how he couldn’t even drink water anymore, because every time he did he would just puke it up.  He was seriously getting into this rant, and I started laughing hysterically soon after it began.  Soon after that, Chris was playing my guitar and singing about squirrels in his brain while I again laughed hysterically and totally out of control, eventually begging him to stop.  “Stop!” I cried, “Stop! I can’t breathe!” He told me afterwards that he kept seeing movement out of the corners of his eyes and was thinking the movement was squirrels dashing around.  Finally, I took the guitar away from him and played it myself.  Eerie, mysterious sounds came from the instrument.  One interesting thing that happened, that I barely noticed at the time, was that our neighbor on the other side of the road had woken up while we were ranting and laughing.  It was around six in the morning I think, maybe a bit earlier.  This was while my friend was hilariously singing about squirrels and I was in hysterics.  I remember seeing him crawl out of his tent, looking confused and bewildered, filled with wondering.  I think he knew what was going on, because he didn’t give us any trouble.  I can’t remember noticing him after that. At one point I was pacing rapidly around in circles, opening one beer after another and pouring them over my head, hollering about how I was a living monument to alcohol abuse in America.

        I remember thinking about genetics, my own genetic code, and the power it had over my existence.  This led to thought about parents, and for awhile I thought I understood what fathers feel like.  I felt like a father, like God, the Father. I felt as though all the life around me, the grass, the trees, the animals, and the other campers, were all my children, and I was an embodiment of the life force that was flowing through me, who was The Father. 

It’s funny that I had these meanderings, for as it chanced, we met a new family that morning.  At one point I got up and left our site and was walking down the dirt road, when I saw a man cooking bacon on a grill.  He waved and I waved back.  We probably said hello, but all I remember is him asking me if I wanted some of the bacon.  I said sure, but could I bring a friend?  He said sure, so I walked back to our campsite and grabbed Chris.  God knows what he was going through at that point.

Again, I don’t remember much of what happened with those people.  I remember they were from Willimantic, which was the same town that I went to college in.  I remember I thought their young child was God for awhile, because he seemed so knowing and wise.  I remember the father told me he had taken acid as well, back in the day, and that during one trip he had finished all of his sentences with the word, “evil”.  I thought that was disturbing and it gave me a bad feeling about the man.  But they seemed ok, for the time being, and we were glad for breakfast.

The rest of the trip is a muddy haze in my mind, like a dream half remembered.  I can remember getting ice cream and swimming at one point, which was fun.  I remember walking along a path and talking, and feeling very profoundly as though we were in an enchanted forest of some kind, though I’m sure we were the ones who were enchanting it.  I can’t quite remember what it was that we were talking about, however, but all our conversations when we used to take acid always seemed deeply interesting.  That happens a lot with trips.  I can remember talking, sometimes quite a bit of talking, expressive, animated, caricatured personalities emerging under the woodwork of the conscious mind.  But trying to remember the details afterwards is like trying to remember the details of a dream.  Only a few things stick out in the memory.

Afterwards, things became a bit slippy.  Slippy dippy ducky.

        On our drive home that afternoon we were excited and flushed from our experience.  We thought we were geniuses, and we decided to create an animated series that we would put on the internet for people to watch.  Something crazy and hilarious, and we decided that we would keep tripping while we were writing for the series, and Chris was drawing all the images that would make up the animation. I feel like that trip was done all wrong.  For one thing, you should not be strung out before you take the drugs.  I hadn’t slept and Chris was recovering from alcohol poisoning.  Neither of us were in a good state of mind to embark on an LSD induced journey.  I got depressed towards the end of the trip, probably because I was tired and coming down from all the drugs.  Nothing too bad, just a case of the blues.  It could have gone a lot smoother if we had just tripped the first night we were there instead of drinking, and then drank the second night.

        One thing I do remember clearly from that night after the trip was that Chris brought his girlfriend over to my house when I was already in bed.  I remember falling asleep either while they were still there or just as they were leaving, and I had this beautiful image of a single green leaf that was just dripping with texture and was extraordinarily clear and lucid.  I fell asleep then, with that image behind my closed eyes.

Hurricane Katrina and SARS

After the trip, in the month that followed, Hurricane Katrina hit, and Toronto was hurt by a plague of SARS.  Blame Canada, I guess.  I woke up from an intense dream hearing voices one night, and decided to go back on my medication.  I was getting scared.  What happened to me in regards to the hurricane and the SARS outbreak was something I will never forget.  It was in the aftermath of my second acid trip, and during a period of time in which I had given up masturbation for a few weeks.  The longest I’ve gone without having an orgasm, ever since I started having orgasms, was about a month and a half. 

I was lying awake in bed at my aunt and uncles home in Toronto one night, and I was feeling very sexually frustrated.  I started thinking of porn, and then I actually got pissed off at pornography for getting me addicted to it.  I got so angry that I wanted to destroy LA.  I started imagining a massive storm of pink and white, assaulting a city.  It seemed to come from me and I made it rage even harder against the God-forsaken city of sin.  This was a week before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  Maybe a coincidence, maybe not.  At the time I believed that my vision had induced the storm to occur, which I do not really know now or think I can have a belief about at this point, due to too many circumstances. Sometimes I think I had an intuition about it, or had heard something on the news about a storm brewing in the Caribbean.  The latter is far more likely I think, though really, who knows? 

I remember walking around my aunt and uncle’s neighborhood, projecting the thought “Blame, Canada, blame Canada”, the song in the South Park Movie.  I heard on the news that there was a SARS outbreak in Toronto shortly after the hurricane.  Again, in my delusional state I made a connection between those thoughts and the sickness that was spreading around Toronto.  Again, I thought that I had caused that to happen.  I don’t know how to feel about these events from this current perspective, SARS is a lot like Saro, and if I was wandering around Toronto belting and projecting “Blame Canada” in regards to the storm, and then shortly after the storm there was a SARS outbreak, well, I can read into things a lot when I’m susceptible to that kind of thinking.  What reality is I do not know, so I’d rather not venture to guess without more information.

One day in we were at a restaurant in a town north of Toronto.  The place was pretty busy and the atmosphere was good.  It was a pretty small place.  We ordered our food, and I noticed a man staring at me from time to time.  I would glance at him, and he would soon look away, only to start looking at me again later.  Finally I got fed up and sent a thought in his direction, looking at him and visualizing at the same time.  I saw a bridge collapsing, the pavement breaking and crumbling into oblivion. The man stopped looking at me after that.  When we got back to the house of my aunt and uncle, they put on the news.  There was a live broadcast from Mississippi, where a bridge had collapsed, killing many people.  I knew immediately I had known about it somehow, but I was also plagued by the belief that I may have caused it.

When I got back home from the Toronto trip, I woke up one night in bed hearing voices coming from around me.  I was a bit freaked out; enough that I decided to go back on my medication, even though I knew I was going to gain weight.  For one thing, it was the end of the summer.  The end of “high times” for me.  I don’t know if I really have seasonal effective disorder, but I do seem to have had much more hard a time in the fall and winter months than I do in Spring and Summer.  My schedule of moods is different of late; in Spring I still feel better and early summer, but late summer I may get the blues, and then early fall have another lift, before the cold sets in and I just want to hibernate.  I always look forward to the spring; it brings new hope into my life and fills me with a joy at being alive, like everything is brand new and fresh for the eyes, ears, hands, and nose.

I went back on pills and put on thirty or forty pounds in the next several months.  At least I didn’t hallucinate anymore, and overall I was stable.  Lucky for me I had the meds, because after those last two trips, my state of mind was slipping back into psychosis.  Chris had gone back to college that fall, and I finished up the season at the restaurant with little incident.  I never hooked up with anyone that summer, to my regret.  My window of opportunity had closed; no more chances with sixteen year old, hot girls anymore.  I missed hanging out with Chris and I had no other friends around; even Brandon was gone.

My Second Arrest

That winter was the time that I went a month and a half without having an orgasm.  I started reading the Bible, and I would get all worked up over the things I was reading.  I read a lot of Psalms and Proverbs, as well as first Corinthians and revelations.  Chris came back from school in December, and one night I was hanging out at his place with a girl there.  The day before, I had ingested some brownies containing cannabis and had had a powerful experience with them, though I don’t remember the details.  I think I got very anxious and had had deep thoughts of some kind.  Between the brownies the day before and being with a female the following night, I ended up jerking off in bed the morning after I hung out with the girl.  I wasn’t fantasizing about anything specific; I remember seeing a blue, shiny light in my mind and I went into a brief vision of brilliantly shining blue light.

At this point in my life I was pretty depressed.  I knew Chris was going back to school soon, and I didn’t want him to.  He was my only friend, after all.  We had both been sober for quite some time at this point, and we were both feeling down, each for his own reasons.  One day, I got my brother to give us a ride to the liquor store, where I purchased a bottle of Grey Goose.  I had a backpack with me and Chris and I decided to walk home.  We drank as we walked, up the back streets, past nice CT homes and neighborhoods.  We started talking about breaking into someone’s house.  Not to steal anything, but just to sit on their couches, eat their food, and watch their TV.  Conquer territory; this is not the first time we broached this subject.  We were discussing conquering territory and human beings’ tendency to be territorial while we were camping at Hopeville Pond. 

So we were walking up the road, pretty hammered, when we came across what looked like an abandoned building.  I couldn’t see anything through the window, it was so dirty.  On impulse, I picked up a brick off the ground, smashed the window, and crawled into the building.  Chris came in after me.  What we found ourselves inside appeared to be a bar.  Actually, it was a gun club, a place people go to get drunk and shoot things.  It’s a good thing for us no one was in there at the time; we could have had our heads blown off. 

I went to the back of the bar and started putting full, unopened bottles of vodka in my backpack.  I didn’t even think twice about it; it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do.  After we got caught, the owners of the gun club told us that some shirts were missing as well, though I do not remember taking any clothing.  When we were done, we climbed back out of the window and walked home.  We ended up getting caught, which was entirely my fault, and here’s how it happened.

When I got back to my house I was drunk off my ass and also horny.  There was a girl that lived around the corner that I had been friendly with in college.  Actually, my friend Otto had introduced me to her and he had a crush on her, like he had a crush on every pretty girl that talked to him.  I walked to this girl’s house from my own with a plan in my mind.

You see, her mother was single and very protective of her daughters.  This girl also had a younger sister, who turned out to be my undoing.  I didn’t want to knock at the door at midnight to ask to talk to the girl.  I knew her mother would simply tell me to scram.  Instead, I snuck around the side of the house and looked into the window.  I could see the girl in the room.  I started tapping lightly on the window, trying to get her attention.  I wanted to get her to come over to my place so we could drink together; that was my thought anyway.  Her sister walked by the room at that moment and ran to tell her mom.  In a minute, there was a cop there.  He questioned me, and the girl told him she knew me from school and that I was harmless.  The cop let me walk home.

The next day after working at Dunkin Donuts, Chris picked me up and we drove back to the neighborhood.  There, we hacked at his house for a while before I left to go home.  While walking home, shortly after leaving his place, a police car pulled up and the cops started questioning me.  Where did I live, who was that that I was with a moment before, where was I going, what was my name, and finally, what was I doing last night?  I made up stories for a while, and then they basically told me what I had been doing last night.  They told me they knew because there was a security camera installed at the gun club.  I confessed at that point, knowing I was in deep shit and that lying about it further would just get me into more trouble.

This was also bad luck, not just my own stupidity.  You see, the gun club had been broken into a week before, and a large sum of money had been stolen.  That was why they installed the video camera in the first place.  The same cop that came to investigate what was going on at the girl’s house the night before saw me on the tape and said, “I just saw that guy last night.  I know where he lives.”  That’s how we got caught, and this turned out to be the end of Chris’ college experience, catalyzed by this event, so it seemed.

11 Hits of Acid

Chris never ended up going back to school that next semester.  Instead, he got a job with his brother as a carpenter.  One thing Chris and Jay, my other old friend, had in common, was that they were both selling and taking a lot of acid at some point in their lives.  Chris when he was just starting college, and Jay around the same age, maybe when he was twenty.  That’s two best friends that sold, in large quantities, LSD.  I guess I know how to pick ‘em; people naturally gravitate towards others like themselves.  Part of the reason Chris didn’t go back to school was just that he had been tripping too much and it was affecting his performance.  He wasn’t going to class very often anymore by the end of it, just sitting in his dorm room, smoking pot and hanging out with friends. Which he really liked to do, but I think he had a wake-up call after we got arrested, and he did not want to waste any more of his parents’ money.

In a way I got what I wanted: Chris didn’t go back to school.  Of course, I wasn’t hanging out with him that much because he was working a lot. Also, I didn’t go to his parents’ house for a while after that.  His poor mother was distraught, and even his laid back dad was pretty pissed off at us.  I don’t know how much of that anger was directed at me, but I’m sure I wasn’t on his A list. 

I started hanging out with Scott again at this point.  Scott was pretty crazy; he would just disappear without a trace or any explanation for six months or a year at a time, and then randomly call me out of the blue asking if I wanted to hang.  The, Scott told me that he’d been arrested for stealing cars and put away for six months, and he called me after he got out. At this point, Chris was still selling acid, and one week we all tripped a bunch of times, ending the bender with a crazy, 11 hits each mind warp out in the woods.

That was a deeply moving spiritual experience for me.  When the acid started to kick in we smoked pot, and then Chris and I started cracking each other up.  Scott was acting kind of weird for someone on so much acid; it was almost like he was struggling to hold onto his ego, which is not the point of taking LSD.  In fact, that’s the opposite of what you should do.  While Chris and I were joking around, I heard a bird begin to sing.  It was a mockingbird, one bird that I recognize, only this time I heard it I could understand its song.  It was calling to me, telling me to follow it into the woods.  So I did, and what happened then will stay with me forever.

Before I go into this story, I have to explain the background of my relationship with birds and especially the mockingbird.  For a few years, one of my main symptoms of distress was hearing the birds say nasty things to me, in their birdsong, that I could interpret into English.  The mockingbird specifically seemed to be offended by my life and would repeat the statement “fuck you, fuck you”, and “I hate you”, which is a strange way to experience schizophrenia.  What’s even stranger is that I’ve pointed this event out to others while they were with me and the bird was singing, and they would hear the words within the song as well.  It wasn’t like hearing someone speak English; rather it was like the inflection and tone of the mockingbird calls were making its song sound like those were the words it was using.  In any case, I made peace with the Mockingbird Spirit on this occasion, an never again have I heard it sing this way.  Keep in mind, what I experienced here was considered common and obvious to Native American people in North and South America throughout their whole history, as all of my natural magical experiences have been, and therefore should be read with an open mind to the truth and meaning of these experiences, as they pertain to religious belief and thus should be measured in that regard.

I followed the mockingbird’s song around the woods for some time after first hearing and understanding its meaning to be telling me to follow it.  The bird started explaining to me all the different parts of the woods’ meanings and metaphors.  How they were related to one another, related to the animals, related to him, and related to me.  He explained how different aspects of nature represent different aspects of the spirit, and the animals and plants all were a part of the human spirit.  He started telling me about my life, how it was a mess and disorganized like the patch of woods I was looking at.  The bird was singing to me about the interconnectedness of life; how all things breathe the same air and drink the same water.  I ran back to my friends and exclaimed, “This bird just told me the story of my life!”  Scott didn’t say anything and Chris just laughed.

I think it was a real spiritual experience like what the Native Americans used to do; finding an animal spirit that would talk to them and guide them from childhood to maturity.  I certainly felt older when it was over, and I’ve always had a special connection with mockingbirds ever since.  Even recently and before this time after that trip, I would hear the mockingbird song and if I’d done something wrong or evil recently, for instance stealing some of my dad’s Percocet as I would do occasionally in the summer of 2013, when I went out to smoke on the porch the mockingbird would chastise me, not with the same words of “fuck you, fuck you”, or “I hate you,” but with a more complex song that I could understand quite easily when sober, many years later.  I could also predict and project telepathic Intent onto birdsongs of different species, something funny would induce a laughing sound of tittering, and other feelings I could hold and project would be mirrored and transmuted into birdsongs with different tone and inflection. 

The rest of the trip is a foggy memory.  We wandered around the woods and looked at stuff.  One thing happened that I still have a decent memory of.  I got lost looking at a few natural artifacts.  One was a stone with moss on it.  I always liked mossy stones, and this one looked incredible in the state of mind I had.  I would look at the stone, then I would see myself on the stone in miniature, then I would go into a vision in which I was standing on a rocky hill that was covered with thick, luxuriant moss, then my vision would snap back and I would just be looking at the stone again.  I went through this process repeatedly for what felt like forever, captivated by it.

I also found a very unique and unusual piece of wood that I ended up taking out of the woods with me.  I still have it to this day, and still find it fascinating.  It looked like an animal skull, or maybe a demon skull.  Like some cross between a goat and a rhino.  You’d have to see it to see what I mean.  I’ve collected some natural artifacts over time; three pieces of wood that are like sculptures, a feather, and some agate rocks from Madagascar.  I’ve always loved nature and the beauty and majesty of it heightens my appreciation for life.  Nature is very spiritual for me; I don’t feel right in cities if I stay for too long, and I prefer woods or even better, mountains.  Native American people have said that nature “softens man’s heart”, which is true, as the Earth is soft and giving, while Man’s world is hard, full of concrete, walls, and poisons.

Totally out of Control

I was working at McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts for a few months in the Spring of 2006.  I finally quit both jobs.  I didn’t really care about either one; they were crappy jobs that were more stressful than they were worth.  I was seeing a woman psychologist at the time for counseling, and she was trying to help me hold a job.  I think talking to her was very therapeutic for me, though I have never been able to hold a job working for someone else in my life.  Writing is one skill that I have that I could use to earn money, and it would be a good career that engages my intelligence and creativity in ways that are satisfying.

Anyway, things were pretty uneventful until the day before I moved.  I would hang out with Chris, buying a six pack in the evening and splitting it with him when he was done work.  Sometimes we would go for blunt rides, though I hardly ever smoked myself.  Chris loved weed at this point in his life and smoked almost religiously.  My father was fed up with his current job, having had problems with the politics within the company.  Also the company was always downsizing.  It seemed like everybody was getting laid off during these years, it was very stressful and hectic for a lot of people.  My dad got hired at another pharmaceutical company, Astra Zenica.  This one was located in Waltham, MA, about twenty minutes west of Boston.  So we were moving, again.

Chris and I ate mushrooms a few times before the move.  I don’t recall a whole lot from either trip before the final trip the night before our actual moving day, but there are a few memories that stood out.  One was of talking deeply in my parents’ living room, and I was aware that I was using language on multiple levels simultaneously, and I thought it was an interesting experience.  I remember Chris saying I was using words too much, as he was clearly conscious of my underlying themes and messages.

Another, more interesting point in a trip was when the two of us were sitting in his car, listening to some new music he’d acquired on his CD player.  I was fascinated by this music, which was electronic and had strange rhythms in it, using different tempos and different beats through a single song, and a lot of electronic sounds.  I started predicting somehow what would happen before it did in the songs, all new to my ears, and at the time I thought that the music itself was magical somehow.  I know music is magical anyway, but I was convinced that some aliens had given him the CD and were making the changes in the songs as we listened to it in the moment, as though every time the CD was played there would be different music on it.  This was just a tripping interpretation of my own clairvoyance in the moment, and it seems that historically it’s a common theme to confuse things in this way and come up with outrageous theories to explain simple truths. 

The last evening I had in CT, Chris and I picked up an eighth of mushrooms each.  They were heavy bags, weighing at least four or five grams.  Now, everything we did during this trip was wrong.  This trip led to me having ongoing hallucinations, even while medicated, which although not really debilitating in and of themselves currently, they used to be very disturbing, frightening, distracting, enraging, and destructive.  My hallucinations have changed over time since this one trip began the process of hearing voices coming from outside of me, and I will go into those details as I come up to those parts of my life.

Anyway, we ate the shrooms, and I drank four shots of vodka to chase them down.  Very, very bad idea.  Mushrooms can be hard on the stomach alone, and mixing them with booze is dangerous.  That was the only time I ever puked off of shrooms.  The other thing we did wrong was to not isolate ourselves.  In fact, we did the exact opposite thing and spent the night driving around town, acting crazy in public, and almost getting arrested.  Hectic insanity, instead of a nice joint by a fire in the woods and deep, meditative experiences.  I don’t know what we were thinking, or whose idea it was to trip in that way.  I certainly should have known better than to mix the shrooms with alcohol, which basically ruined the trip for me, increasing my anxiety and making me lose control in a much more intense way.

While we were driving around, I was talking my head off nonsensically and hectically, gesticulating wildly with my arms, and going off on tangents that were chaotic and disturbing.  In my mind, I was having a vision of conversations rising up in a spiraling hierarchy of thought.  I think I was trying to express what I was experiencing by talking about all the conversations at the same time, creating some kind of overarching diction that was representative of the feel of the thing that I was experiencing.  Everywhere within my sight, which went beyond the concepts of internal and external and was just one vision at that point, there were erupting spirals of conversation raging into the sky, like tornadoes of thought.

At one point I started seeing blue and red lights flashing in my eyes and I heard cop sirens.  This is what triggered me to vomit, which I did out of the car window, getting it all over the side of the vehicle.  Chris wasn’t pleased, and he made me clean it up with a dirty old towel in his back seat.  This happened when we were parked downtown.  While I was wiping off the puke, a cop car rolled past me very slowly and the cops basically stared at me the whole time they were driving by.  I was nervous and already shaken by what was happening to me, and I just did my best to look casual as I wiped my own puke off of my friend’s car.

Chris came back to the car and we drove off for more misadventures.  We almost got out at an ice cream stand to get some ice cream, but I think we were too anxious about being so close to all those people.  We were in danger of getting arrested, and we had to be careful.  Instead, we drove over to the restaurant that we had both worked at the summer before, and hung out in the parking lot by the bay.  People were coming out of the bar section of the place, drunk and confused about all the noise we were making.  One guy came out looking at us bug-eyed, and when I saw him I started shrieking with laughter, yelling “this guy’s gonna try to kick the shit out of me!  Look at him, he’s ready to go!”  The guy was about twice my size but he looked freaked out and scared.  Insanity, raw and uncut, can be scary to people who are not familiar with it.  This guy may never have encountered someone on magic mushrooms in his life.  He certainly didn’t seem capable of coping with what we were doing. 

We talked a lot, shooting the shit and busting on each other in equal measure.  We must have been hilarious, because a lot of people that were out were stopping to stare at us and laugh.  Kids, mostly; high school and college kids.  We paid them no mind and just continued the chaos as we saw fit.  Chris was tempting me with tobacco and I was bitching about it, because I had recently quit smoking.  I feel like we were arguing the whole night, but what we were arguing about, neither of us could say.  We were arguing for the sake of arguing and taking demented pleasure in the ordeal.

We ended the night back in our own neighborhood.  I smoked some grass and relaxed for the first time all night.  We laughed and talked about the trip, still high on the shrooms, and wound down the evening.  Finally, we went our separate ways to our respective homes at either end of the neighborhood.  I remember when I came down I felt this kind of amazement that everything seemed normal again, as though this one time out of all of them I would have noticed an immediate and permanent change.  Like the fact that the drugs wore off was a miracle, maybe.

The next day, I moved to a suburb of Boston, MA.

Boston: New Symptoms

A lot of things changed for me due to the move and the intense mushroom trip.  Ever since a few months after the trip I have been hearing voices; at first one male and one female.  When this started, they both seem to hate me desperately and with a fury I’d never witness or experienced before in my life.  When it began, I would hear the voices come not inside my head or in my mind, but literally from the walls or perceived almost as Seeing them projecting from the sky.  Often it was like a kind of brutal attack on my person, the man and the woman taking turns bellowing things like “I hate you!!!” or “You’re an asshole!!” This would happen over and over, nonstop, through long days until I finally fell asleep at nights with medication.  I started drinking and taking benzodiazapines that winter due to this effect, as enough of those drugs would dampen down these symptoms and entirely quiet my mind. These voices changed quite a bit over time, due to some intense effort and some drug interactions.  At the beginning I was freaked out.  It sounded like the voices were coming from far away, off yonder, I guess, and I would hear them coming out of other sounds, like a window fan or traffic on the road.  Even the wind blowing.  Any shushing sound would do, and if there were none, I would hear them coming out of nothing.  They both liked to yell “fuck you asshole!”  Again, this would happen as though what was behind the voices themselves was completely mindless and even ignorant of what it was doing, as though the consciousness of it was set to be destructive to me without having any reason or ability to stop.  I was, actually at the beginning, horrorstruck, scared out of my mind, and I didn’t go to a hospital then for this or for a very long time after.

Sometimes I would hear her say something like “cope with it!!!”  She would scream this of course; her voice was hoarse and heavy from screaming all the time.  If there is a real world source of this hallucination, it is coming from something in terrible pain.  I’m assuming I’m causing it somehow because I’m the one that can hear her.  I’ve come up with a theory involving telepathy, where some part of my ego persona is doing something in the astral realm where this woman exists, causing her distress to the point where she turns herself, almost literally, into a demon trying to deal with it.  I have had many demons in my life, some real, some imagined, but in my mind, this hallucination could be both. 

Over time, I isolated the identity of the original female voice as that of my ex-girlfriend, the one who I had the totally dysfunctional relationship with, Leah Greene.  I could feel or intuit her Intent over time, once the initial fear and confusion wore off enough for my brain to start really detaching and thinking about what was happening.  There was a ton of pain in that relationship, and the trip must have unearthed it and transmuted the once internalized pain to this horrific hallucination.  As I had figured the female voice was Leah, I assumed the male voice was that of her ex-husband, the man who’d raped me in a dream.  It’s hard to explain how I came to these conclusions but I could look into myself and gain insight into the personalities of these hallucinations, and also logically these two people were deep in my life at its most painful and traumatized, so this trip just manifested their personalities as God-demon voices from the sky.

Hobo Expedition

Anyway, I had just moved to Framingham and within a few months I was hearing voices.  I also was having trouble sleeping for the first time in my life, and that has stuck with me as well.  For the first time, the medications were not knocking me out soon after taking them.  I was still sleeping every night, but it would take me four or five hours to fall asleep on bad nights, and I would often wake up too early, tired and groggy and unable to fall back asleep.  I was also having severe problems with anxiety, and my doctor prescribed me Ativan to combat it.  I would mix the Ativan with booze to knock myself out and quiet my disturbed mind; if I got sedated up enough the hallucinations would stop.  I was drinking every day again, and desperately searching for alcohol in my parents’ house when I couldn’t get any.  I still did not have a driver’s license at this point, so I didn’t even consider getting a job.  In any case, I was then in no fit shape to work, and as all of my previous attempts had been exercises in futility, it didn’t seem like viable option for me.

Another thing that changed for me at this time was my money situation.  My parents thought it was a good idea for me to apply for social security, seeing that I was disabled and unable to work.  I was awarded benefits and received back payments for a year when I got on the system.  Which means I suddenly had about ten thousand dollars at my disposal.  That’s much more money than I have ever had to spend of my own, and it was a bad idea to give me control over it as though it was some kind of allowance.  Again, I’m not sure what my parents were thinking, letting me do whatever I wanted with the money.  I wasn’t even medicated at the beginning of this.

I had had an idea in my head for a long time.  I was going to travel across the country on foot with a backpack and see the U.S.A.  Now that I had ten grand in the bank, I thought it was high time I took up my idea and hit the streets.  I made it as far as New Jersey, though I took trains to get there.  I stopped in CT on the way and got drunk out in the back of my old house.  I also hung out with Chris, who gave me a ride to the train station afterwards. 

One night in CT I camped out in the woods by my old neighborhood.  I pitched a tent and went to Chris’s house to hang out with him.  We got drunk, and at the end of the night, I went back to my tent to sleep.  When I got there, there was a huge spider in the tent.  This freaked me out, as spiders scare me.  I kept imagining a spider crawling into my mouth and down my throat while I slept, stinging me as it went down.  Ewwww.  I got the spider out of the tent without killing it (I don’t like killing any animal unless I intend to eat it, spiders included), and I got in the tent and fell asleep.

My next stop was Philly to hang out with Jay.  He told me on the phone that if I wanted to go through with my plan, I shouldn’t come and see him.  I didn’t understand this at the time and I brushed it off, telling him I wanted to see him and hang out for a while before I continued my trip.  If I had actually listened to him, God only knows where I would be right now.  I may have made it to California eventually, but this detour cost me my plans.  I think it was all for the best though.

I stopped to see Jay and we headed to New Jersey to hang out at his shore house.  Before we left, we stopped at a drug dealers place and picked up a quarter ounce of cocaine, good stuff.  Then we headed for his shore house, which was in Ocean City.  His parents owned a nice shore house not too far from the beach.  We stayed there for several days and got around the area in his vehicle.

In any case, we arrived at his shore house in good spirits, though for some reason I was feeling really freaked out.  I thought it was Jay messing with me; it was like he was putting fear directly into me.  I don’t have many memories of what we did while we were together.  I remember at one point, after doing a bunch of coke, we got into an interesting conversation.  Jay started saying something and I interrupted him, responding to what he was going to say without really knowing, in any logical way, what it was.  He was surprised, and went along with the game.  He would say something obscure, and I would respond to it as though I knew what he was talking about.  Apparently I’m a good guesser, because at one point he started laughing and asked me how I was doing this.  I said something about looking across parallel chains of thought.  It was like I could see my mind and his mind in my mind’s eye, and see our thoughts stretched out in chains of meaning.  I was on one side and he was on the other.  I would just “look across the parallel chains” and see his thought, and respond to it, purely on intuition.  Maybe it was some form of Seeing.

One evening, his parents joined us and him mom made pasta.  I loved her pasta; they are an Italian family and really know what they are doing.  This time, however, something very strange happened.  I was eating fast, enjoying the meal, and after one of the bites, just as I was swallowing, the taste of literal feces filled my mouth.  I came within an inch of puking up the whole meal all over the table.  Instead, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and cried.  That wasn’t the only time I cried because I ate something that didn’t sit right with me during that trip. I was extremely sensitive at this point, and I felt like I was being messed around with by these people.

Another evening we went to Atlantic City so Jay could gamble.  He told me if he won we would pick up some decent hookers.  I gave him two hundred dollars out of my S.S. money, and he played poker with it.  I just wandered around the boardwalk and looked at stuff.  I watched seagulls flying around, wandered up and down the beach, and even gave a bum a dollar when he asked for money.  When Jay met up with me afterwards, he told me he had doubled up shortly after he bought in, but lost it all playing afterwards.  I think he is bipolar, and his gambling practices are some indication of that.

The other time I had problems with food was a few days later, at a bar around the corner from Jay’s shore house.  We were drinking pretty heavily, at around ten or eleven in the morning, and Jay ordered us two bowls of lobster soup.  It would have been delicious had I been in a normal state of mind.  As it was, I could barely keep it down.  I went to the bathroom and started crying again.  I was really messed up in the head and my body was suffering as well, and this all made me emotionally unstable at the time.  This time Jay followed me in there and we got into an argument.  I don’t remember the words that were said.  I think he was basically calling me crazy and I was just upset, because I was crazy.  I stormed out of there with nothing but my clothes and wallet and headed down the street, crying my eyes out.

I learned something about America at this time, something I hadn’t really known until then.  People can be damn good sometimes, surprisingly good; really caring and compassionate.  Even in New Jersey.  A woman that drove by actually came back around to stop me when she saw that I was crying.  This was at a McDonald’s.  She asked me if I wanted a ride anywhere, asked me why I was upset, and if there was anything she could do for me.  I just brushed her off; I had made the decision to go it alone, fool that I was, and I wasn’t ready to take help.  Not yet anyway.  Fourteen hours later with no water, food, shelter, totally lost, I was dying to get some help, but I will get to that part of the story in a little while.

For the time being, I just kept walking, not knowing where I was going.  I still had my bank card and about ten grand in the bank, so I figured I would stop in a town, get supplies, and figure out what to do next.  I wasn’t really worried, and after my initial outburst died down, I actually felt ok.  So I walked.  And I walked.  And I continued walking.  About forty miles I walked in fourteen hours, with no sign of a town center, ATM, convenience store…nothing.  Hardly any traffic either, so thumbing a ride didn’t really seem realistic.

I kept seeing dead animals on the road, the road I was walking on, and this became increasingly ominous as the day drew to a close.  When it was fully dark, I was on a stretch of road with cars doing well over sixty miles per hour on the straightaway.  It was a Saturday night.  The thought came to me, all at once, that I could get hit by a drunk driver and die right then and there, with no one around, no one knowing where I was, and no way of getting help.  I thought of my father in that moment, and how he would feel getting a phone call from the police, telling him his son had been run down and was now laying in a morgue somewhere.  I freaked out right then, in that moment.

I ducked into the woods off the side of the road, sat down, and cried some more. I was terrified, alone, lost, hungry, thirsty, not medicated, and coming down off of several days of severe self abuse; a mix of cocaine and alcohol was most of what I had been ingesting in recent memory.  So I cried.  Eventually I calmed down after a short while, and my wits started coming back to me.  First things first. I decided to pop a squat right then and there, so I dropped my pants and did what I had to do.  I wiped myself with a dollar bill, which was a very bad idea, as it burned like crazy..  My wits had not entirely returned yet, and as proof of this, I ended up accidentally sitting down on my own shit right afterwards.  So now I smelled like shit on top of everything else, with the back of my pants smeared with it.

I realized, at this point, that it was no good just sitting there.  I needed to save myself somehow.  I got back on the road and kept walking.  When I went past a house with lights on in the back and a bunch of people partying, I saw my chance.  I went around to the back and was approached by someone, who probably owned the place.  I told him I was lost and asked if I could use his phone to call a cab.  At first he was helpful, saying sure that’s ok.  Then I pointed out the fact that I had a mess on my behind.  At that point, they must have thought that I was just a vagrant.  Another guy started chasing me out of there, yelling the whole time.  I ran.

The next thing I remember is coming across a church.  I stopped there, it seemed like a safe place, and if I had ever needed God’s help more than I did at that point, I certainly couldn’t think of it.  So I stopped and prayed, and I even left ten dollars on the stoop in front of the side door.  Maybe God listened.  I’m not dead right now so somebody was listening.  I left the church and kept walking.  I stopped on a park bench in front of a cemetery and tried to go to sleep.  While I was lying there, I started thinking about all those coffins literally twenty feet away from me, underground.  Of course, my thoughts turned to ghosts.  I’ve never been afraid of ghosts in the past, and this is the only time I can think of that the thought of seeing one truly terrified me.  I quickly got up and kept going.

It was around three or four in the morning at this point, and I had walked a long way.  I had tried thumbing a ride whenever a car went by, with no success.  I was walking down a straightaway with a hill in front of me, when something strange happened.  Without any thought or decision, as though I was possessed by something outside of myself, I turned around, put up my hand, and said in a clear voice, “stop”.  Then I turned back around and started walking again.  Once again, without any control over myself, I turned around, put up my hand, and said, “stop”.  This time when I turned back around I just stood there, wondering what the hell was going on.  Then I saw the headlights coming up over the hill, and I knew.

This time when I thumbed a ride, the guy slowed to a stop.  His car was full of people so he couldn’t pick me up, but he told me he would drop them off and come back for me if I stayed there.  I said sure, thank you.  I waited for the guy and he actually came back.  I apologized for the smell, telling him I had had an accident, and he said not to worry about it.  He asked me where I was going, and I said I wasn’t really sure, somewhere in Ocean City. 

The guy drove me to Jay’s shore house as though he knew exactly where to go, dropping me off in the back parking lot of their building.  I had no idea how this happened.  I didn’t know how to explain where I was going, other than saying it was right over the bridge.  He literally stopped by Jay’s parked car, and left me there.

Coming home was very painful for me.  I felt like I had failed, and I was miserable about it.  I wanted an adventure into the unknown, something involving danger, but leading to a place of light and joy.  I ended up back where I started, only a bit less wealthy and a lot more emotionally damaged.  My plans were ruined.  Now I understood why Jay told me not to come see him if I wanted to go on this journey.  I didn’t realize he was trying to protect me from himself; I didn’t even know he had it in him to do something like that.

A while after I got back, I was talking to Jay on the phone one day and I confessed to him what had happened in his bed with Krista.  I didn’t give him all the details about the vision and everything, but I told him I tried to get with her in his bed when he was at work.  Krista was the love of Jay’s life, and even though at that point in time they weren’t even really together anymore, he was still incredibly hurt by what I told him.  That was the end of our friendship, if you want to call it a friendship.  Seems like all we ever did was hurt each other, and ourselves.  I guess I should be happy that it’s over.  I think of Jay sometimes, sometimes in anger, sometimes in pity and love.  I have many mental issues in my present times regarding him and feeling echoes of the abuse, both physical, mental, and emotional, I withstood at his hands.  He’d beaten me, verbally assaulted me, and humiliated me on many occasions, and I guess a part of me can’t forget.

Elizabeth

In this segment and all parts pertaining to “Elizabeth”, I would just like to state that I changed this person’s name so that their identity would be kept safe.  My family reading this knows her, but other people who may read this would not, so it’s for her sake that I do this.

Something happened to me that fall that would change my life forever.  I fell in love for the second time.  This time it was love at first sight, though there was nothing overtly metaphysical about it, other than powerful thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  This makes sense, as the woman that I fell in love with has very little of the metaphysical world in her conscious mind, though her subconscious is very well connected, deep, and intuitive.

Her name is Elizabeth, and we are still very close, even after eight years and all of the messes I helped create in our relationship.  She had lived in Toronto when she was in high school.  Her parents had separated and moved away from Canada at the time, but she wanted to continue going to high school in Toronto.  She ended up living with my aunt and uncle and cousin, one set of them that live in Toronto as well.  Elizabeth and my cousin became best friends.  They continued to be friends even after high school was over, hanging out and partying together.  They liked to go to clubs to drink and dance, though my cousin did not drink.  Her only vice was men that were unhealthy for her, men who used her.  She ended up marrying one and she has two children with him.  Elizabeth used to always keep me up to date with her dramas; I felt sorry for my cousin in a way because she was self-inflictive in this regard, with the men she’d pick.

Elizabeth’s father was an alcoholic and abusive.  To her, only emotionally abusive; he never beat her.  But he hurt her mother badly.  After they broke up, Elizabeth’s mother never remarried or even dated, she was so scarred from her last relationship.  And I thought I had it bad with Leah.  What I went through, though traumatizing in its own way, was nothing compared to what that poor woman suffered.

Elizabeth is into psychology and just obsessed with crazy people.  She has a very high IQ, like me, and she respects people of intelligence.  She especially had a place in her heart for smart and crazy people, like me, who she’d been obsessed with, our type that is.

The first time I saw her, she was walking past my bedroom while I was writing poetry.  I was embarrassed and hoped she didn’t come in to read any, because I thought she would laugh at me.  She looked so beautiful, standing there like that, saying hello.  I remember thinking she was like a goddess, some higher being that was sent to my home to show me what true beauty is.  Remember, I was not taking meds, recovering from one of the most powerful and chaotic trips I have ever had, and at the moment I saw her, I was writing poetry.  I also was very lonely at the time.  When I saw her, she looked amazing.  She had nice legs, thick hips, a slim waist, nice full breasts, and one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen.

She was in my home in Boston because she lived in the area, and my cousin, her best friend, was visiting from Canada and staying in our house.   Brandon happened to be visiting me at the same time from CT, and he ended up hooking up with Elizabeth that weekend.  I was incredibly jealous, more jealous than any other time in my life.  But I will get to that in a bit.

Brandon and I went to Cambridge to hang out at a bar.  We picked up some weed and came back to the house.  Everybody was watching a movie, and Brandon sat next to Elizabeth while I lay on the ground.  This made me incredibly jealous.  I would raise my head off the ground, look and see them holding hands under the covers that were over them.  I didn’t know for sure if this was happening at the time, as I couldn’t actually see their hands, but it turns out that’s what they were doing, which I found out later.  I went out for a walk at that point, leaving everybody, with a joint to smoke.  I got high and felt a lot better, thinking creative thoughts and feeling uplifted.

I remember walking in my neighborhood, and stopping to pick up a twig off the ground.  It branched off in different directions, and for some reason seemed to visually resonate with me.  I put it in my pocket and later on wrote a poem about it.  There was a line, both on the twig and in the poem that I described as seeming “European”.  I didn’t know this at the time, but Elizabeth is from Europe originally, and had grown up there.  She was born in Romania and went to school later in Italy, though I found these things out about her much later in time, the following year actually, after we started hanging out regularly.

Elizabeth and Brandon came looking for me eventually.  It wasn’t his idea; he just wanted to hang out with her.  She was the one that convinced him to go looking for me, and that is very typical of the way she thinks.  She is very compassionate towards others and thinks of their feelings first, and she knew I was mentally ill, all by myself, and possibly lost. Elizabeth couldn’t handle that.  So they looked for me and found me as I was walking back towards home.

That evening, Brandon told me to go to bed early so he could be alone with Elizabeth.  I didn’t know what to say; the thought sickened me, but I figured that was probably the best thing for me to do, as they clearly liked each other and I would feel like a third wheel if I stuck around.  So I went to bed, but I didn’t sleep.  I stayed up, dry heaving out of my window as I imagined them together.  Never in my life has jealousy wracked my system as it did that night.  I’m not the jealous type.  I think that the fact that I got so jealous was just a sign of how perfect Elizabeth and I were for each other, how we were fated to be together, and this prick of a friend Brandon was getting in the way of that fate. Later on, after they had gone to sleep, I snuck downstairs and stole a lot of booze from my father’s bottle of scotch.  Then I drank myself to sleep.

Sleepless Lovesickness

The next three days were crazy.  I went back to CT with Brandon to hang out, and I bought the best guitar I’d owned to that point while there.  Like I said before, I had about ten thousand dollars in the bank, so I decided to go big and spent eighteen hundred on one guitar, with a very nice case as well.  It was forty percent off, so the original price was three grand.  A Taylor acoustic, which I kept until very recently, selling it this past winter of 2014-2015 for only 440 dollars, as I had broken it a long time ago and it had a crack on its front that was badly damaging the body of the instrument.  Very nice guitar though, and I’d loved playing it for years.

I couldn’t sleep.  I went three days in a row without losing consciousness.  Every night I would lie awake and the thought “I love you, Elizabeth”, would pass through my head.  I thought I was going mad.  I was right.  That’s what falling in love is, going mad.  And it didn’t help that I was already a madman to begin with.  Finally, on the third day, I passed out for about six hours at my old house, which I had snuck into.  Then I went downtown to wander around and play my guitar in public.

I was playing on the beach and I got some bad vibes.  There were some pretty girls there, as there always are in an upper-middle class town with beaches.  Something about money breeds attractive people.  I had gone into a waking dream while I was playing, and I could have sworn the people there did not like what I was doing.  I thought the music was good, but it wasn’t the music that was bothering them, it was my mental state.  At least, that’s what I believed was happing, so I decided to leave.

My next stop was the liquor store right in the midst of downtown Niantic, a town adjacent to East Lyme where I’d gone to high school.  It was in the vicinity of the spots we’d tripped that fateful night on mushrooms when I saw the world go up in spirals of thought.  There was a bench to sit on out front, and I sat down to play the guitar.  At this point I felt like I was on drugs from the lack of sleep previously and the lack of meds generally.  I was playing guitar when I girl walked up to me and started talking to me.  For some reason, I thought she looked like a combination of all the girls I had grown up with.  She was very sexy, with nice, toned legs, a good figure, and high, firm breasts.  She looked to be in her early twenties.  She seemed to like me and asked if I wanted to go with her to her place.  I agreed and walked behind her with my stuff as she led me on.

When we got to “her place”, I realized something was wrong.  The place was a motel or boarding house or something like that, where everyone gets one room with barely enough space to sleep.  In her room there was a small kitchen at one end with a fridge and counter space, and on the other side of the room a mattress was on the floor.  She asked me if I wanted something to eat and took out some cocktail shrimp.  I wasn’t going to eat anything she offered me; the place looked like a crack den.  She must have been a prostitute; why else would she have brought me there?  I had about five hundred dollars on me, but it never occurred to me to offer her money for services.  I just felt confused and a little scared.  We bummed a cigarette from the guy in the next room, who was probably her pimp.  He kept motioning to her saying things like, “What are you doin, man?  She’s hot!”  I didn’t take the hint, and eventually she just asked me to leave, suddenly and seemingly for no reason.  I’m assuming her reasoning was that I was not going to be a customer of hers, so why waste her time with me?

At this point I was very paranoid and scared.  I felt like people were after me.  I was sitting in the gazebo on the field in front of the liquor store where I had met the girl, and I got so paranoid that I walked to the nearby Greek restaurant and left the five hundred dollars on the counter, telling the shocked man there not to ask me any questions and just take the money.  Lucky day for him.  I don’t know what my reasoning was for doing this; I was not in a sane state of mind so reasons really have no meaning anyway.  I could have come up with anything and everything that would be faulty reasoning, which would lead to an act like that.

I had bought a voice recorder as well at the mall one day, and I was using it that day to speak into and then listen to what I said.  I had lost control over my perceptions and my ability to be creative, and I swear the voice recorder was saying things back to me that I had no conscious recognition of having said into it.  I was using different voices, I think, and other strange sounds were emanating from this machine.  I was hallucinating, clearly, and it made perfect sense at the time considering my mental state, and even my location.

I saw some people who I’d gone to high school with when they stopped by to say hello.  Soon after, I called my mother to ask her to pick me up, as I felt in no fit state to catch a train back to Framingham.  My mom came to pick me up and we drove back to MA.  I was at least happy about one thing: I loved my new guitar.

Dreams and Visions

After I had moved to Boston, a few interesting things happened to me in a metaphysical way.  The first was that I encountered a scout.  For those of you not up to date with Castaneda’s work, a “scout” is an alien energy being that can approach you in dream states and transport your dreaming body to other worlds, other dimensions.  Supposedly, the more powerful ones often appear to be someone you are close to, someone you know well among your friends or family. 

One week for a several day stretch of time, I spent every day walking from one end of Framingham to the other, on all cardinal points.  I basically took a walking tour of the town, going as far as Natick on one side, the women’ prison on another, and Wayland on a third, Edgell Rd etc. All over the place basically.  Every night I would come home and recapitulate my life experiences to that point in writing, and on the third or fourth night of this, something extraordinary happened.

That night I fell asleep and slipped into a dream in which I was standing in front of my bedroom door, which was closed.  I felt a powerful presence emanating on the other side and in the dream I opened the door with apprehension.  My mother was standing there, though she had an insane look in her eyes.  She reached forward and grabbed me by my midsection, my navel, exactly where Castaneda says our willpower comes from, which is our body’s locus of energy and our physical spot that is like a conduit for this energy.  I received a jolt and woke up.  When I woke up, I was still tingling from that grab; it was like an electric current was running through my belly.

I got up and washed my face, and drank a bit of water.  Then I went back to bed and immediately slipped into the most realistic dream I have ever had.  I was with Brandon in my old neighborhood in CT, and we were walking over one of the bridges that span the river there, Eight Mile River.  I kept checking everything in the dream; my perception of time and space, my perception of my own body and the body of my friend, the lighting, everything, and for the life of me I couldn’t tell if I was awake or asleep there, though I knew I was in a dream.  The lighting indicated it was the same physical time as when I’d fallen asleep in my home in Framingham.  It was so realistic that I asked Brandon if we were dreaming or if this was really happening, by which I meant, if someone from the real world was to walk past this spot, would they see us?  He indicated that they may, but only if they have the ability to do so.  In other words, if they were capable of experiencing the other side, the metaphysical side of reality, and be aware of dreamers.  I woke up from this dream feeling a deep longing for my home; Boston didn’t feel like home until after I became friends with Elizabeth.

The other thing that happened was also dream related.  This time it was a prophetic dream of sorts.  I had been smoking salvia divinorum, the diviner’s sage, every day in large amounts for about a week.  The Native Americans that use this plant apply it towards healing and seeing the future.  The general idea is that they make the subconscious conscious, and in doing so treat symptoms of mental illness, as well as using it for divination.  One night at the end of the week that I was smoking the stuff every day, I was falling asleep when I felt a powerful force enter my mind.  It seemed green, and otherworldly.  I slipped into a dream where I was with my father, and we were running away from a tornado.  The whole dream was like this, and I believe we’d caught sight of this storm from time to time, though we were both ok and neither got hurt.

The following weekend, my father went to London on a business trip.  While he was there, a tornado developed in London and went through the city. Some coincidence, and I considered this a prophetic dream at the time, as it was.  I’ve had a connection to nature, weather patterns, and especially large and circular storms in my life, and much more so after Seeing all those thought-conversations flying into the sky on that mushroom trip.  I’ve had very powerful experiences with tornadoes, predicting them and having visions of them, and being connected to their appearance, but this type of thing happened the most in 2013 and 2014 and I will get into that more when I catch up to that part of my life.

Hellish Readjustment

I started seeing a quack named doctor Z.  He’s the type of guy that keeps his patients coming back by prescribing things like Adderall and Xanax. Addictive, mind altering drugs, in other words.  Legal drugs, but still very potent and dangerous.  He had me on Ritalin soon after I started seeing him.  I loved the stuff.  For some reason, it stopped all hallucinations and made my body and head feel good at the same time. It also helped me lose some weight.  I thought the drug was great, though after Elizabeth and I started talking, she told me she thought it was messing me up.  I didn’t listen to her, and it never stopped making me feel good at the time.  I did start severely abusing it at one point though, and this ended my stint with it during that part of my life.

One night, I stayed up until the following morning, taking eating Ritalin like candy.  I remember thinking about girls a lot that night and doing some serious writing as well. I was so amped up and crazy the following morning that I decided to conduct a little experiment.  I started with my neighbor.  “Could you do me a big favor?  I want you to punch me in the face as hard as you can.”  He looked at me and shook his head.

“I don’t have time for this, I have to go to work,” he said.  I left, not discouraged and still in high spirits. I start walking around town, approaching construction workers, landscapers, and your average, ordinary citizens, asking them all to punch me in the face. No takers.  Finally, someone called the cops on me.  When the cops showed up, they wanted to know why the hell I was walking around town trying to start fights.  I told them I didn’t want to start a fight; I just wanted to get punched in the face. 

One of the cops, a big, well over six feet tall, and broad shouldered black man, said, “I’ll punch you in the face.”  All the cops were huge; I think they did this on purpose in case there was any trouble with me.

A smile sprung to my face and I said, “Yeah man, hit me!!”  At this point the cops all huddled together and came to a quick decision. 

“We’re gonna take you to the hospital, kid,” they told me, and I got driven to the loony bin in a cop car.  I was out of there in a few hours.  I just told them I had stayed up all night taking speed, and I was so amped up in the morning that I wanted someone to knock me out.  I told them I was now tired and ready to go to bed.  They let me out, and I walked ten miles back home.  Then I fell asleep.

That winter, I tried to get Elizabeth to hang out with me many times.  We had exchanged phone numbers the first weekend we met.  She always bailed on me at the last minute for one reason or another.  She likes to bail on people all the time, but at the time I had low self esteem and I figured it was because she thought I was a loser.  What I didn’t know at the time was that she bails on rich and powerful people as often as your average, everyday citizen.  I took it personally, of course, and like everything else in my life that I took personally, it just added to my paranoia.

I’d been prescribed Zyprexa at first immediately after the move, and as that caused severe weight gain, they switched me over to Abilify.  This was a big mistake for me; it caused severe restlessness and an inability to focus, or do anything for very long before I felt like I had to stop due to my attention being broken up.  I suffered with this stuff for some time before being put back on Zyprexa, and finally from Dr. Z on Geodone and Lamictal.  I was very angry about my life during this stretch of it, and I remember being driven around by my mother to get my meds and for other things I needed to do.  I’d sometimes hit the car radio over and over in frustration and yell at her, and my parents didn’t know exactly what to do with me.  It was a long, rough, lonely winter for me, as others have also been in my life.

Toronto Trip

In February of 2007, Elizabeth called me up and told me she was taking a trip to Toronto to visit her friends.  She asked me if I wanted to join her on the trip so that I could see my family.  She is a very thoughtful person and remembered me, even when she hardly knew me.  I was ecstatic at the idea of being alone in a car with her for eight to ten hours.  I immediately said yes, and was looking forward to the trip with expectant joy in my heart.

The car ride was amazing for me.  I was on a lot of Ritalin, which makes me talk up a storm, so I told her everything I could about myself, discussed society and philosophy, and talked about Carlos Castaneda’s work from time to time.  She must have thought I was crazy, which in this case actually worked in my favor.  She also thought I was very intelligent, which was even more of a plus for me.  I annoyed her by making her stop many times so that I could pee.  She is the type of traveler that likes to hold it in until they reach their destination.  No stops, no distractions from the road.  I, on the other hand, like to take my time with any trip and really feel comfortable the whole way.  I’m not in any rush.

I found out afterwards that I had said something to her on that trip that had turned her on.  I don’t know what it was, and she can’t remember the specific words, so I can’t put it in this story.  Elizabeth told me, while she was driving, that she was in a long term relationship with a guy she didn’t really like and wasn’t happy with.  I was overjoyed to hear it, because I thought, deep down where I was afraid to go, that maybe, just maybe, I had a chance with her.  This feeling departed as soon as we were not together in the car anymore, and the depression that followed almost killed me.

We stopped at her boyfriend’s place and I used his bathroom.  I remember again feeling jealousy over Elizabeth, and feeling this kind of hopelessness that I would never have a chance to really get to know her, let alone be with her.  Soon after, she dropped me off at an aunt and uncles home in the suburbs of Toronto, where I was to stay for several days.  I became distraught.

I was spending time with my family, and on the days that I was alone while they were working, I was getting messed up on a lot of drugs.  One day, I went out to buy beer and met up with an Arabic guy who wanted to hang out.  I took the beer to one of his friends’ places, following him there.  We hung out, and his friends were also Arabic.  One of them sold pot, so I bought some and we got high.  It was potent stuff, and I got too baked to function.  I left them, giving the bag to the original guy and telling him that I didn’t want it anymore.  Then I went to my aunt and uncle’s house and passed out in the guest bedroom.

That evening the man came by my aunt’s home and I was trying to snag a bottle of booze to go party with him.  She woke up to a strange black man standing in her living room and myself stealing booze.  She must have been traumatized to see this herself.  She kicked him out and basically locked me in my bedroom.  She slept in the living room after that to make sure nothing else would happen like this.

After the time I had at that aunt and uncle’s home, I was picked up by my father’s sister, who drove me north to her home with her husband, my Uncle Vatche.  My aunt’s name is Silva, and I still talk to her on skype regularly to this day. One night there when I couldn’t sleep, I ended up taking a total of twenty Ativan and drinking about fifteen shots of strong booze to wash them down.  All this over a period of a few hours, in which I kept taking more and more because I couldn’t sleep.  What was keeping me awake at night was the thought, the belief, that no matter what I did, this incredible girl was not going to even give me a chance to get to know her.  I was in a desperate state; I wanted to drug my emotions out of me because I felt so hopeless.  I was in a state of despair.  When I woke up the following morning I was crying and I didn’t know why.  My aunt told me I should go to a mental hospital, and I confessed to her having kissed my cousin when we were sixteen.

On the trip back I was a wreck.  We left early in the morning, and I was popping Ativan and Percocet like candy at the beginning of the ride.  I stole the Percocet from my aunt and uncle’s medicine cabinet.  They are getting older and have had some medical issues as what happens to many people who reach their age.  My uncle there was actually almost eighty; he was old when he had his only child and was more like a great uncle than an uncle.  The prescription was old and expired; otherwise I wouldn’t have touched it.  That doesn’t condone what I did, but I was really messed up at the time and I think, at this point, they’ve forgiven me. 

We stopped at Second Cup while still in Toronto, a chain of coffee shops that is equivalent to Starbucks in the U.S.  I had something delicious, white chocolate something or other, and it helped me feel better.  Especially because Elizabeth had recommended it to me; anything she offered would have been good.  We left and started driving towards the border.  It was still dark out, and I had begun popping the pills at that point.  After this, my memory gets hazy.

I remember feeling hopeless and miserable, so sure that I had no chance of having even a friendship, let alone a relationship, with this amazing woman.  I just kept taking more and more pills.  She was very concerned about me and kept asking me if I was alright.  I brushed her off and said I was ok.  She was genuinely concerned about me, even afraid that I was overdosing and might die in her car with her.  As an incredibly responsible person, this thought must have been the scariest for her.  I kept popping pills and brushing off her concern.  This continued until something happened that I can only describe as being an Act of God.

We were driving down the highway, near the U.S. border with Canada, when something happened that changed my life forever.  We slipped on the icy road and spun out, nearly hitting the side of the road where those barriers stick up.  When we started spinning, I came flying out of my stupor, putting my hand on her arm and saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok, it will be ok, don’t worry, it’s ok…” and so on and so forth, at least until the car came to a stop.  What happened after touched me so deeply that even though I was still scared of being with a woman, after my horrible relationship with Leah, I felt like I had fallen in love again and was happy, even with my fear.  She actually held my hand the rest of the way back to Boston.  This warmed my soul; her compassion, concern, and positive regard went straight to my heart and opened me up to a world of possibilities in life.  I still hold onto the confidence that I am a worthwhile individual, someone who was worth being loved, largely catalyzed by this initial kindness that she showed me.  It’s something I had not had for a long time, since before the drug years.  At least since my first “falling in love” with Rachel in high school.

Staying Awake but Happy

The next few months were full of joy.  We were not having sex yet, but I wasn’t in this for the sex.  I had been lonely, depressed, desperate for some attention, and insane for a very long time, and I had not had a best friend to spend a lot of time with since I moved from CT to Boston.  Having Elizabeth as a best friend brought me more joy than anything else I had experienced in my adult life. At the beginning of our relationship, things were really as perfect as they could ever get in my troubled life.

I was still taking Ritalin every day, and sometimes I would stop taking it for a few weeks and save up a large amount so that I could take higher doses for a while.  Once, after having saved up a lot, I stayed awake taking the stuff for three days straight.  Actually I have done this twice: once in Philly and once in Boston.  The time in Philly I was hanging out with Aram at his place, partying for Saint Patrick’s Day at bars around town.  I was on a combination of Ritalin, Ativan, and alcohol.  At one bar I was running around, slapping people on the back and chasing girls, shouting, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” at everybody within hearing range.  I stayed up for three days, and then I got a ride home with my parents.  When we got back, I smoked some salvia, and one of my neighbor’s mailboxes turned into a lion and prowled around the street.  Then I went to sleep.

The second time I stayed awake for three days was even crazier.  I was taking Ritalin methodically so that I would not get tired.  I don’t remember much of that time, only that after I ran out of Ritalin I called my doctor and told him someone had stolen my prescription.  He gave me two more weeks’ worth, and I took it all at once when I got home.  This was 600 mg total in one dose.  Then I went out for a walk. 

I was walking down a street with no clue where I was, talking a mile a minute to myself in a loud, commanding voice.  It was around two or three in the morning.  Some kid was riding his bike up the same street and he stopped to talk to me.  I don’t know why; I was clearly insane.  Maybe that was what prompted the conversation…who knows?

I didn’t know where I was, and I just wandered down the street for a while, lost. Finally, tired and dehydrated, I stopped at a house to ask for help.  Someone answered the door and was very nice.  They even brought me some water to drink.  I asked if they knew where Overlook Drive East was.  They pointed at some lights in the distance and said, “That’s the street right there.”  I thanked them and walked towards the lights.  When I got there, I came to the sudden, revelatory realization that the lights were lights from my own house.  I was really messed at that point, I guess. At least I had been walking in the right direction. 

When I got back into the house, I started smoking salvia.  I was out on my back deck smoking this mildly hallucinogenic plant, and I was watching the grill and the deck chair have a conversation with one another.  I don’t know what was being said; they were speaking some kind of inanimate object language that I could not make out.  I was only sure that they were communicating.  The drug was affecting me very strongly, due to my already sensitive state from having stayed awake so long.  At this point, I thought salvia was the best stuff in the world, and I came up with a genius idea.  I called 911 at three a.m. and invited some cops to come over and watch me smoke it, for scientific purposes of course.  When they arrived, they searched my room and found nothing illegal.  Salvia is not illegal in MA either, so they couldn’t really arrest me.  They did not let me smoke it in front of them, however.  Rather, they took me to the hospital.  I was excited; I thought they were taking me there so I could introduce the psychologists to the wonders of salvia.  That’s the second time I have been driven to the mental hospital by the cops.

When I arrived there I was in a more lucid state, and I realized what had happened.  Fool that I was, I actually thought it was funny.  I decided to get myself out of the hospital as quickly as possible.  This time I had to stay for five hours until nine a.m., when my mother came by to pick me up.  She drove me home and told me to take my meds.  I figured my adventure into the subconscious was over, so I did as I was told and finally I slept.

After that I stopped taking Ritalin, of my own accord, and soon I stopped seeing that doctor too.  He was a pretty bad doctor anyway.  I always had to wait a long time to see him; he was never on time with his appointments.  Once, I waited over three hours.  I was pissed, especially because Elizabeth was supposed to come over and have dinner with me and my parents that evening.  That would have been the first time we hung out, just the two of us.  I was really looking forward to that and I was angry that it didn’t happen.  That doc was bad news, so I ditched him.

California

In March of that year, my father and I took a trip to California to visit our family there.  That was a great trip; I love California.  Not as much as I loved Europe, but Cali is still an exciting adventure.  We flew into LAX and took a cab to a distant cousin’s place in Glendale.  Nice neighborhood, and even in early March the weather was warm, almost tropical, with enormous, exotic looking trees everywhere and a nice breeze to caress my face.

I went out on the town with some second cousins, and we hung out at a club in LA.  This was a wild place; I was waiting in line to go to the bathroom at one point when a man and woman came out of the men’s room together.  This is LA.  I got drunk that night and had a blast wandering around the club, watching people dance.  Like I said before, I didn’t dance at that point in front of others, so I just took pleasure in watching.  I remember going outside for a smoke and seeing these freaky looking people standing around, some of them smoking tobacco, others marijuana.  I liked the scene there; it seemed both sophisticated and laid back, like LA can be I guess.

After a few days, my father and I left his cousin’s home and we went north.  We stayed at my cousins’ place, my female cousin Natasha and my cousin-in-law, her husband, Victor.  They have two kids, both very young.  Victor is a dentist, a psychologist, and a musician.  He went to school for a long time.  Natasha is into cooking and I think she runs a catering business.  We hung out at their place most of the time, though we also went to the beach one day.  Another day, we went hiking in the hills north of their home.  The landscape out there is beautiful, at least to me, maybe because it is such a novel experience.  I also saw Vicken, Natasha’s younger brother, on this trip.  He was still working on his Doctoral degree at the time.  He was trying to write a paper on cultural artifacts from Armenia.  Vicken had been working on this for several years at the time and had not made much headway.

Not a whole lot happened at their place.  I drank beer with the parents in the evenings.  On the last night there, the family had company over.  A man and two women showed up, each separately, and all of us went out to dinner.  We went to a Japanese place and I had some Saki there, which wasn’t my favorite thing to drink.  The food was delicious, however; I remember being very pleased with the meal.  I think that might be the first time I ever had soft-shelled crab, which is one of my favorite Japanese dishes of all time.

A Trip to CT

Upon returning to Boston, I continued my newly discovered friendship with Elizabeth.  We texted each other every day and talked on the phone when we could.  Occasionally we hung out as well.  Once, we went to the train station in Boston to pick up a friend of her mother’s, who was going to help the family move into a new townhouse.  I was so ecstatic at having someone to interact with, and she still brings a great deal of joy into my life by communicating with me and wanting me to communicate with her.

Once, I took a picture of myself with my phone in the mirror, and sent it to her.  She told me I looked sexy.  That was the first time a woman had told me that, either with words or deeds, since I was just out of high school.  I was even overweight at the time; at least I thought I was.  When she said that to me, I actually started to believe that our relationship could be something more than just a friendship.  I was very slow to act, however; it was still a month before we did anything sexual with one another.  I’ve come to believe that being slow to act is a good way of going about things in a relationship, at least for me.  It allows time to develop feelings for your partner and really get to know them as individuals, instead of just treating them as a sexual fantasy waiting to happen.  Every other time I hooked up with a girl or woman it was almost immediately after we started hanging out, the first day or the first time we actually were together.  And all of those relationships and hook ups left me nowhere, got me nothing, and one in particular contributed heavily to my mental problems in life.

Before Elizabeth and I hooked up, I took a trip to CT to visit my friends there.  When I got there I was pumped up and excited to be alive.  My friends could tell, and we had a blast together. Brandon and I went to a strip club one night.  We also went out to normal bars and hit on girls and women, sang Karaoke, and drank and smoked pot.

I met up with Tia, the black girl I hooked up with in Portugal, on that trip to CT.  We had lunch together, and then she drove me to my old neighborhood, because I was going to Chris’s place when she left me.  We parked in a spot by the wooded area in that neighborhood, and I tried to get her to hook up with me.  She wouldn’t go for it and I gave up at the time.  I don’t know exactly what got into me; I had hooked up with her on the Portugal trip and thought maybe I could get some action then I guess.  I don’t always make good decisions, which is obvious now.

I apologized to her and she said it was ok.  Then we drove to the commuter lot on the outskirts of the neighborhood.  There she left me, but before she did, Tia planted a kiss on my lips and whispered something to me, something low and sultry.  I was very confused; she was acting like she wanted me, but then she had resisted me…I didn’t know what was going on.  Taking it in stride, I said goodbye and walked over to Chris’s house to meet up with him.

I don’t remember what we did that time we hung out.  Probably, we got drunk and smoked pot.  We seem to do that a lot when we hang out; it’s almost like a tradition.  The next day I remember I smoked pot with him at a mall, and I was thinking about what had happened with Tia the day before.  I felt weird about it.  It’s totally out of character for me to be pushy with somebody, even if it’s just role playing.  I felt all wrong and kind of disgusted with myself.

In Love for the Second Time

When I got back to Boston, I felt like a new man.  I knew what I wanted; I wanted to be with Elizabeth.  The next time I hung out with her I made my move.  It was just her and I at the apartment she and her mom shared.  Her mother was asleep, and we were watching TV.  Elizabeth was lying down with her feet pointing at the joint of the “L” that the couch segments made, and I was perpendicular to her on the other section of the couch, also with my feet pointing inwards.  I started playing footsie with her, and she let me.  Then I got up and walked over to the dining room table and sat down.  She came over to me and asked if I was alright.  I reached around her waist and held my head against her belly, rubbing her back.  She put her hands on the top of my head and massaged it.  We stayed like this for a while, and then we kissed a little.  It was very romantic.

The next time we fooled around it was at my parents’ house.  No one else was home, and we were in my bedroom.  I put on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, and we ended up making love with that movie on.  It was amazing for me, not having had sex in so long, and also being so into her as a person and her into me the same way.  I remember one thing; the first time it was pretty quick, but immediately after I noticed something astounding.  My whole being, my mind and heart, were at rest and totally still and silent.  I had not experienced this level of silence since my boyhood, when I was still healthy, and I think that was the best sign of all.  She brought me peace this way, and I will always remember that.

Shortly after we started being sexual with one another, I decided to give up on drugs in a permanent way.  It turned out not to be permanent, but I went much longer sober than I had gone since I began using drugs, and that’s saying something.  The next five months were like a dream; we were in love and the world was beautiful.  She seemed very happy as well.   For a brief period of time, just before and shortly after we had sex for the first time, I was having phone sex with this crazy Armenian girl.  When Elizabeth let me know she wasn’t having it, I took that as proof that she loved me and wanted me, and told the other girl to take a hike.  She was crazy anyway; she wanted to talk about marriage and kids, and the only way I knew her was through a mutual friend on Facebook. Once I realized Elizabeth’s feelings for me were as strong as they were, however, I cut it out and was loyal to her.

So I was in love for the second time in my life.  This time I was older and more experienced, and a much different person with a longer history.  I wasn’t throwing this away for anything.  Not that anything else came my way, but I had no interest in other women.  I was in love, and I was obsessed.  For the first time since the mushroom trip I was able to sleep at night without meds and without much trouble, and I didn’t take meds more than one day a week at this point.  I didn’t smoke tobacco or do other drugs either, which lasted from early April up until late September, when I was put again on Abilify and I had a freak out and drank. 

Up until the point when I started drinking again, I was happier than I had ever been in my life.  Even when I started drinking and I was hiding it, I was able to rationalize and see the good in our relationship, still being very happy with things.  It wasn’t until a year later, after I tripped, again, that I felt the guilt well up in me like a depressive storm.  That’s when I confessed that I had been intoxicating myself over the year before that.

Problems in our Relationship

Between the time that we first hooked up and the day that I confessed my sins to her, many things happened.  For one thing, she and her mother moved twice.  Once from a little apartment to a townhouse in a close town, and again about a year later from that townhouse to an independent home in Framingham, just down the street from my parents home.  The second move was part of the reason I told her I had been drinking; I was getting paranoid that she would find out some other way.  I was also being gnawed by guilt incessantly by then, and I truly loved this woman and could not live with her not knowing this important fact about me and what I’d been doing.

I’m not sure why I started drinking again to begin with.  Most likely, it’s because there was a change in my medication. My doctor took me off Zyprexa, due to the weight gain problem, and put me on Abilify.  This drug had side effects like extreme restlessness and anxiety, for some people, and I was one of those people.  Soon after going on the drug, I had an anxiety attack.  Then I walked twenty minutes to a convenience store and bought beer.  The booze made me feel a lot better, and I was afraid of telling her what I had done.  This was because once, in the middle of the summer before, she had said that if I ever started drinking again, she would cut me off.  She said it in an offhand way, but I took her seriously.  When I finally confessed, I was sure she was never going to talk to me again.  Luckily for me I was wrong, but the fear was genuine.

From the time that I had my first drink again to the time I confessed, I was basically living a lie with this person who still trusted me entirely.  She was under the impression, the whole time, that I’d been sober the whole time, and she valued this very much.  What I did was awful actually, in retrospect, which is to hide the truth of actions that would be both hurtful in and of themselves and more hurtful to lie about, ultimately.  I learned a hard lesson with her about both having trust and breaking trust, and I have been a better man since for it. 

The first year was good for both of us, however, and the undercurrents of my lie were mostly affecting myself, though I could see her intuition flare up as well.  For one thing, she never raised her voice to me or did we get in any fights, except specifically only the nights that I was having my few, secret drinks by myself at home.  On all of those nights she would call me and start yelling at me, in my perception for no logical reason, and I feel to this day that a part of her knew what I was doing and was upset.  Women are very mysterious in the ways they know things, especially about their men, and I’m a firm believer anyways in the powers of intuition, both male and female, and the innate human quality of knowing things without using reason and logic.

In the time that I had with her at their second place, the townhouse, we slept in bed together almost four nights a week every week, and I hardly took any medication the whole time I was with her, and still slept well, better than I do now, and woke up feeling refreshed.  We would have sex on those nights, almost every time we shared a bed, and it was mutually gratifying and what I’d consider to be good sex.  She always wanted more anyway, and I was almost always able to oblige, and we were both satisfied.  We shared Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day, and Easter together, as well as July 4th and Memorial Day that year at the townhouse.  In the fall, her mother, her grandmother (who’d just moved in with them from Romania, having sold her expensive apartment so that they could purchase the free-standing home in Framingham), and herself all prepared for the move.  In the midst of this preparation, I broke down and told her the truth, which I felt a powerful compulsion to do after an initial Ayahuasca experience prompted me to do so.

The Ayahuasca experience was, during its own time of the trip, very powerfully positive and upbeat, but the aftereffects swung me into a depression that lasted for most of the winter.  During the trip itself I was listening to Jimi Hendrix and having visions fly through my mind in front of my closed eyes, and then I talked to both my friend Chris and then Elizabeth on the phone, very upbeat and laughing the whole time.  This trip prompted me to become much more sensitive and realize I was holding onto very negative energy in myself by continuing this lie towards the woman who trusted me and loved me, and ultimately pushed me over the edge into needing to fess up beyond any fear or doubt in myself to prevent it from happening.

Ayahuasca is a South American mixture of two or more plants, one containing DMT, which is called “The Light”, and the other plant a vine of the caapi variety that contains harmala alkaloids, MAOI’s that allow the DMT to work when its ingested orally into the stomach.  One drinks this brew of boiled plants, which tastes awful, and within half an hour will puke it up, with the metaphor being that all the negative energy in their bodies will be puked up with the brew that coalesces it in their stomach.  That first trip I felt nauseous but I didn’t get sick, and maybe that also had a detrimental effect on my experience.  The end result was a hypersensitive downward spin into uncontrollable unhappiness and a powerful need to fess up to my actions to Elizabeth, once and for all.  So I did, and then I lived in the aftermath of this series of decisions.

The first flush of love was long gone, and now she knew that she had been lied to for about a year straight.  This, coupled with the fact that she had started taking an SNRI (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) for anxiety, led to us having sex about once a month from that point on.  The drug was ruining her sex drive, so she had little desire for it.  Also, she was disillusioned with me, so she wasn’t going to humor me by giving me play like she used to.  She still loved me, however, and we still considered ourselves mutually exclusive, and did for several years after that point as well.

My relationship with Elizabeth has seen many ups and downs.  Once or twice I got physical with her.  One time, about six months before she knew I had been drinking, we were walking her dogs, and she was bombarding me with insults due to her stress levels at work. She kept telling me to connect the leash to something that was hanging around her neck, calling me a moron the whole time.  Finally I got fed up and grabbed the thing around her neck, yanking it down towards the dog’s leash.  “Like that?!” I yelled.  I hadn’t been drinking; I was just fed up with her treating me like that.  She would get in these moods sometimes where she would complain and nag and attack constantly, due to her anxiety and stress levels that were not under good control at all times.  That is why she started taking the SNRI to begin with, because she had severe problems with anxiety and stress, not to mention anger management. 

Our relationship was far from perfect. Nine times out of ten, we got along fine and were very happy with each other.  That last time, however, could be bad.  She’s made me cry quite a few times, and I have made her cry as well.  The SNRI changed her in very subtle but real ways, not just hindering her sex drive but also changing her moods an attitudes towards things in her life.  Whereas before, she would be at 110% all the time, with the new chemical conditions she could run at an even 80% sometimes in a way that she had no control over being able to do before.  She also was more “loopy” in a way, and she used to say that.

The other time I got physical with her out of anger was at my parents’ house in Framingham.  I had gone to court that morning for a shoplifting charge, which was dropped and the case dismissed.  I just had to pay court fees, but nothing went on my record.  We were arguing about me cleaning my room, or something like that.  Elizabeth came into my room while I was up there and threatened to break my guitar.  This infuriated me, and I grabbed her and pushed her out of my room. She fell on the floor, scared, and I slammed the door shut.  That’s the most physical I have ever gotten with her, and I think I scared her badly.  The aftermath was her threatening to leave, both of us crying with me getting apologetic, and finally her decision to stick around and spend time with me.

Ayahuasca

While Elizabeth was living at the townhouse in Norwood., I applied to get a driver’s license again.  This was in the fall of 2007, shortly after I had started drinking again.  I had to go through driver retraining and then relicensing before I was granted a driver’s license for the second time.  At least my record was clear, because it had been more than six years since the last time I got a ticket or had an accident. 

When I began drinking, I was only drinking about once a week, and only a few shots at a time.  I kept up this pattern for a very long time, very un-alcoholic of me.  I showed that I had self control.  Part of the reason I was so controlled was because I was afraid of getting caught. More importantly, at that time in my life, I didn’t even feel the need to drink that much.  It was only much later, after having tripped several times more, that my mental and emotional problems built up to the point where I felt like drinking every day.

The trip that led me to confess my drinking habits to Elizabeth after a year of hiding them was truly life changing.  It caused a semi-permanent shift in awareness, and altered my hallucinations for about eight months straight.  I tripped on Ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen that is made of a combination of at least two plants, if not three or four.  These are the banisteriopsis caapi vine, mixed with a plant containing the alkaloid DMT.  The chemicals in the vine, harmine and harmaline, are MAOI’s, which are necessary to allow the DMT to be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

DMT is a very potent hallucinogenic drug that induces visionary states.  The human brain produces it naturally to make us go into dreams when we fall asleep.  There is also a massive dump of the stuff about seven weeks into the growth of the fetus.  One man theorized that this is the entrance of the soul into the human embryo.  Also, there is another massive dump whenever someone has a near death experience, and just before we die as well.  Have you ever heard anyone say they saw their life flash before their eyes?  Well, they may actually have seen it, if their brain dumped a large amount of DMT into their blood.

Anyway, the trip went well.  I felt great, high as a kite, and having powerful visions.  I was listening to Jimi Hendrix at the time, and the music was coinciding with the visions.  I called my friend Chris and talked animatedly with him for about an hour.  Afterwards, Elizabeth called me, and I felt such a rush of love and affection for her that I was actually laughing my head off while we spoke.  I felt fine until after I came down, when Elizabeth, my parents, and I went to a seafood restaurant.  There, I started hallucinating a man talking to me, telling me I was an idiot for doing what I did.  I went into a state of rage, screaming that I would kill him.  Thankfully, I was doing this in my head and not out loud.  My mental state, however, went downhill from that point.  I became suicidal, again.

I started slipping into chaotic visions constantly.  I was being torn apart by forces beyond my ability to control or cope with.  I felt like I was going insane.  I was.  I was getting severely depressed, and I couldn’t cope with anything in my life.  What I needed was an anti-mania and anti-depressant, bipolar drug.  I hadn’t been on anything for depression for several months, and it all caught up to me after that trip.  Finally, I got some help.  This magic pill is called Lamictal.  It has no side effects of weight gain, little to no physiological effects, and ever since I’ve been on it, I have not gotten suicidal at all, not even a little bit.  The difference between how I felt before the drug and after was drastic.  I was able to cope. Actually, I felt great, after the initial dose kicked in.  No depression whatsoever.  The chaotic visions continued, but in my detached state of mind I learned to control and manipulate them.  Also, my hallucinations had changed.  No more “Fuck you, asshole!”  No more evil man and woman.  Just rapid fire, intensely creative thought.

I was in a hyper-creative, hyperactive state of mind for almost six months straight, but no major depression after the initial depression was alleviated by Lamictal.  I still heard hallucinations from the sky at the beginning of this process of change, but I gained the ability to fight back at that point and would rage towards them for long stretches of time in the winter as well.  By late winter, my hallucinations were gone, though my state of mind was seriously altered anyway.  I was going into visionary states all the time.  At home, in public, while I was driving, while I was making love, anytime.  I loved it.  The most beautiful and interesting visualizations used to keep me feeling joy and ecstasy all the time.  I was in a manic state but was being protected somehow by my life so that I didn’t get into trouble, not even a traffic ticket.  And I felt like the relationship that I’d been so worried about before was doing better over time, and I was more upfront about my actions with Elizabeth than before by then.  I often saw blue with white floating around, like a sky with a few clouds.  I would see this most often on sunny days.  Once I fasted for two days, living off of coffee and no food.  The visions intensified and became more poignant.  I remember seeing a white light surrounded by a soft blue.  The white light seemed to represent myself. 

The downside of this state of mind was that Elizabeth was always telling me that I was out of it.  I had a harder time focusing on the real world, because my thought processes and visual imagery were so intense.  This led me to start taking Haldol the following spring.  Then, my state of mind completely stabilized.  Too stable, to be honest, and all of the joy of those altered states during that time of my life was irrevocably destroyed immediately after starting on the doses of haldol.  After taking one dose for almost a month, I told my doctor I couldn’t think at all anymore, and he lowered it by half.  This seemed to work for me, and I stuck to it for a long time.

Lucid Dreaming

              One thing happened specifically during this time that changed my life.  I began having intense trance states as I fell asleep, with jolts and vibrations running through my head sometimes as I slipped into my subconscious.  I would feel like something was grabbing me by my midsection or my head, leg, or chest, like an energetic vibration-jolt that would propel me into a lucid dream.  It felt like an outside force was affecting me, touching me, and changing me.  I would have these experiences just at the brink of sleep.  Sometimes, I would fall asleep and not realize that I had, often when lying flat on my back, and slip into a trance with no conscious or noticeable break in my awareness.  I would end up in a dream that I was lying in bed in the same position, with the same state of mind, and same feelings as when I was awake, at first without realizing that I’d even fallen asleep.  Then, I would levitate, or get grabbed by the energy being, and I would spiral off into dreams and dreamlets where I was flying, having sex with multiple women, or running around the subconscious mind and having adventures with people.

              I have had this experience many times.  It happened the most post-first Ayahuasca experience, and it is very rare that I have feelings like that just before sleep nowadays. I loved it, to be frank, and the dreams elicited by this initial type of experience were often beautiful and profound, and sometimes very frightening.  I’ve been thrown around my bedroom by an outside force and pushed into a bedroom wall with dark hands protruding from hit, touching me and feeling me up.  I’ve felt so much powerful energy running through my dreaming body that it’s been terrifying at times, only to push me further into dreams of sublime beauty.  I find these types of experience make me more spiritual and give me easy access to “the other side”.

              One night I dreamt that I was driving back and forth from one place to another in a magical land with happy people.  My father was there and so was my ex, the one that I didn’t like that haunted my daily waking life as a hallucination voice.  But she was happy and I was happy to see her for some reason, and we worked on a building project and created something beautiful.  I don’t remember the details very well.  Another time, I dreamt that I was with two beautiful women and I made love to both of them.  Then I jumped into another world where there were more women, and I could just pick and choose who to fool around with.  This would go on for a while, with some time to go out for a fly during or after the sexual encounters.

              The greatest thing about these dreams was the control I had over things.  I am like a gifted magician in those dreams with powers over the worlds I exist in and my own perceptions, which is sublime and quite satisfying to experience. I once had a dream before my move from CT, just after a trip on cough medicine, where I was outside of my home on the corner of the street in broad daylight.  I was looking at a tree and it seemed beautiful; in my dreams, beauty is always enhanced and it is like experiencing reality on some exquisite hallucinogenic drug that heightens and enhances everything, every feeling, every thought.  While I looked at the tree, I intuited what I could do with my vision and then consciously zoomed in and saw it up close as though I was right in front of the leaves.  Then I zoomed in as though I was looking at a leaf under a microscope, seeing all the different cells. After, I zoomed back out entirely and I was on the street again, in broad daylight, on a beautiful late spring day.

              Another time I dreamt that I was hanging out with Elizabeth and two of her friends, one guy and one girl.  We were in some kind of warehouse, and then we looked at this beautiful crystalline structure that was changing colors and hues and shapes all at once as though it was a living thing.  I felt like I loved them all, like we were close, like family.  Once, I dreamt that I was standing in my bedroom and looking out the window.  The neighborhood was lit up with street lamps, which are not there in real life.  I knew I was dreaming, but I wanted to fly over the town and see it from the sky.  I never managed to do that, though I flew around my neighborhood.  There seemed to be a barrier preventing me from getting out into the rest of the town.  When I came back, the neighbors’ daughters were at my place and we were hanging out like friends.  I hooked up with one of them, and we fell in love.  The last part of the dream was our brief romance within the dream itself, which had no real place in waking life to connect to, as I almost never spoke to those girls.

              Another time I started my dream in a room with some people.  We were planning our expedition and discussing our natures with one another.  Then, we went out into a candy coated, curvatious world where a girl had been murdered at her own home.  We arrived there like some squad of super beings, like the X-Men, and we investigated the scene.  The others with me were concerned about the girl.  I however, knew I was dreaming, and I was ecstatic.  I told all the rest of them, “We are dreaming!  We can fly! Let’s go outside and fly around!”  They followed me, and then, one by one, we soared up into the sky. We ended up flying all over the world in that dream.  We went to Europe, and Tibet, and even Africa. The Himalayas looked gorgeous from the heights that I was soaring.  They seemed to be glowing a white-pink and blue color, shimmering and shining in the dream-light. There were great open expanses everywhere I looked. 

              When I landed in Africa, I was told not to fly out of there, because demons roamed the skies.  I kissed an African woman, who then turned into a white woman internally that I could see within the vision, and then turned back into her original form.  When I kissed her, I felt like I had been injected with a powerful drug.  I tried flying out of there, and the demons attacked me.  Then I went into what I called after, “Avatar Mode”, bellowing with my whole energy and pushing myself into an intense hallucinogenic state.  I was in a realm of awareness where gods dwelt, and where consciousness and reality formed one thing.  These gods seemed like people, but the only way to describe the effect is to say I must have upped the level of naturally occurring hallucinogens in my blood with that bellow, which propelled me to their dimension.  I felt like I was in one of the most intense trips of my entire life.  After that part of the dream ended, I landed at the outskirts of Africa by the ocean.  I flew low over land until I got to the sea, and then soared up into the sky again.  I ended up back where I started, and went into the original room with the original people I had started the dream in.  We all made a pact to meet up in real life, and all the people gave me their addresses.  However, each person lived at those places at different time periods, and I had to send them letters in their own time.  All the time periods were in the past, compared to my present, so it was impossible.  I wrote down what I could remember of their addresses when I woke up, with the intention of looking them up.  I never did.  It occurred to me afterwards that these people in the dream may have been spirits, possibly of people who’d passed on, and the addresses and time periods they gave me could have been messages of some kind.  I guess I’ll never know.

Strip Clubs

Something happened just after I started taking Haldol that also changed my life in a permanent way.  I developed a new bad habit.  This one was very expensive: strip clubs.  There was one club in particular that I almost always went to.  Every time but one, actually.  This one was out in Worcester, called Centerfolds.  This place is basically a hole in the wall, not very classy.  I’d go at regular intervals for several years, stop going at times for long durations of time, and then get back into the habit of occasionally going.  I’ve not gone since last winter now, nor do I care to think of it, and I do not drive anymore nor will I for some time, so it’s currently not an issue I have to be concerned with.

The first time I went was in response to the new medication I was taking. The overly high dose had me all pent up; it was like nothing was giving me any pleasure anymore.  I couldn’t feel much, I couldn’t think much, and my experiences seemed incredibly mundane, especially after the hyper-creative, hyper-intuitive, elevated state of mind I was in for the previous eight months after taking Ayahuasca.  I thought I should try a strip club and see if that would wake me up a bit.  I told Elizabeth that I wanted to go, and at first she said no.  Later on, she said it was ok, so I went that evening.  I tipped the girls a few bucks, bought a beer, and got a lap dance. 

When I told Elizabeth what I had spent my money on she freaked out on me.  She was incredibly jealous and hurt that I got a lap dance.  If I had realized she was going to have this reaction, I’d not have done it in the first place.  I had no clue what was coming.  After this, we didn’t have sex for several months straight.  And this right after we had started being romantic together again on a daily basis.

I was devastated.  In retrospect, I don’t know why I was so upset.  She was still hanging out with me, and I should have been cognizant of the fact that, given enough time, she would start sleeping with me again.  At the time I thought it was the end of the line for me.  I was convinced she was going to start seeing someone else, that our relationship was over.  I didn’t know how to handle the sudden change, and I was freaked out by how fast it had happened.  I was also just scared of losing her from my life at the time; that was primarily my concern.

I was very depressed during those months.  Elizabeth was taking her last classes before graduation at Harvard, and she was extremely stressed out.  She seemed like she was in a bad mood all the time, and she didn’t often have time to see me.  Also, I was depressed about the lack of romance in my life.  If we had been having intense sexual experiences together while I didn’t see her as often, and if she had been feeling better, it would have been a lot easier for me.  Also, we were in the dead of winter, when my mood dips normally.

Sometimes I even cried, which is not usual for me.  I have been deeply depressed in the past, even suicidal on many occasions, but I was never a crier.  Something about Elizabeth brought that out in me; only she ever really broke my heart.  It is because she loves me so much that when we are not getting along I am so strongly affected.  I think she loved me more than anyone else in my life during our times together.  I would be driving down the road, and a song would come on the radio that had sadness deep in it, and tears would come to my eyes.  Especially romantic songs.

Thinking back to that time, it seems to me I was overindulgent with myself.  I was letting myself feed on all the sadness and despair instead of putting on a tough face and dealing with it.  Crying can be very self indulgent.  I don’t think it is always a bad thing to cry; sometimes a beautiful song will bring tears to my eyes.  Or a touching part of a movie.  But that is crying because your heart has been touched with feeling, not because you are hurt.  I never cry because I am hurt, I take the pain and live with it.  This may not actually be healthy at all, not for a man or a woman to do.  It indicates repressed emotion that runs so deep that it is not addressed with catharsis, but rather with repression and other manifestations of the pain.  There are people who practice crying as though it is an art form, especially for men, and it makes me wonder if this part of my life will come back to me someday, as I valued my emotional abilities to let go and really experience that catharsis, especially regarding media.  Crying is relieving for me, but I hardly ever do it or even feel that I am capable of doing it myself.

The Second Ayahuasca Experience

Later in the spring in May or early June, I had my second experience with Ayahuasca.   This time, the trip was not at all chaotic or even visionary.  Instead, I was filled with a feeling of sublime joy, an ecstatic feeling of goodness and wholesomeness.  I remember looking at a towel hanging from my door and thinking it was incredibly beautiful.  I decided to wear it and wrapped it around my torso like a shawl.  I was listening to music like Enya and Enigma, very positively charged and powerful, especially in the state of mind I was in. ”Return to Innocence” was incredible.  I felt full of love and life and totally at peace.  Kindness, compassion, warmth, goodness, and joy all ran through me as though I was a personification of this deity that is supposed to heal her followers.  I told Elizabeth I was tripping that evening.  She had given me some really good pot to smoke, and that was what made me decide to trip, so that I could combine the Ayahuasca with the marijuana.  Ayahuasca is both the name of the hallucinogenic plant mixture, as well as the name of the goddess that is supposed to be invoked by the ceremony of ingesting those plants.

When I met up with Elizabeth later that evening, I was still tripping.  I felt on top of the world.  All my thoughts were coming in on multiple levels, with different meanings all tied together into one for each individual thought.  I felt a powerful connection to everything within my perceptual range.  There were no negative side effects of this trip.  On the contrary; my relationship with Elizabeth became even better, and we even started having sex on a regular basis again.  The summer that came after was one mostly full of love and light, with a few fights here and there, but mostly good times.  We were living alone in her mother’s house while her mom was working in CA and her grandmother living in Romania temporarily.  I felt very lucky.

An Awareness of Death

              During that summer, the summer of 2009, something happened that I consider to be a psychic and very powerful event in my life.  I was working for a company that owned many group homes in one area outside of Boston.  I was just regular staff, cooking and cleaning mostly, and watching a lot of TV.  It was a very boring, easy job.  I worked mostly with African guys and one African American, who was my boss.  I made lunch and dinner for the mentally retarded residents of the group home, drove them places, cleaned up after them, and eventually I would have been giving them medication as well.

              One guy I worked with was very vulgar with the residents at the group home.  He would curse at them and say things like, “I fucked your mother” or “I fucked your sister”.  I would always try to redirect; he was my superior and I didn’t want to come out and cause a scene.  I would just try to talk to them and calm them down and get them to be peaceable together.  The mentally retarded guys would talk back, but it obviously wasn’t fair, just, or good.  It was a clear abuse of power, and I ended up reporting it.  Nothing ever got done about it.  As far as I know, the guy still works for the company.  I actually saw him a few years after I stopped working there and he told me he was management.  That is just one example of the abuse of taxpayers’ money in the non-profit area of society.  There need to be better controls for these things so that the quality of life of the disabled is better.

              In November or December of 2008, my father found out that his friend’s nephew was sick with cancer.  It was pancreatic cancer, which is generally incurable, so the family was in shock.  The family lives in Quebec City, Quebec, and they are very cultured, well educated, and good people.  It was a tragedy to happen like that.  The man was only thirty eight, after all.  I remember feeling bad for them but feeling kind of disconnectedness from it all at the same time, because I didn’t know the man with cancer, just a few of his family members.  I was just sorry that the family had to suffer.

              One night, when I was working a sleeping overnight position at the group home, I was lying in bed and thinking.  I was wide awake for some reason, and felt like I was in a heightened state.  I started thinking of death in a very realistic way.  I’m going to die, my friends are going to die, my family are all going die, everybody I don’t know is going die, all the animals in the world are going die, all the plants are going to die, all the fungus, the bacteria and single celled organisms…they are all going to die too.  Every living organic organism is going to die someday, as new ones take their place.  This is normal.  This is natural.  Ultimately, this is good.  Death is a good thing, when it comes at the right time and in the right way.  It is a necessary thing regardless of how it comes.  I thought these things, and I accepted them, felt at peace, and fell asleep.

              The next day, when I was at home, my father approached me and told me that the man had died the night before.  He had died right around the same time that I was thinking those things about death.  I knew immediately that I had been touched, and I felt a profound sense of peace and contentment with the secret knowledge that I had.  I knew the man had accepted his death at the end, hopefully far before the end.  He had given up his anger and pain, and had gone into the unknown with dignity.  It’s very sad, but it’s beautiful as well.  My dad told me he heard from his friend that the man had been at peace at the end.  I didn’t need to hear it out loud to know that, but I still found it comforting.

The Party

The summer of ‘09 was great, though in the fall Elizabeth and I stopped being intimate again.  We had many times together, cooking and cleaning, taking care of her three dogs, spending evenings together, sleeping together, and waking up together to start our days.  It was like being married for a little while, and I was overjoyed with the situation.  I was paying for Elizabeth to not have to work overtime by supplementing her income with my own, so we would have more time to spend together.  It was lovely.

One night, we threw a party at my parents’ house while they were away.  The party was originally going to be at Elizabeth’s; she invited many people that she knew.  I didn’t really know any of the people except for a few of them.  Elizabeth posted on Facebook the date and location of the party and sent out invites to all her friendly acquaintances.  At the last moment, she changed the location of the party to my address.  That’s where we had the keg.  It was around eight o’clock and no one had showed up yet.  I said “Is it bad luck to tap the keg before anyone shows up?”  Elizabeth said no, so I went ahead and did it, and started drinking.  Shortly after, people began showing up.

People kept coming for quite a long while after the initial inflow.  There were probably around thirty five or forty people there total, all drinking, smoking, and smoking pot.  People were very friendly and there was no real trouble with anyone.  This wasn’t a party of teenagers, after all; the youngest people there were in their early twenties, and the oldest in their thirties.  I remember a girl walked up to me and started talking to me.  She said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m not feeling that drunk yet, I keep drinking though…”  I asked her what it would be like for her if she was actually drunk.  She said, “I would probably be taking off my clothes,” and she laughed. I recommended to her that she start taking shots of vodka.  She just said, “Ok, I will go do that now.”

I was talking to one guy about my acid trips, and he told me some stories of his own.  He told me one time he ate eight hits and went nuts.  At another point, we were smoking pot, sitting on my living room couch.  I was smoking with this guy Dave, who would, in a year or so, become my drug dealer.  A that point in the future, I was picking up ounces off of him and distributing them myself.  This comes later in the story, however.  At the end of the night, a few of Elizabeth’s closer friends and I went with her back to her house.  There, we stayed up late and talked a lot.  One of the guys, whose nickname was Gusty, just wouldn’t shut up and he was loud.  After listening to him babble for a long time, I said, “Gusty?”

He said “What’s up?”

I said “Shut up.”  Amazingly, he did.

We finally slept, and the next day the other guys left to go back to their respective homes.  It was just Elizabeth and I again.  She was not very happy with me; she never was after I had drank heavily and been high.  This would seriously affect me in a negative way; I always had emotional problems in these situations where she was upset with me.  I think we had an argument and I cried.  She could be very cold towards me if she felt I had done something wrong.  It didn’t help that I told her about what was said with that girl, the one who said she would have been taking her clothes off if she was more drunk.

Weed with Elizabeth

I started smoking pot again that summer.  This time, however, I loved it.  Elizabeth was actually supporting my smoking habits at first.  It wasn’t until later that she started being against my smoking up.  I smoked with her many times during that period of my life.  Sometimes, we would have sex.  Other times we would just talk and laugh, and get silly together.  It was a joy to me to share this drug with someone I love.  I hadn’t experienced that before; even with Chris I had not enjoyed marijuana as much as I did with Elizabeth, though that changed as time went on.

Once when I smoked alone, some really good stuff from a friend, I was at Elizabeth’s house and I went into a visionary trance.  It was like dreaming while awake.  I was listening to music and getting high on it, feeling deep vibrations and chills run through my body.  The downside of this experience was the fact that I left the dogs in the backyard to go out and buy cigarettes.  Elizabeth came home while I was gone and saw her sliding door open, and she flipped out.  To make matters worse, her pug (which is her favorite creature on the face of the planet) had gotten into the tomato patch and eaten something.  He was twitching for a while, and we did a bit of research and found that tomato leaves have a neurotoxin that can affect dogs.  It was scary and stressful, and a total buzz-kill for me, though it was my own fault.

Another time when we smoked together and watched The Fast and the Furious, I started having a lot of negative thoughts.  Later in the evening, Elizabeth wanted to have sex and I was telling her things to do, like strip and dance, while I played with myself to get started.  I couldn’t get hard.  I kept having these negative thoughts, and they were messing up my mojo.  At one point I was lying on her bed on her back, and she was on her side facing me.  We were just talking, and she casually started sliding her hand up my belly.  She started playing with my chest hair and that’s what got me going. After that it was easy.

I had been visiting Chris every once in a while ever since I moved away from CT.  We usually drank and smoked up, which I enjoyed.  Then, we would play guitar, play video games, talk, laugh, and get goofy.  This became more and more enjoyable as time went on.  For one thing, over time I started enjoying the experience of getting high much more than I had in the past.  It was not causing me to become paranoid anymore, and I was getting giggly and silly when I smoked, as well as very creative.  Chris has a great sense of humor that clicks with mine, and we generally make each other laugh a lot, even when we are sober.  When we are stoned, we laugh like children.  Sometimes when I went to see him, we would meet up with some of his friends at a bar or at one person’s house.  I liked the fact that he was exposing me to new people and helping me find outlets to socialize.  He has been a good friend, even though he is not always around.  When he is around, he is one of my favorite people in the whole world.

In the fall of that year, 2009, Elizabeth took a trip to Europe to meet up with her grandmother and bring her back home.  She visited Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.  Elizabeth speaks Romanian and Italian as well as some Spanish, and of course she is fluent in English.  While she was away on this trip, I was staying at her house to watch her dogs and take care of them.  She told me to stay sober and be good.  I ended up drinking every day and reading the book “Dune”, which I was getting deep into.  It was recommended to me by Chris, and it was a very moving piece of literature.  On the last day that I was alone at her place, I had Brandon over.  He was visiting Boston to see a woman.

Elizabeth ended up finding out that Brandon had come to visit me at her house.  She was very angry.  She hates that guy, and she hated the fact that I was friends with him.  Actually, after she found out, my friendship with Brandon ended.  I called him at her bequest and told him I couldn’t be friends with him anymore.  This was difficult for me at the time as I value my friendships, even ones that are not necessarily that great.  She put pressure on me though, and I figured I should go with her idea, as she was the person primarily in my life then.

Deaths in the Family

That fall was rather hellish for me, though my feelings did not start getting messed with until winter had set in.  Many bad things seemed to be happening.  For one thing, and this was the worst of it, Aram’s dad suffered a massive stroke at the age of fifty nine and he died.  Just like that.  He was in perfect health; he didn’t smoke at all or drink excessively, and he was fit and not overly stressed out.  One day, his body decided that this was the end, and he had a stroke that caused his brain to bleed, turning him into a vegetable instantly.  His family had him on life support only long enough to say their goodbyes in their own way.  This was incredibly sad; I cried many times thinking of it.

I came to believe that I had somehow caused this to happen.  About a week before Aram’s father had a stroke, I had tripped on some San Pedro cactus, mixed with an MAOI to potentiate the effects.  At first the trip made me feel good, but soon I started crying over some sappy music on TV that my mom was watching downstairs, and I started feeling weird.  I lost control over my emotions entirely and became scared, I think.  I tried taking a shower to calm myself down, but I kept visualizing terrible things like my head getting chopped off, or my hands.  Finally, I took some anti-anxiety medication to mute the effects of the trip.  Then I felt better.

For a while after this trip, I was pretty messed up, going really manic and crazy.  I started hallucinating badly at one point.  In order to get rid of the hallucinations, I started thinking about death.  My logic was that I could scare away the voices by focusing all my energy on the concept of death.  I was actually intending death at the time, but in my mind, it was the death of the female voice that I was hearing, the voice of my ex.  Shortly after this, Aram’s dad died, and in my head I made a connection between that and the thoughts of death I was having previously.  Paranoid schizophrenia at its worst; I was living with guilt over accidentally killing my best friend’s dad.

I loved that man; he was a good man who was as close as an uncle to me.  I spent a great deal of time in his house, with his family growing up.  I cried a great deal after I heard he had died.  My memories of him are fond.  His kindness, gentleness, and sense of humor always touched my heart.  He had a goodish feel to him as well; he’s not the kind of guy you would think would ever cheat on his wife, drink too much, gamble, or involve himself in other vices.  He lived a clean life, and he deserved to live a long one.  The fact that I had been thinking about death just before the he died the way I was left me with an internalized scar, and I have become superstitious about this sort of thing since then.  From then on, if I started getting bad feelings in my guts that someone I know is at risk, I’d just send a powerful thought to my midsection, “LIVE!”, and focus all my energy on growth, youth, and longevity.

As though to add insult to injury, or maybe more injury to injury, when Aram came to Boston to visit his girlfriend’s parents and be comforted, I left him stranded one night when he wanted to see me.  I drove about an hour to visit him, but I had forgotten to unplug the Christmas lights before I left Elizabeth’s house.  I was staying with her again, just the two of us, as her mother was still in Pasadena and her grandmother had left to go back to Romania.  Elizabeth called me just as I was getting to Aram, asking me if I had remembered to unplug the Christmas lights on the tree.  She was worried her dog would chew on them and get electrocuted.  I made a major mistake at that point, lying to her and telling her I would go back to check.  I stayed with Aram for a while, talking about his feelings, when Elizabeth called me back.  She wanted to know where I was.  I told her I never went back to her house and that I was staying with Aram.  She flipped out, not over her dog, but because I lied to her.  I hung up on her with the intent of staying with Aram until our visit was done and then driving back.  However, I got very anxious about the situation with Elizabeth while I was there, and I ended up leaving him to drive back to her place.

I called her on my way back and yelled at her until she started crying.  I was very angry at her for being so bitchy and putting me in a position to abandon one of my best friends in their time of need.  What I did was wrong; it was my fault, not hers, but at the time I couldn’t see that.  What happened after that was this:  Aram defriended Elizabeth on Facebook, and she flipped out on me over it.  She was saying that it was all wrong for him to do that; even if he was upset with her, he should keep the peace because she was my girlfriend.  She had been telling me for a while that we weren’t together and she was not my girlfriend, at least since I fessed up originally about drinking, and all of a sudden we were together.  I thought she was being childish; in fact, everyone did except for her.  But I love her.  Her feelings matter to me, and I take them seriously, even if I don’t agree with them and I think she is going crazy.  After all, she humored me many times in my own insanity, so who was I not to humor her? 

She did have a point about Aram, though I wouldn’t have responded to the situation the way that she did.  He was putting the blame of the situation on the wrong person, herself rather than myself, who had committed to those actions that led to it.  I don’t blame him; the poor guy’s dad just died, before Aram even turned thirty.  I don’t blame Elizabeth for reacting the way she did, either.  After all, it wasn’t her fault that I left Aram that night; that was entirely my fault. I was responsible for the situation that arose, and she was taking the blame.  Both of them were pissed at me, and I was distraught, thinking that I had managed to lose two friends with one bad move.   This served me right, considering I was the root cause of their reactions. 

This situation almost cost me two valuable friendships.  It’s never been the same with Aram since.  We used to talk on the phone, sometimes every day, and we were very close.  For a long time after this, all we did was email each other, very occasionally and only a few times total.  He even told me he couldn’t be my friend anymore, and although he wished me well in all my endeavors, he could not be a part of my life.  Thankfully, Elizabeth eventually came around and I became close with her again.  If I had lost both of them, I would have been ruined as a person.

I had started having feelings in my guts just before Ara’s dad died.  It felt like my energy there was being pounded on, or clenching, or something like that.  It would happen when I lay flat on my stomach, especially to go to bed at night.  For awhile I thought I had irritable bowel syndrome, though deep down I knew better.  The feeling reminded me of death; I was convinced it meant that I was going to die soon.  The reason it reminded me of death was because in one of Castaneda’s books, Don Juan tells him that death enters through the will at a person’s navel.  This is exactly where I was getting these feelings, so in my head they became associated with the concept of death.

Elizabeth’s dog, Bella, had had cancer in her ass for about a year and a half.  The vet had given her six months to live at best when she was originally diagnosed, and she had defied all odds by staying alive and in good spirits for so long.  She was a tough little bitch, that Bella.  She was a beagle, and she was obsessed with meat.  If they cooked a chicken, she would wander around with her eyes bugging out of her head, trying to jump up on the counters to better smell the sumptuous meal being prepared.  One day, she wouldn’t eat, not even the steak that Elizabeth had cut up for her.  We took this as a sign that it was time to put her down.  This was very difficult for us, especially Elizabeth, who loves animals so much, her pets most of all.  We took the poor dog to the vet and had her put down, both of us crying as this happened.

Another death occurred in my life during these winter months.  This time, it was Elizabeth’s grandmother.  She was old, but Elizabeth’s family lived to an old age, and she did not have to die so soon.  She also suffered a stroke, and in this case she had a few more days of life left so that Elizabeth and her father could say goodbye.  We drove fourteen hours to Michigan, where her father lived.  Elizabeth’s father is an alcoholic, and so am I. Very bad combination of people, especially with a family member on their death bed.  I got drunk every day that we were there, with her dad or on my own.  This was a nightmare for poor Elizabeth, who deeply loved her grandmother and hated the fact that we were drinking. 

The trip went by slowly, each day getting harder than the last as her grandmother slipped away.  Finally, she died.  This was one of the saddest things I have ever seen in my life.  I was crying and I didn’t even know the woman.  Elizabeth and her father were distraught, her father more so.  He revolved his whole life around his mother; she was the only person in the world that would tolerate him, and he had always been a momma’s boy.

In retrospect, the grandmother’s death was in some ways an easy passing.  It did not have to come so soon in her life; she could have lived another ten or fifteen years before facing the inevitable.  However, since that was her time, she was in some ways lucky.  Elizabeth had enough time with her to see her, speak to her, and comfort her in her suffering.  Her grandmother was happy she was there, and grateful.  Her father was grateful as well, so Elizabeth managed to comfort two people with her compassion.  Her grandmother did not prolong the death with a long, drawn out process of letting go.  Within a few days she had died, so her family did not have to sit at her death bed and cry for too long.  All in all, it happened very quickly, which means the suffering was not stretched out over long.

Another Ghost

While we were there we talked about things past and present, drank, and smoked together.  Elizabeth’s father told me a story of a girl that he had liked when he was growing up.  She used to jump across balconies from one building to another, just as a thrill seeker.  One day, she missed and fell to her death.  He told me that he had had dreams about her, and he mused that perhaps they were messages from the other side.  I agreed with him, telling him the story about the ghost of the colonial woman that I had seen when I was in college. 

I told her father this story, and he seemed to believe me.  I think he thought I was crazy as well, though he humored me quite a bit.  He even speculated that dreams he had of the girl he knew were messages from the afterlife.  He was a man in a lot of pain, though he did not handle his pain very well.  He just drank it away.  I’m not much better with my own emotional problems; I tend to medicate them away with drugs as well.  But we had some things in common between us and talked and spent a great deal of time together.  We got along fine, drank together, and played ping pong together at his house.  He did not blow up and become abusive towards us while we were there.  On the contrary, he was amicable and kind, even giving us a carton of cigarettes for our ride back home.

Immediately after her grandmother died, I stopped having those feelings in my guts.  I guess fate had run its course and I was free of this terrible knowledge.  To this day, I live in fear of getting these feelings again, not knowing who will be the next to die.  I do my best to avoid feeling these things, struggling with my fear.  If feelings like this come upon me, which at times they do, I recognize them for what they are, and I Intend wellbeing and safety, peace and wellness towards such feelings, and avoid them sinking in.  I’ve found that this is very protective of my own feelings as a whole, at the very least, and I honestly believe it is a sort of prayer for the protection of people I care about.

Shoplifting

              There was a stretch of time, brief though it was, where Elizabeth and I got addicted to shoplifting.  Little things, stupid things, a bottle of Maple Syrup, or Himalayan Salt, or a candle, or cheese, or whatever.  No real reason, just another vice.  We kept doing this until one day, I walked into a supermarket, grabbed a paper bag as I walked by, went directly to the wine aisle, and tried to steal six bottles of wine by simply walking out with the full bag.  Someone had alerted a manager by then and they were waiting for me at the door.

              This turned into a nightmare of staying in a jail cell while I waited for my mom to bail me out.  Elizabeth was very upset with me for this, and this ended the stealing spree.  I’ve rarely if ever stolen anything since then from shoplifting, though I’ve committed bank fraud for charges I placed on my card for online gambling several times.  It’s not something to be proud of, it was stupid and reckless to do these things, and I’d like to believe they are safely tucked away in my lurid past and won’t be something I ever worry about again.  I think this is true, I’m much older now.

Selling Weed at Dunkin Donuts

That winter was hellish, but the spring after was joyful.  Sound familiar?  I was smoking pot every week for a few days at a time on a regular basis at that point.  The first time I purchased marijuana was just after Elizabeth and I stopped talking, due to the incident with Aram.  I called up one of her friends and asked them if they knew anyone that could get me weed.  They did, and I got a drug dealer’s phone number.  I bought an eighth of an ounce from the guy, and smoked every day for about a week.  This was incredibly therapeutic for me; it seemed to bring out my emotions about all the events of recent times without making them too difficult to deal with.  That way, I could feel my feelings without being overwhelmed by them.  Also, it got my mind off of things when I wasn’t thinking about the problems I had been having.  In general, it made me feel good, and from that point on, I was smoking pot pretty regularly.

From the middle of the winter of 2010 up until the present day, I have been an off and on avid pothead.  I enjoy smoking marijuana in a way that I never really appreciated when I was younger, largely due to the fact that I take high doses of drugs that prevent paranoia.  These drugs also hinder my creative drive.  Pot does a combination of many things, dependent on many factors, but generally speaking, it can make you paranoid and more creative.  While taking antipsychotics, I never really get paranoid, no matter how much I smoke.  Also, it heightens my creative drive so I find outlets for expression like playing the guitar or piano, writing, or drawing.  These are my favorite things about pot, being creative.  One other thing that it does to me, especially because I don't get paranoid anymore, is that it enhances my sense of humor.  I get, well, jollier and more jovial.  I love watching good stand-up comedy when I get really baked; I tend to laugh through most of the shows to the point of tears, at least if I click with the comics.

I have mixed feelings about smoking pot.  As much as I enjoy it, it becomes a very unhealthy habit if I have too much access to it, because I don't have any limits.  I smoke all day, at will, until I'm too tired to stay awake.  Which for me means about two grams of high potency stuff a day.  That's forty dollars a day, and for a guy that's unemployed and collecting disability, this amounts to a serious abuse of the system, not to mention my own psyche.  My problems with any drugs are always the same: I don't know my limits.  I feel like I can do whatever I want and forget everything else.  My main concerns in the recent past have been pot and alcohol, primarily alcohol more recently, and any hallucinogens I was still using.  All of these vices have, very recently, cleared up and out of my system.  This being mid-April of 2015.

Anyway, back to the spring of 2010.  In April, I got into a fender bender, backing my car into the company van at Elizabeth’s workplace.  This turned out to be a three thousand dollar repair job, which my parents paid for out of pocket.  Elizabeth was kind enough not to force me to go through insurance because she knew that would be much more expensive for me in the long run.  Her awful boss ended up using this as an excuse to fire her later on, but that’s another part of the story and there are still things in between to discuss. 

I got a job at Dunkin Donuts to pay them back, and this led to many experiences that I previously had not had.  I started smoking pot every day at that point, almost by accident.  It seemed that people kept getting me high or providing me with the drug somehow, and then it became a habit and I started smoking all the time of my own volition.  After smoking every day for about a month, I realized I was spending a lot of money on the drug.  It occurred to me that I could save a lot if I started selling it.  I asked around to all the people that worked at DD and found out that pretty much all of them would buy their weed off of me if I started selling.  This decided it for me.

I called up the same guy that I had bought the original eighth off of and asked him if he would sell me an ounce.  He said sure, and I drove over to his place to pick up.  Every time I drove over to his place to pick up, I would get incredibly paranoid on the way there, losing that feeling after I left with the product.  This makes no logical sense, because I couldn’t have gotten arrested on my way there, though I could have on the way back home.

I worked and I got high, and I didn’t hallucinate at all.  Marijuana was acting as an antipsychotic for me, for some reason.  I was asymptomatic for the whole stretch of time in which I was smoking every day, and even now, when I smoke I don’t hallucinate.  I even reduced my dose of antipsychotics during that time; still no hallucinations. 

I started having psychic experiences on a regular basis again at that time.  If a pretty girl was about to walk into the coffee shop, even if I was crouched down and focused on what I was doing, cleaning something or fixing something, in my mind I would hear “Hot chick!”  Then I would look up, and I would see the girl or woman that had just walked in.  One time, a pretty girl about eighteen years old who worked at Papa Gino’s in the same plaza came in and we got into a conversation.  There was a hurricane coming up the east coast, so I decided to talk about the weather.  I said to her, “Did you hear about the hurricane?”  As I said this, the word “tornado” popped into my head.

She responded by saying, “I heard it was a tornado.”  Oh.  I immediately realized that I had picked up on her thought, but I didn’t know how to tell her that, or even if I should.  I just continued the discussion until she was ready to go.  Another time, a good-looking blond girl, very friendly, came into the shop and I was waiting on her. She told me she needed an energy kick and ordered an espresso.  We were out of the regular espresso coffee and only had decaf.  Our manager told us not to tell the customers this and just give them decaf if they ordered espresso.  I liked this girl so I told her not to get the espresso because we only had decaf.  She was grateful, and I recommended the dark roast, which is stronger than regular coffee.  She ordered this with many thanks. 

A few months later, I was working one day when suddenly, the same girl’s face popped into my head.  I remembered her immediately; she had left an impression with her friendliness and good looks.  I thought to myself, “Maybe she will come in today.”  She did.  That was the only other time that she had come in while I was working.  I got so excited when I saw her, I actually told her I had thought of her that day and knew she was going to come in. She seemed flabbergasted at this but was nice enough to humor me.

One other psychic event was of a much darker variety.  I was at work one day, cleaning the shelves, when suddenly, I was overcome by a feeling of incredible evil.  It almost made me lose my mind, that’s how bad it was.  Later that week, two people died that were somehow connected to me. One, at least, I had met, and I may have met the other one as well.  The first guy was an alcoholic who owned a motorcycle, a friend of Matt’s, a fellow coworker at Dunkin Donuts.  He got drunk one evening, took his bike out for a ride, and crashed it, killing himself.

The other guy was an ex-marine who had gone to Iraq.  He was a good buddy of Chris, which is why I say I might have met him, as I have hung out with many of Chris’ friends over the years.  He must have been suffering a great deal, because one day he put a gun to his temple and blew his brains out.  It was a horrible thing to happen.  Chris was very upset and distraught by this, and sad as well.  I gave him my condolences and felt bad for my friend, as well as for the guy who killed himself.

Overall, my experiences at Dunkin Donuts were positive ones, though by the end of it I was starting to feel like a loser, as well as getting into trouble with management.  I had been manipulating the money so that my coworkers and I would get more tips, almost as soon as I started working there.  If someone had a ten dollar order, I would cancel out all their items, take their money, then wait until they left and put the money in the tip jar.  I was taking home about twenty five dollars a day in tips alone.  This was more money than I have ever made at any job that I previously had had, and the temptation to do this was huge, even with the risk of getting caught.  I eventually got caught manipulating the money, though in a different way. 

For a while, I was just charging people less for their orders than what I was supposed to charge, with the logic that things were overpriced and poor quality, and people deserved to save some money.  I think I just got a kick out of breaking rules.  My boss caught me doing this on camera one day (though I don’t know how she missed all the other theft) and I got written up for it.  I came up with an excuse to cover myself: we were doing a buy one get one free donut deal on a regular basis to generate sales and keep customers happy, and I said I was charging people less in the same spirit as the donut deal.  My boss informed me that it was stealing, and I was lucky that I didn’t get fired for it.

I finally quit that job because of pressures coming from Elizabeth as well as just getting sick of working there.  I think I was seeing the end approaching anyways, and I decided to end it myself instead of sticking around until I was forced to leave.  I had been written up twice at this point, and three write ups and you are done.  I think I picked my timing well.  There was a new female staff working there that I think wanted to sleep with me, and that would have been bad for my situation with Elizabeth.  There was also other female staff who were texting me randomly, and it was upsetting her as well.  One day, with all of these influences in me and altering how I felt about the job, I didn’t feel like going in to work.  I was hanging out with Elizabeth at the time, which increased my desire not to work that day.  Plus, she was complaining about me working in general.  So I called my boss and told them I quit.  No two weeks’ notice or anything, just a simple, “I’m not coming in anymore, have a nice life.”

Occupational Problems

Shortly after I started working at Dunkin Donuts, Elizabeth lost her job at the group home company she was working for.  She was a program director there, a managerial position.  She had had trouble with the regional manager in the past, who is corrupt and doesn’t really care about the people she is supposed to look out for.  This company is a non-profit organization that runs group homes in the suburbs of Boston for mentally retarded people.  There had been serious problems at some of the homes, such as bed bugs, no food available for clients, and abuse of the mentally retarded citizens who lived there.  All these issues had been swept under the rug and lied about by this regional manager.  Elizabeth was a stalwart opponent of her corrupt practices, and she fought for the rights of the clients as well as the rights of her coworkers and staff that were under her.

What happened was this:  one of the MR residents of the house where Elizabeth worked accused Elizabeth and another coworker of being sexual together in front of her, even forcing her to watch.  This is absolutely preposterous.  For one thing, Elizabeth is a diligent and responsible person who would never put herself in a position of danger like that, even if she was interested in her coworker.  For another thing, this MR resident was a well known liar who made up stories all the time about people.  In the past, nothing had come of it, but in this situation, her regional manager took advantage of the position that Elizabeth was in and decided to try to get rid of her.  She succeeded.  Not only that, she delayed Elizabeth’s unemployment by over a year, trying to not allow it at all, but being overruled by the law she did not succeed at this.

Elizabeth had called her manager out on situations she was trying to sweep under the carpet, such the bed bug infestation and the neglect and abuse of the mentally retarded residents at the group home.  Elizabeth told the parents of the residents what was really going on, while her boss was lying to them and hiding things behind their backs.  This made her boss look bad.  For this reason she had it in for Elizabeth, and she decided she was going to ruin her life.

There was a big investigation of this accusation, in which Elizabeth and her coworker were both found at fault and fired.  Her coworker received unemployment benefits immediately.  Although Elizabeth was fired for the same reason, her boss made it her job to make sure that Elizabeth did not get unemployment benefits.  She almost succeeded.  In the end, Elizabeth had to hire a lawyer to defend her case, after which she was awarded the benefits.  This took about a year to be compete, however, and in that time, money became a major issue for Elizabeth and her mother.

When she lost her job and didn’t get unemployment she was suddenly without money and her mother had to pick up the slack.  This ate into their savings in a big way, especially because her mother had been laid off from her job recently and was living off of unemployment herself, which was providing only about two thirds of her normal, working income.  She is a structural engineer, and as anyone else in this field can tell you, many people were getting laid off during these years, due to the bad economy. 

Times were hard and bleak for Elizabeth and her mother.  If it wasn’t for her grandmother, who had sold her apartment in Romania at an enormous profit, their family would not have made it.  That could have been the end of our relationship, if Elizabeth had been forced to move away so that her mother would have a job.  They were afraid of losing the house, above all.  Luckily, since then, Elizabeth’s mother has found work and is happily occupied again.

Elizabeth was severely depressed for a long time, almost six months.  At that point she found a job that she really liked and paid the bills, so she started feeling better again.

This situation took a toll on the two of us in our friendship and relationship as well, as Elizabeth felt I was partly to blame for the accident I caused with the van that was later used as an excuse and attack on her person, for allowing me to pay out of pocket and not going through the normal insurance channels.  Over time, as it may be seen, the stresses on our relationship built and built until, one day, it was basically over for good.  But this is a point further along in the story.

Fall and Winter 2011/2012

I was not seeing Elizabeth as often starting in the winter of 2010/11, because she was working so much.  I hadn’t been seeing her all that much up until the point when she lost her previous job, while she was working there too.  She tends to get into positions with a lot of work to do; perhaps that’s when she is truly happy.  But because I was not spending all day with her, I had more time to do things like drink and smoke up.  For a long time while she was working, she only worked weekends so we had all week to hang out.  Also, I was allowed to come to her workplace and hang out with her, so I was basically always with her.  I don’t know how we managed during this time; we seemed to love to be together for the most part. There were so many underlying issues, however, that the venture was doomed, I suppose at the moment I chose to start lying to her about important things and this became a habit.

In the winter of 2010/2011  I had been jamming and visiting Chris more, and I also started reducing the amount of meds I was taking.  At the end of a week of reducing my meds, I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to hang out with Elizabeth less, and see my other friends more.  I also decided to use drugs as much as I wanted without trying to control my use.  Bad idea. Within two more days, I had totaled my car.  Luckily, no one was hurt.  I’d been frantically texting her while coming onto an off-ramp of the highway, and while texting my car slid into the side barrier and spun, crashing and totally destroying the front end.  I could still drive home, but it was a total loss.

After that, Elizabeth stopped being intimate with me and she was very upset with me for a long time.  I felt really bad about the whole thing; I knew I had messed up.  Immediately after the accident, I went back on a full dose of meds. I did my best to patch things up with Elizabeth, and promised to go to rehab.  I didn’t say when, and I put it off as long as possible, but I continued to use drugs.  Early in the summer, I was getting pressure from my parents and Elizabeth to go to rehab, so I just quit using drugs entirely.  This lasted three weeks, nineteen days actually, and then I drank once.  A week later I drank again, and then pretty soon I was drinking all the time again.

Once again, Elizabeth wanted me to do something about my drinking, this time to take Antabuse.  I put this off for as long as possible as well.  I told her I would go to rehab, and I meant it this time, but she said there was no point because it wouldn’t work to get me to stop using.  In the middle of August that year, 2011, three things happened.  I started taking Antabuse, I started gambling online regularly, and I moved out of my parents’ house for the second time in my life.  This time, however, it was not to go to college.  Instead, my parents paid for an apartment and covered some of my expenses, while my disability money covered the rest.

At first, gambling online seemed like a fun time to have.  Soon enough, however, I was in the hole, and only stopped after I reached a major crisis.  During the first week of my gambling addiction, I went from having twenty five dollars in my account to having almost three hundred.  There were plenty of ups and downs, but I was generally winning.  At one point, I got down as low as thirteen bucks, though I managed to bounce back and get over 290 dollars in my account within a few days.  I was mostly playing cash games, though I won some tournaments as well.  I was doing pretty well for myself, and I was seeing the results in the amount of money in my account.  I never saw any results in real life; I did not cash out once in three months of playing, and I spent well over eight hundred dollars of my parents’ money.

I was caught in a self destructive cycle of addiction that led up to a major crisis on Thanksgiving.  I hit rock bottom.  I was gambling again, this time winning some instead of just losing it all at once.  I had won in a tournament four days in a row, and I was doing pretty well in cash games.  On Thanksgiving night, just after dinner, I got very sleepy and down.  Elizabeth was there with John, one of her clients from work, and they were in my living room, talking.  I was in my bedroom trying to sleep, and I started hallucinating what they were saying.  I was paranoid; I started thinking they were talking about me in a nasty way.  Then I actually started “hearing” things they were saying, and I got upset.  When I say “hearing” I mean a special kind of hearing that is basically turning one sound into another.  It’s one symptom of my psychosis; I hear people talking and I think they are talking about me.  It happens all the time, but I generally ignore it.

That time, however, it got to me, and in a very bad way.  I came out of my room and told them to leave.  At first they didn’t go, and Elizabeth seemed to be almost laughing at me.  This enraged me further, and I yelled at them and finally kicked them out.  Then I took thirteen mg of Clonapin and went to bed.  I basically slept for three days straight.  The first day I was up for a while, and I gambled and lost everything I had.  That night I woke up from a stupor, drove to my parents’ house, and used their credit cards to buy into the poker game.  I spent two hundred dollars on my dad’s and a hundred on my mom’s.

Of course, I lost all of this in a short period of time, and by then my parents had received calls from the credit card companies, indicating what had happened.  They were very angry.  I don’t blame them; I would never do anything like that in a normal state of mind.  I was heavily drugged as well as emotionally unstable at the time, and I felt really bad about it afterwards when I was in my right mind.  I felt bad about kicking Elizabeth and John out of my apartment as well, and I didn’t see her for some time after this. 

During the period of time right after I kicked out Elizabeth and John from my apartment I was very depressed.  I actually knocked at a neighbor’s door and asked them if they would get me high.  Of course, it always smelled like weed in front of their door, so I knew they were heavy smokers.  This initiated a friendly acquaintance to develop.  My neighbor smoked me up a few times, and once or twice I returned the favor.  We hung out for a few hours one day.  It’s nice to make friends, even if the friendship is based on using a drug.

I was miserable the first few days, and even after that I felt pretty bad.  I still haven’t spoken to her mother since then; I called their house in the middle of the night when I was on the pills and was very rude to her over the phone.  I apparently also drove over there and banged on the door, and got into an argument with her outside of the house when I was basically blacked out.  She believes in respect and strict discipline, as well as being against drug use, and she already had concerns about me being crazy or mentally unstable.  So I don’t usually go over to Elizabeth’s house anymore, only when her mom is not home, very rarely.  This suits me anyway because I like hanging out with her alone at my place much more, but it’s still a very bad sign of my unacceptable behavior.

Shortly after this event occurred, I started drinking and smoking pot again. I went off the Antabuse around the time I stopped gambling, as though to exchange one addiction for another.  Maybe that’s the real problem: I’m addicted to having addictions in the first place.  I’ve always fallen into addictive behavior, overdoing things that I liked.  It’s one of the most basic elements of my experiences in life.  I had been sober for three months, and I got back into drinking and smoking up as though I had never even quit. 

In the aftermath of the fallout of that night with the Clonapin, Elizabeth started hanging out with me again at the apartment. I also got my first own pet, a big cat that I named Tyrian, after the dwarf in “Game of Thrones”.  He was beautiful and also declawed, and he loved to eat more than most.  He would nag and nag and nag until I fed him, so I got into the habit of just feeding him whenever he wanted it.  He was definitely overweight but still a very good looking cat; he carried his weight well.  At first he was having problems with his breathing at times, which we realized afterwards was due to a cleaning solution from a Swiffer that cats are allergic to.

Elizabeth was being intimate with me again for a few months in the late winter and early Spring of 2012, though at one point that abruptly stopped.  She said she just got sick of it and she was done, though we still hung out regularly after this.  That was the end of continuous intimacy between us in our life, though we’ve been together like that several times since at random intervals. 

In April of 2012, my parents’ rental property in Westboro had an opening on the bottom floor of the house.  For whatever reason, I felt that this was a good idea to move into at that point, so I did.  This increased the costs of keeping me apart from them significantly, though now they were paying their own mortgage back, so there was some plusses to this situation for them financially as well. 

Elizabeth was coming over once in a while then, and I found it a comfort, as I was having pretty severe emotional problems that got worse after the new move.  I woke up the first night there in a state of mind that seemed like a cliché of paranoid schizophrenia, as if I’d been hooked up to another one like me that was thinking in my head.  This enraged me for some reason, and that state of rage led to a depression that stuck with me for some time after.

Elizabeth brought over a kid that she was working with to the house, and we were drinking, smoking, and taking Ritalin for three or four days in a row with him.  Mostly me and him, and she would come and go based on her work needs.  He was very troubled, and believed that someone wished him dead, or at least he was telling stories regarding this situation, which he probably just made up for attention.  I was taking him seriously though, and was telling him about my relationship in the past with Elizabeth, which she had asked me not to talk about.  He told her this after I told her about what he was telling me, and she cut me off for some time afterwards.  At the end of those four days I had yet to sleep after 84 hours, and I finally just took my medication and slept. 

Julia

A new major development began around this time, just before the incident with the kid and the aftermath, which was Julia.  She was a person I’d worked with and hung out with several times when I was at Dunkin Donuts.  Now I had her number and was calling to hang out sometimes and smoke weed, and she would always oblige me.  When Elizabeth was entirely out of the picture for that amount of time, I basically reached out to Julia for comfort and company, and she took me for those reasons as well.

We would watch episodes of “Lost”, not starting from the beginning, so I was “lost” in the viewing already.  We smoked pot, and we talked about life.  She told me about her problems with Percocet and how she had gone through hell over it when she quit, had lost everything she had, and was now suffering the aftereffects and depression of going off of those pills.  I did my best to be a shoulder to cry on, and we kept hanging out on an almost daily basis.

After a month, I remember having a moment when she turned me on, and I fantasized about her that night in bed.  The next day, she asked me about it in a way; she’d known how I felt and she brought it up.  Shortly after that we had sex for the first time, and I had two dreams about her that morning when I drove home that were deeply disturbing. 

In the first, I was paralyzed, prone to the floor, and she was manipulating me somehow in the dream, and things were very dark and creepy.  I remember feeling helpless and hopeless, like I was an invalid, and that I was afraid of her.  The second dream was even more prophetic.  In it, I saw myself above her floating in a shining light, while she magnetically pulled me down into her own darkness.  Both of these dreams were on point in a way, very intuitive, and I was shaken when I woke up, but unwilling to just dismiss my other feelings for her.  I went back to see her and see what it would be like, and things were peaceful and normal between us.

Several things happened that made the next situation in my life real.  One was that Julia’s mother and stepfather were losing their house, and she did not want to move.  Also, we decided before she found out about this to be steady boyfriend and girlfriend together, and so we entered this new venture of our relationship.  When Julia heard that her folks were moving, and all the way to Tennessee, she was distraught and very upset.  I consoled her, already coming up with an idea in my mind that could alleviate the situation.  In the end, I asked her to move in with me, first picking her up from her mom’s house and driving her to mine where she felt much safer and more comfortable. She always said this about me for a long time, and I took it for a very good sign.  I talked to her about moving in, and with little effort convinced her it would be ok, so that’s what we did.

This relationship was a kind of touch-and-go affair between the two of us.  She was an incredibly sensitive person coming out of a personal nightmare in her life, very vulnerable and easy to upset if I wasn’t careful.  She was also very low functioning and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, though she elicited many symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.  She would suffer from depression, paranoia, hallucinations at times, substance abuse, and also just a kind of low functioning that made me the primary responsible party in the relationship.  We would stay up partying until I went to bed, and often she would stay awake after me and keep drinking and/or smoking pot.  Then I would sleep my six to eight hours and wake up around five or six am, while she would sleep in until much later. 

Every morning with diligence I would clean up our mess from the night before she that she could get used to waking up to a clean house.  I also would gently wake her after she’d slept for eleven hours or so and tell her I had her coffee ready whenever she wanted it.  This relationship was really doomed from the beginning; neither of us would be capable of maintaining this lifestyle indefinitely and I was not all that well off myself at the time. We both took great comfort in each other, however, and though we did not have sex very often, many times it was very intense and satisfying. 

She was younger than me, myself turning thirty that year and she turning twenty three.  I felt like in some ways she was not mature enough for me, and I was used to being with a woman a bit older than me before, and much more mature as a person.  This was kind of a turn off, but I did care about her and tried my best to keep her feeling good and as happy as she could be.

We watched hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which we both loved, and played her Mario game on the video console that she brought from her mom’s house.  She also set up a fish tank in the apartment that she took care entirely on her own, which was impressive, and it was beautiful as well.  She had a pet conure named Rosie that she took care of also, and we had to watch for the cat to make sure he didn’t mess with her.  I got a second cat at some point during this time, and the second cat we named Gigi.  She was kind of a scaredy-cat, and would not come out of her closet in our bedroom, as the bigger cat Tyrian would often attack her when she tried. 

This state of living continued for several months before anything incredibly bad happened between us.  Like I said, we were both drinking heavily, she was very dependent on me, and I was in pretty bad shape myself at the time, so this couldn’t go on like this forever.  A few times we had her mother and step father over for dinner, and I would cook with her helping, and I tried to teach her how to cook a few things that I was good at myself.  She also attempted to work, though in the end this whole lifestyle came to a crashing halt due to so many underlying problems.  Money was one of them; my parents were putting enormous stress on me to spend less, and she had little money of her own.  I was trying to keep it cheap, but we ended up arguing about money one night that led to a horrible incident where I actually punched her once in the chest.

We were arguing about money spending, and I made a very nasty comment to her at one point, me already drunk as usual. I called her “a greedy bitch”, and that triggered the next events.  I was standing across a coffee table and she was on the couch on the other side, and she flipped over the table, spilling its contents.  I flipped it back over, now acting entirely out of emotion and with no real control, and she stood up and raised a fist.  I lashed out on instinct, just angry basically, and popped her once on the chest, just above her heart.  She fell back onto the couch and then something in me snapped and I started running around the apartment bellowing and flipping out.  Soon I calmed down enough to sit on the opposite couch from her while she sat in shock. I started weeping and apologizing, and I’d never done anything like this with a woman before in my life, and I said so at the time.  I felt awful and so did she, and somehow I think we ended up sleeping in the same bed again that night. 

The following morning I had a vivid hallucination of her father standing over me and being contemptuous of me, almost laughing at me in my depression then.  I became enraged of course, and this time I did something very rational.  When she woke up, I told her we should separate from being intimate anymore, as I didn’t want this sort of thing to mess either of us up like that again, and told her she should stay with me as long as she wanted or needed in the home we’d kept, until she figured out what to do.  I think this was a good decision, and other that one morning when I asked her to come to bed with me the night before, we stayed apart from intimacy entirely from that moment on.  That one time after was a mistake and she felt used by me, which made sense.  I had asked her to come to bed with me out of a need for comfort at the time, and it was inappropriate and just wrong to do.

I remember during the “good times” of this short relationship we’d go together to get alcohol and tobacco and other amenities that we needed from a local gas station often.  I’d get gas cards, and when we had no money we’d use them to purchase wine in large quantities.  She was having a harder time of things in our relationship than I was, and I was better off in my life overall than she, and also I’d gone through the worst parts of my own mental illness already and they were far distant, while she was still growing into the woman she would become as she got accustomed to dealing with her own issues.

I remember going back and forth to her parents’ place to get her stuff.  Her bedroom ceiling had collapsed inwards and there was a pool of water on the carpet underneath, due to a broken fish tank on the floor above.  She was fighting with her past boyfriend, Matt at the time, and was often very angry with him. He was also randomly selling us ounces of pot at exorbitant prices.  Our times smoking up were by far much better than when we were just drinking, and I didn’t mix the two myself at all.  I even made an attempt to quit tobacco by only smoking weed, which may have worked had we not run out so soon.

Near the beginning of the relationship, I had a horrible encounter with a pill dealer who ripped me off for money and gave me an awful drug called subutex.  I didn’t know what it was really, that it was connected to opiates somehow but he’d told me it was not really an opiate at all.  It was cheap, and I thought he was ok to hang out with at the time so I bought it and took it.  The results were disastrous.  I didn’t sleep even with my meds in me for three days, and then on the third day I drove to his place to bring him to mine again so that I could confront him about stealing my money.  I know that he had, and he denied it with the cool assurance of a sociopathic dopehead, who steals like its second nature from his own friends and family.  I was disgusted with him, and drove him home to never see him again or take any calls from him, and I almost didn’t make it back to my place after as I got lost and I hadn’t slept for several days at that point.  I finally did, and I was relieved to be somewhere safe again.  I’d felt used and abused by this guy, physically and emotionally hurt, and I needed my safety.

Near the beginning of the summer of 2012, my family took us to CA, to Glendale, then Ventura, and then after to a mountain resort called Convict Lake.  There, my cousin Vicken was finally getting married and the family was all gathered to party for several days until the wedding and then party some more.  I drank my way through this event, and many things happened that I enjoyed.  I partied with Vatche a lot, and Victor, Natasha’s husband, the sister of the groom.  Victor, my brother Sevag, and I were all walking around one night when my brother became extremely angry at me for comments I was making earlier in the evening just to get the group to laugh. I’d been saying that all I do nowadays is drink and have sex with my girlfriend on my parents tab, like it was a joke.  My bro was very offended by this statement, and his anger came out when it was just the three of us out by Convict Lake, surrounded by the California mountains.

Victor played an intermediary in this conversation, and as it turned out it was a good thing that it happened, because both myself and my bro broke down and cried and hugged, and he told me he’d always worried about me and always cared.  I didn’t know this at the time, as we’d fought our way through childhood into teenage years when I got really messed up and he would take things out on me verbally then, as I’d done to him before when we were younger.  I felt that I hadn’t really ever had a good relationship with my own brother, and I think deep down I didn’t believe the guy loved me at all.  That changed for me that night, and I’ve felt much warmer towards him as a person and a brother since then, and I feel like it was a major breakthrough for us.  It’s a good thing Victor had a degree in Psychology on top of being a dentist, so he played a good intermediary at that time.

Post Break-Up with Julia

Many things happened in 2012 that I had previously predicted, starting back during the times immediately post Ayahuasca.  I had called what would happen in 2012 “an Ascension”, by which I meant that many souls would be lifted up in celebration with impact coming from “the other side”.  This was what happened to me in the late summer and fall of 2012.  I had increased attention, magical potency, awareness, and a mania that was driving me to talk to everyone all the time.  For a long time after the break up I felt great and I had sobered up with Julia around that time as well.  She had to go to a hospital for alcohol poisoning and she decided to quit drinking right then.  I quit with her; I wasn’t going to be drinking in front of her while she struggled with her own addiction.  So she just smoked weed usually, and I smoked sometimes as well.

I remember projecting myself while driving in a joyful and out of control sort of way.  I’d see many people smiling in their cars and laughing at times, and they seemed to mirror my own self in how I felt.  I had increased emotions and I started having powerful experiences with hearing voices that were unique in the sense that the voices were not hurtful but rather positive, and often I’d see a hierarchy of voices in an astral realm reaching for the sky.  I also starting hearing specific female voices, and one in particular that seemed to come around regularly, and I continued hearing female voices in positive and supportive ways for some time after that.  Another aspect of hearing voices was with watching television.  At first, it was only Alice in Wonderland on one night that elicited that level of manic voice hearing and interplay between my subconscious and conscious minds via the TV program as a medium.  I loved Mia Wasikowska’s voice, and I had many long conversations with her in hallucination form with my own voice and hers interacting, again via the movie itself.

There were times I felt so good that even in public around other people I would simply laugh out loud, easily and with no pretense or self-consciousness at my actions.  People then would often smile at me when I did this in a knowing way, probably feeling my energy as it exuded from my being.  I was also listening to a lot of upbeat music every day.  It seemed like all of the 2012 dance songs were hitting strong nerves with me and making me more jubilant and joyful in my drives and at home.  I was watching music videos for the first time since my MTV days in my youth, and appreciating artists that I was before unfamiliar with.  Music was definitely heightened at that point, and I could hear/see voices come through the songs at times, for brief moments, certainly not as intensively as I was experiencing with television.

The Cat Fight and Bar Scene

One night there was a huge fight between the two cats that lived with me.  Julia was away with another friend for the night, and I found out afterwards that she had almost taken more Percocet that night, as she had run into some.  I can’t remember, maybe she did take some.  In any case, my bigger cat went crazy that evening, and he banged down the bedroom door with his head to go after the little cat in the closet.  They fought all over the house, her running away from him and him chasing her and beating her with his paws.  It’s a good thing in this situation that he was declawed, so that he could not cause serious harm other than scaring her. 

I chased after them until they were both in a closet on the other side of the flat.  I was frantic and was kicking into the closet at Tyrian, the big cat, until the little one ran off again to hide in the bedroom once more.  I stopped the fight right then and prevented Tyrian from getting into the bedroom.  Then I did something that I’d never done before with him, which was to punish him. 

I put him in the far room away from the bedroom and locked the door.  He started scratching at the door at first, wanting to get out.  He knew he was being punished, and he was very upset at that time.  He started mewling in the most pathetic way, and I was emotionally shaken by these events already, and as I listened to his sad, mournful cries, I felt this overwhelming sadness fill my heart and I began weeping.  He could hear me weeping at the time and he changed his meows as I wept, seeming in tune with my emotions, so that there was an interplay of the two of us crying like that.  It was the most intense emotional experience I’d ever had with an animal in my life, and afterwards I felt amazed at how powerful the feelings I’d had then were.

I decided to go out, first to a local bar to eat in Westborough, and then to Worcester with a vague idea as to where to go.  I wanted to find a specific bar but I had no idea where it was in Worcester.  I’d only been there once before, but the scene was cool and friendly and I remember hitting on the bartended a bit.  I’d had fun at the time and it was the only bar I’d been to in Worcester anyway.  I still had no idea where it was, what street it was on, or any way to find it as I didn’t know the name of the place.

I looked up a list of Worcester bars that were posted with street addresses next to each name.  I counted the streets that were the most populated with bars, then picked one of those streets and drove over to it to park.  I found it easily enough which is a trick in Worcester, as I’ve often got lost while driving around that town with all of its twisting streets, one ways, and hills and valleys.

I found the street and parked down at one end so I could walk past all the bars and see if any stood out to me.  I walked the whole stretch of the road and stopped on the corner of an intersection where the streets changed names.  I saw then, right on that corner, a familiar scene outside of the last bar on that street, which just happened to be the same bar that I’d gone to previously, so long ago, that I had no clue how to find.  I felt incredibly lucky and even gifted at this occurrence, and I walked in to see what there was to see.

In my then heightened and emotionally charged state, and of course feeling lucky and upbeat, I noticed that I got lots of looks from the girls in the bar.  The place was packed, and each man there had a chick with him it seemed.  All the girls kept turning their heads to me that night, and I didn’t know what to think of it as this had never happened to me before.  I was exuding a ton of energy, and I was in a high state, so I was drawing their attention easily without even doing anything.  It occurred to me I could hit on someone, but I wasn’t going to as Julia was staying at my place still and I would not bring someone home with me with her there.

At a table near one far corner were sitting several people, and a guy with an empty seat next to him who was eating peanuts.  I decided to sit next to him and engage him in conversation.  He seemed like a likely enough candidate, laid back and relaxing without anyone there talking to him then.  So I walked over, sat down, and said hello.  We bantered a bit and he kept tossing me shelled peanuts which I ate.  He turned out to be a musician himself, so we talked about music and other things and had a decent conversation.  At one point, a loud and drunk chick walked over and started almost yelling at him in front of me.  She was clearly ornery and I was a little intimated by her presence, but I didn’t say anything as I didn’t know any of these people to begin with.  Shortly after she left, I walked back over to my bar seat and had more water, which was the only thing I was drinking as I had then given drinking alcohol up. 

After some time passed, I looked back to the corner where I’d been sitting, and I saw something I will never forget.  The same ornery chick was standing behind the table and holding a little dog in her arms, cradling and caressing it lovingly.  When I looked at her, she was already staring straight into my eyes.  I believe she hypnotized me then.  We locked eyes and held our gazes for several minutes straight.  Towards the end of this, I started feeling a powerful feeling in my body of pure pleasure and love, and it was definitely tinged with the dark side.  I kept my eyes on hers and she didn’t break gaze, and this feeling peaked.  Then I looked away.  I did not see her again until later, after I had walked back to the table and sat with the group there.  I was talking to the musician’s girlfriend then, and we told stories about our relative lives and got along nicely.  I asked about her friend, and she told me she was crazy and a stripper.  Oh…that made sense based on how I’d felt, with the pleasure mixed with a dark impression at the same time.  Shortly after this the musician came back and joined our conversation, and the stripper chick walked over, now much calmer in presence and we exchanged words.  I told her, not once but several times, that she was scary, just like that.  She dismissed me quickly after we talked and left the building. 

At the end of the night I walked out with the group I’d been sitting with and exchanged numbers with the musician in case we wanted to jam.  Then I drove off for home.  I got lost on the way back and it so happened that I drove right past the same strip club that I’d gone to in the past.  I decided on impulse to stop in, and I had a strange experience with one girl.

She was young, probably in her late teens or early twenties, and small in frame, and also cute.  I got one lap dance from her at the time, and her facial expression for some reason made me feel sad for her, as though she was expressing in silence that she was suffering in this life she had, and was unhappy with her world.  It seemed very…real, especially for a strip club, and I remember feeling no real sexual satisfaction, but rather a deep felt pity and compassion for this girl.  I left feeling that way and drove home finally to go to sleep.

A Night at South Station

After this point, things in my mania continued to escalate until they reached a peak one night, a night when I went to South Station just to hang out and meet people.  I felt a powerful urge to go to Boston that day, and drove my car to the train station in Framingham from Westborough.  I then walked over to the rails to wait.  Remembering something I left in my car, I ran back to grab it.  It may have been a dose of Adderall.  When I ran back I could not find my car, and I didn’t go too far down the line as I didn’t want to miss the train.  I was convinced at the time that my car had disappeared magically, as I was hypo-manic and delusional at the time.  I ended up just getting on the train anyway, and I talked to people wherever I went.

Some people were a bit freaked out by me and others were totally open and forthcoming with themselves in our conversations.  Everybody seemed very real at the very least, and people seemed to be connecting to me in real ways that night.  I met a black guy on the train who talked philosophy with me and he was questioning my own philosophies, which I remember thinking about at the time.

At the station, again I was catching a lot of looks, and I was projecting myself at people in a manic sort of way.  I ran into another black guy outside the station who bummed a smoke off of me.  We talked for a while about alcoholism in the family, our own life experiences with it, and other things that I can’t completely remember.  I kept smoking cigarettes randomly with people standing around in front of the train station, and I got into many conversations with different people.

At one point when I was outside, a well-dressed woman, possibly a secretary or a professional woman, approached me and asked if I had any money.  She started by explaining that she was short on cash for the train and that she just hadn’t planned ahead.  She looked concerned and a bit embarrassed.  I remember saying something like “you look clean,” and I took out the three dollars I had left in my wallet and simply handed it to her.  She was touched by this and gave me a kiss on the cheek, which caught me by surprise.  I felt touched myself, in more ways than one, already I was “touched” as in I was in a mad state, and also I felt moved by her sudden gesture towards me.  I didn’t say anything after, didn’t try to hit on her or anything, and it felt like a very goodish experience at the time.

I took the round trip back to Framingham and then prepared to look for my car.  In the train on the way back I was deep in thought while the people in the train slept around me.  I thought that the trip to Boston had been successful, that I’d taken something from it that was valuable, and that I’d gotten what I was looking for, which was human contact. 

When I got off the train, I walked to the end of the parking lot further down the line, and saw my car.  I was overjoyed, and felt that I’d been blessed with its return.  When I got home, something truly crazy happened that blew my head wide open.  I smoked some weed at home, and went into a supercharged hypermanic state where I lost total control of my mind and body in a state of revelatory exultation.  I felt like God had touched my life that night, and with the