Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm back, thanks to....


That's right, I started taking an anti-depressant.  I took a break from cutting myself and writing in a sad handwritten book, called my journal, to be proactive about being happy.  This isn't my first roller coaster when it comes to consuming happy pills, but it has been a while.  A few years ago I decided that I'd curve my depression by running and eating healthily, and while I do agree with those tactics to combat my darkness, I needed a little boost.  It has been about a week and things seem to be looking up. 

Just yesterday I got told I looked like Ryan Gosling by the Chilli's hostess.  You may be thinking "Well Garrett, that is a wonderful compliment."  It is a great compliment, but I thought she was talking about Jon Gosling.  You know, from Jon & Kate Plus 8?  The thing is, I smiled and thanked her for her observation. I very quickly accepted my resemblance to the strange looking puffy man, while not thinking of ways to off myself; I considered it a victory.  It wasn't until I got into my vehicle that I realized who she was actually referring to. Winning.

I was later knocked back down to Jon Gosling range when a random woman in the courthouse wouldn't stop giving me dirty glances.  After a snippy verbal exchange I concluded that she was jealous of my looks.  Sometimes it's hard to be so good looking.  Imagine being good looking and funny. It's almost a handicap for normal human interactions; that's why I'm so weird.  Okay, Okay.  Obviously the Zoloft is doing its job.  It will eventually work so well that I will be a nice constant shade of grey.  One could only be so lucky.

I do think I'm attractive in a "good thing your skinny & somewhat funny" kind of way.  I would say I'm of "normal" attractiveness, which I get from my father.  To me, no offense dad, I always just thought of my dad as normal looking.  But apparently there are some old women out there that wouldn't mind climbing him like a tree, sorry mom.  So, thanks for the genetics, dad.  Since we are on the topic to genetics, I also got my depression, or "chemical imbalance" from my dad.  So, yeah, thanks for that too.  I'd also like to make a random note regarding moisturizing.  To the 3 people that read this blog, if any of you are male, hear this: moisturize your face and behind your ears.  Nothing creeps me out more than looking at a middle-aged man, with a middle-aged face, rock massive wrinkles behind their ears.  It takes maybe two more seconds to cover that area with lotion.  When you're in your forties getting your first divorce and having to compete with other middle-aged men, if you listen to this simple advice you will likely lay the chick first.  Trust me, even a really fucked up one with daddy issues.  Wrinkles are gross.  Avoid them at all costs.  

As witnessed above Zoloft does weird things to me, but hey, at least I'm not tightening that noose.  I actually may be able to write in my blog instead of my journal now.  Honestly, journals freak me out.  I'm constantly reminding myself who the audience is.  It's me, by the way.  I'm the audience.  But I can't help but envision my nephew's great-granddaughter coming across her long lost gay relative and publishing a depressing novel based on my journals.  I want her to get a good idea of what my struggles are like.  So, in the event of my untimely death please don't think I lived a super, super, tortured life.  It's theatrics for the very distant future when I become infamous in death.  That's merely all I'm striving for, infamy in death.


Sunday, July 15, 2012


Hello everyone!! I will no longer be posting on this site.  Please follow me at:

Thanks for your continued support!


Favorite childhood father memory.

As a young child,  as early as 7 years old, I yearned for my childhood to portray the quintessential stereotype of a 1950's style household:  My father being my family's sole source of income, home cooked meals, fresh baked cookies, throwing the football in plaid shirts, and church every Sunday.  Although, my life was unequivocally opposed to this idea, I continued to cling tightly, believing that if it were representative of  this fantasy, my problems would be solved.  But alas, this fantasy was just that, a fantasy. 

At that age, most of my problems were self-induced.  (Actually, most of my problems are still, currently, self-induced, but I'll disregard my current parallels at the moment.)  I worried about silly things, such as, fretting about my next hair cut appointment, worrying if I'll pass my next spelling test,  or stressing if my younger brother's birthday is next in line.  All those problems, with the exception of cutting my hair, I view as fairly typical behavior.  No child wants their siblings to get gifts, and a lot of people are horrible spellers.  However, what I worried about the most was money. 

For no accurate reason I was petrified that my family would become "poor", and I'm using the definition of "poor" very loosely.  I was an observant child, so this is where it probably stemmed from.  When my parents would argue, which I believed to be a healthy (normal) amount, I would close myself in my room and listen to every word.  Even to this day, I physically hurt when I hear my parents disagreeing.  After, personally, experiencing divorce, I don't think I would have made it out alive if my parents decided to separate.  I'm too emotional.  Like every other couple in this world, their arguments typically started with financial issues.  But again, the word "poor" is the inappropriate usage of what we experienced.  We experienced a nice case of: your family of five, needs to cook at home,more, instead of dining out.  A lot of people fall into this category. 

Here I go again explaining too much of my childhood before I get to the original point of my post: my favorite "dad time".  Don't blame me.  When one addresses their childhood, it's like biting into an apple.  After the first bite, you have to continue at a rapid pace, before it gets stale.  At least that's how it is for me.  I want you to know the way I was, which directly created the experiences that were most influential for me. 

Apples aside, I was a worrisome, quite and creative kid, with a very active imagination.  I wanted to throw footballs and grow up in a 1950's household.  Instead, I was dyslexic, overweight and painfully shy.  I did, however, settle for religiously watching I love Lucy, to fed my 50's additionsI don't remember throwing the football with my dad.  Actually, I don't have a lot of memories with my father.  I knew he loved me very much, but I always felt an unspoken disconnect.  I did spend a lot of time deer hunting with him, which I tried to enjoy, but it always felt foreign to me. Fixing and building things didn't come naturally to me, which is basically the definition of my father.  However, to my two brothers, it did.  I was an outsider, at least in my own mind.

One thing that did set me apart, was this wonderful little condition called epilepsy.  I couldn't feel envious that my brothers could seize better than I could, although I'm sure they tried, so I considered it an overall win.  With said epilepsy, I was required to get blood drawn every month or so, which required me to wake up before school and go to local hospital.  I remember getting enthralled with excitement at the opportunity to have alone time with my father, even if it meant getting poked with a needle.  The largest perk was our outing after we left the hospital: McDonald's.  Did I mention I was husky? I was.  But it wasn't about the breakfast meal I would devour, it was about my father.  I don't remember talking much, but I remember feeling so connected with him.  I didn't feel like I had to be more masculine or good at hunting, I was just myself.  One hundred percent, me. 

Reflecting back over my childhood, I can list countless accounts of how great my father was, and continues to be.  But my absolute favorite memories are when we sat in McDonald's.  Me, a chubby adolescent, with a band-aid holding a cotton ball over my recent puncture wound, and my strong, silent father, probably wearing black jeans and cowboy boots, which he just recently exchanged for a pair of slacks and dress shoes.  

As mentioned, I could write novels on his unnoticed, heroic, acts, but that is the one that I love most. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

For Starters... Why I want to write.

Writing, for me, is like running a half-marathon - which I've completed two of them.  Quite frankly, they suck.  I train for months, with the ever so precious reward of "getting to" run 13.1 miles.  But here's the weird thing: I live for them.

My mother always advised me to "find something I love to do, and learn how to make a living out of it."  As a child, I never fully absorbed the great wisdom that she relentlessly bestowed upon my brothers and I, but now I do.  Now, I wish I would have gotten my head out of my ass, or more accurately, hers, and listened.  But things are funny that way, sometimes you have to spend time in the dark before you can emerge in the sunlight.  If I wasn't timid and shy as a child, then I probably wouldn't have been drawn to writing in the first place.  I knew I had plenty of stories to tell, I just didn't know how to express them.  And that right there audience is the precise reason I want to write: to tell my story, and possibly fictional ones, but to being with, mine.

I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that my life is more interesting or "readable", than any other person taking up oxygen.  But I am narcissistic enough to think that people could learn something from what I've experienced.  Isn't that what life's about: teaching others?  After all, Flannery O'Connor said, "that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life." If, by any way possible, I am able to bestow positivity by showcasing the fucked up series of events, that I call life, I am going to. Plain and simple. 

So, from absorbing my mother's wisdom, to hopefully, pure determination, I plan on freaking writing. Like a half-marathon, I will put in tons of work, and hopefully all the pain will be worth it... What's the worst thing that could happen?  I learn about myself better... That bet is a favorable one...

Friday, July 13, 2012

bird by bird.

I want to be a writer, plain and simple. So, what's holding me back, you say?  Myself.  If anyone reading this has any daunting tasks that they have been perpetually procrastinating, start writing a book-- I swear you will complete those pesky little chores.

The first, notable, time I recognized my "hesitation" towards the writing process was in 2010.  Yes, I've known I wanted to write years prior to that, however, it wasn't until 2010 that I realized I could.  The first obstacle: the perfect writing desk.  Admittedly, I'm quite picky when it comes to furniture I surround myself with; the pieces have to speak to me, have a feeling.  Shocking, the social worker in training, makes everything about feelings.  I even associate letters with feelings.  I always  confuse the words "sweet" and "sweat", because the double "ee", to me, indicates a salty feeling.  So naturally, I believe the word "sweet" and "sweat" should reverse in meaning.  Get my point, I'm fucking difficult.  So purchasing the desk was the death of me.

When I finally purchased the perfect desk, I wanted the perfect location.  This wasn't too difficult, and not very time consuming.  Next, was the art to inspire me.  This took months.  I finally got to the point that I turned on sad music, as I often do when I paint, got drunk and created the perfect canvas.  Done.  Finally, I needed to sit down and WRITE.  There was only one problem: EVERYTHING.  Any and all distractions got to me.  I worked out more.  I cooked more.  I went to the dentist more.  How frustrating this life was.

You may be pondering that it is currently 2012 and I am discussing irritations from over 2 years ago, why?  Well, the answer is also simple: I've still been procrastinating.  Sure, I've had my bouts of inspiration and productivity, but overall, I've neglected that part of myself.  This is my final straw.  One of my good friends once told me that the great thing about myself is that when I say I'm going to do something I always follow through.  It was a wonderful compliment, but I believe he is full of shit.  Yes, I do always get what I want, because I work at it until I obtain it.  But I mainly feel like one lazy bastard.  Maybe everyone feels this way, I don't know?  What I do know, is that I'm tired of it.

I have ideas, hell I even have an outline for a book, but I'm only a whopping 20 pages in.  What defeat... Or is it?  One of my closest friends recently listened to my frustrations and aspirations, and magically produced this wonderful gem: Bird by bird, by Anne Lamott.  To say I'm in love is an understatement.  Her encouraging, yet realist, writing style is as comforting and freshly clean sheets.  Today.  THIS VERY DAY, I will start churning out material every day.  Things I've learned so far:

1) Write every day.
2) "Good writing is about telling the truth." - Anne Lamott.  And, boy, do I have a lot of truths to express.
3) This is something I've already known, but chapter one quickly reenforced it for me: I write because I want to, and I think I'm good at it.  Actually, those thoughts are the same as the poet John Asbery and Flannery O'connor, respectively.  My work may not be well written, at times, but they are my stories.  I think everyone has a story to tell, I just hope I will find the focus to get mine on paper. 
4) Finally, and most important: see rule number 1.

If you are bored with this progression, then I would suggest not continue to follow me.  If things go right, which I hope they do, I will be posting god-awful stories, with topics ranging from my childhood to my favorite Real Housewife.  Be warned. 

Oh, I almost forgot: bird by bird.  Anne Lamott describes how, once upon a time, her father, also an author, advised her younger brother to tackle a book report on birds... Bird by bird... So, I guess my future endeavors will be one bird, then the next.  Bluejay's have always been my favorite.. Guess that's what I'll start with, the bluejay. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Where the f**k have I been?!

Okay, I'll be the first to admit I have been a bit lazy when it come to nurturing my sweet, little, relationship with my blog.  Tisk, Tisk.  But, I'm back... Hopefully for good.

Before I divulge my plans for the summer, let's go back a few months.

1) Finished my 2nd semester of graduate school with a 4.0.  Yay.
2) Went to the beach with my family, and Opie of course.  He didn't get to enjoy the beach that much, but he will be back.  OH, HE WILL BE BACK.

3) Ian graduated with his masters in public health.  First of all, I'm so proud of him.  Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to cry at a graduation ceremony; I stand corrected.  He is what inspires me to work harder.  Secondly, I'm not going to any more graduations unless I think I may cry at them.  Basically, I've reached my peak when it comes to getting emotional at graduations, so if your not that important, I'll just send a check in the mail.  Graduations are long and I have prostate issues.  Done.

4) I went to Providence, RI, Maratha's Vineyard and Newport, MA.  What a wonderful trip!  This was my first time to the East coast and I loved it!  I was also able to knock some items off my bucket list: explore two new cities each year, and visit a lighthouse! 

NOW that you see what I've been doing, HERE'S what I plan on doing: 

For starters, this summer is rapidly escaping me.  Why is it that the hard times of the year creep by like I'm slowly pulling off a band-aid, but the fun times are as hasty as a summer's breeze.  Wow, that was cheesy.  Digression aside, I need to get started on maximizing my opportunities this summer.  Which means only one thing: I need to make a list.

1. Reconnect with my friends.  I'll say it, I've been shitty.  I've been selfish.  I've been lazy.  It started with my busy semester, then perpetuated by my inability to just 'snap-out' of it.  Typically, after a semester, my energy level is low, so I recharge myself with a trip.  Okay, great, I did that and... nothing.  Now, I just don't care to make any effort, which is perplexing because my friends me the WORLD to me.  So, I'm sorry and I'll try harder. 

2. Start writing.  Seriously, stop making fucking excuses and write.  Write, write, WRITE.

3.  Workout.  I'm close to my goal of having a six-pack.  I want it.  I'm glad I didn't peak in high school.. Suck it, bitches.

4. Volunteer.  I recently decided that I may want to get a gerontology certificate while obtaining my MSW.  Thanks to a school friend, I made a contact with someone in a nursing home and I'll be doing some volunteer work with her this summer.

5.  Continue learning Spanish.

6.  Road trip with bad bartender (AKA, Lauren).

7.  Go to Austin, TX, to visit Vanessa.

8.  Take care of all the tiny, disorganized, parts of my life.

9.  Spend as much time with my boyfriend.

10.  Read my list everyday.

Off to get started!

Garrett Paul

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Knowledge is power

If you had to pick one aspect of your life that has taken precedence over the past 5 years, what would it be?

This is the thought that has been plaguing me lately.  I decided it would be best if I could pin it down to one word: Knowledge. 

What exactly is knowledge, anyway?  To me, it has been the last 5 years and my future.  It is a living, breathing, word.  It is what inspires me. 

Here is what I've learned from knowledge:

Knowledge can be learned through experience.

Of course knowledge is learned through experience. Duh.  But, I find it very important to recognize lessons that I've learned, no matter how ridiculous or obvious they may seem.  Yes, knowledge is taught, but an experience has to be learned; it wouldn't be an experience if it wasn't.  I've recognized that I learn best through experience. 

Even though it is important for me to learn through experience, it is equally important for me to prepare myself with "taught knowledge".  "Taught knowledge" is what allows me to exercise my "experienced knowledge" and strive for fulfillment. 

Knowledge does not constitute wisdom.

Some of the brightest people I know are, gently spoken, not very wise. Personally, I consider myself to be wise, however I don't believe wisdom is fully learned, as knowledge often is.  I do believe that one must inherently posses certain qualities that enable one to access their wisdom, such as empathy, patience, and the ability to forecast thoughts, among other things. However, I further believe that those "certain" qualities that allow one to be wise can be learned, through knowledge.  I suppose, much like most things in life, one must have the desire to seek wisdom and strive for constant achievement.  Overall, I don't think wisdom is fully obtained; I think it is a state of constant reflection and mistakes, which is why I consider myself to be wise. 

Knowledge does not save you... all the time.

I was telling my boyfriend the other day that I make a lot of mistakes, but I rarely make the same one twice.  Eventually, I'm bound to go through all of them, right???  Regardless, knowledge allows me to recognize the incongruities within myself, but doesn't protect me from initially making mistakes.  I'm okay with that balance, as long as I can continue to recognize my faults, which is why knowledge is so important to me. 

Knowledge is something I constantly seek.  It allows me to heal from the past while seeking a brighter future.  Knowledge is the key component of my life continuum.  What is the key to yours?

Garrett Paul