Man up, James! – Issue 131


Man up, James!

It is 50 minutes into the last day of my least favorite month. This January was no exception to the rule; pretty bad January. A lot to be thankful for? Sure. A lot to look forward to? Somewhat. A lot of emptiness and uncertainty? Of course.

The past two days were the weakest I’ve felt since before I started my final semester in August. I hate how I can hardly remember most of those days. I compare it to something like Mario Kart, you know, like those boost arrows on the track that warp you up real fast? That is what those first few weeks of August were. I was mad depressed, still, though had been scaling upward and out of the crevice I had violently tumbled so deeply down; slow progress, and many days where I slipped and ended up back down days, weeks back.

Then it was like the movie trope you see, where my foot somehow got tied around some rope attached to a pulley, such as the one you see in a bucket, and this massive counterweight yanked me up, upside down, toward the surface. Of course this wasn’t entirely beneficial, as I was dragged across the crag like a match being lit on a coarse, flint-like rock. Either way, it started up again. Life. It took me a month or two to get out of the shell shock of being back in school after my massive breakdown and fleeing. Desperate prayers were answered as I recall showing up at a fairly well-sized baptist church one afternoon in the first half-week of school. My friend said I had the job if I wanted it. I walked around the facility and heard my responsibilities and was basically said the job was mine if I wanted it. Not that I didn’t listen, but I didn’t really listen so much, because I could have been told that I was going to be wrestling lions and I would have said yes. A couple days later I was both working and attending school every weekday.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hack it anymore. Atrophy is an incredible thing. Social atrophy is even worse when you have dealt with varying degrees of social anxiety and fluctuating self-image your entire life. Those first few weeks were entirely distorted, blurry, rushed. For any of you who ever played sports, it was like getting out in your first high school varsity game, somehow mistakenly sent in by your coach, or perhaps as part of a message being delivered to older, leather skinned and composed upperclassman teammates. And the sweat, the pressure, the accelerating heart beat, the shortened breathing patterns and the motion– game back on. If you know those moments, you know what those weeks felt like. I merely just kept my body moving. I made sure I was in each place I needed to be when I was supposed to be there, then like that moment the roller coaster drifts into momentum, I went along for the ride, terrified and helpless.

Over time, I finally earned back fragments of confidence, normalcy, and the sure-footed feeling that I can do this living stuff again. By the time that period ended, I had my best, closest friend in the world living 2 minutes away, I had earned back the respect of instructors I look up to who were there when I fell the first time, I felt like I belonged on campus, I felt good about my ability to contribute with my job, and so on. I was not only back on the surface, but I had healed up quite a but, stiffened up my body a bit and was feeling the best I had felt in a couple years.

Maybe I got a big head, maybe I forgot that it isn’t me who is in control of these things, maybe I just was near-sighted, or maybe I am just overdramatic, but I never knew it’d only take a month to uncoil most of that.

December 16th was the night I graduated. I was hyped up. I even saw some old faces who had been through journeys as long, and I am sure as arduous as mine. I was totally inspired, and I felt fulfilled. I was surrounded by so many of my best friends and family that night. Heck, I even let one of my closest girl friends come, you know, that one who I had been saying was dead to me for the past year– not the on that I had been dead to the past year. In fact, it was nice to have that dichotomy between oldest closest girl friend and newest closest girl friend both there, with the one in the middle obviously gone. It showed that I could find that type of connection still, in places I never looked.

The very next day, the coils had already started revolving the other direction. It was likely from coming from such a sky searing high from the night before and having to plummet down to the ground the next day. Oh, and waking up too early. I never got weaker, even as the immediate future dwindled into an outlook that was not as clear cut and optimistic as the one I endured between August and December. I knew, or so I thought, what was coming, and I was ready to take that transition head on; much like we take on waves, running straight at them and diving under to avoid the blows and their opposing force. I am clumsy, and I got hit by a few.

I expected some, and wasn’t prepared for others. I knew my best friend was leaving, but I couldn’t process it until it happened. I didn’t know I would find myself attached to a girl, but almost involuntarily it happened. I knew that I’d be in this weird transition period with my job and finding something more permanent, and hopefully meaningful (to myself), but I didn’t expect it to have such a sapping effect. I knew that my family was going through a lot of things, but I once again underestimated how deeply the stress of it would start to hollow me out again.

And now where am I exactly?

Lost, I guess.

I  am holding myself up with everything I have. I am not refusing help; I am quite active in asking for it, in fact. Yet, I’m still lost and that wanes my strength extensively. My biggest short-term fear is that I run out of strength, give up on finding my direction and fall back into depression, but I will fight with everything I have to avoid that; and I will fight dirty.

I’ve already considered a lot of changes I can try to make, or at least look into to help. I have to sit kicking myself every moment of the day, the only girl that has ever had any meaning to me since my breakup has seemingly gone to a close friend to a non-existent one. I even had to bring to the table that I can’t support a one-sided friendship. I think I forgot to say that I didn’t want it to have to be that way, and I think I came off lacking understanding of that person, but on the other hand that part of me that is still blackened and dead from all my time wants to be bitter from feeling like I haven’t been respected; like I am not trusted, or heck, like I haven’t even been given a chance to be trusted. Within me, I know that I am worthy of those things and more, yet within the other person, they can’t easily resign themselves to that.  I have to remember other people have those blackened, dead parts, and I try to at least take the fact that it is hard to be given someone’s trust as something, because at least that is on the table? Either way, it is a terrible place to be, because it just feels like I keep giving up more and more.

Lost another friend to a similar typhoon in their life, and only recently have they resurfaced. I’ve had a couple more move, or they travel a lot. She, well, her and I probably both finally accept that we ended up on different sides of a bridge that has been completely destroyed, with myself finishing last in that race, of course. The only real female touch I have in my life are from one or two people, depending on how you look at it. I never get to see any of those kind of friends in anything outside of a group setting, and even then it is usually brief. I deeply yearn for that kind of connection again, there is just something about the gentleness of that heart and that different way of looking at things that I can’t get otherwise, heck, that’s why I would sacrifice any deeper feelings I got for any girl at this point just because I need that close connection as a friend I can trust and vice versa. I only get that with people who are in other states right now.

It makes me very sad.

Then there is the fact that nearly all of my active close friends live ~40 minutes away, at least. That might not sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but when you have to drive that much to and fro to go anywhere, it drains you. I either have to plan well ahead and pack for the end of the world to be efficient, or I have to make many drives. I hate it, and I think it has ground me to the point that half the time I can hang out with any of them, I have to fight an equal half that doesn’t feel up to it, because it’d feel better to have to expend less of myself and be down about my situation instead.

That is exactly the kind of danger I fear. Do you see how easy it is for me to systematically break down my current setting and subsequently have endless ammunition to fire at my morale?

It is scaring the crap out of me. I feel 15,19 and 24 all over again. Those were all very low points and very foolish times. I won’t say I thought I grew, because I knew I grew. I have the measurements on the wall, but why am I feeling like I am inflicted by all the things in the past that cut me so far down, plus new ones?

As a whole, I am still far better off right now than I was 1 or 2 years ago. I think I have less intimacy and close contact to lean on, but other than that caveat, I should like these odds.

I honestly just think that I must have thought I fully recovered from injury too quick, tried to run too far, jump too high, and play too hard. I’m playing that patience game again and I just don’t like it.

I guess that is why I am just doing everything I can to keep things moving, changing, and trying to procure advantages in anyway I can. If you can’t try to be self-reliant then how do you expect to rely on anyone else?

I know I just painted a very bleak picture, and I know I am going to come across as very down. Like I said, I’ve just felt especially weak the past two days, but you know what?

Even if it’s the last thing I do, I’m manning up. I will out exist this lull, no prob.


Skimming through this again, I do realize I forgot to highlight one thing: I have more self-assurance now than ever. I am just not getting a chance to exhibit that self-assurance. That is why I am impatient through my transition, like I am cuffed and these weakly dudes are trying to get their licks in now before they let me loose to unleash on the world like a rapid fire cannon. 



Preface: I have a lot of unpublished drafts. I like to go back and look at them from time to time as they catalogue feelings and times that I was going through. Here is one from 2009 called Moron. I had just decided to take a break from a relationship with someone I loved very much (and later it turned into a break-up.. temporarily).

It is 4:26 pm on Monday, December 14th, in my 24th year, 2009. I am listening to the same song I’ve had on repeat for 22 times over the past 12 hours. This song is a German Remix to an Australian group’s song. Last night I listened to it and it made my body shiver with the need to dance; joyous, you could say.

Today, I listen to it and it is astoundingly hollow and somber– still appropriate. I don’t think my life has been one with many significant mistakes, though plenty of little ones along the way. I guess I’ve never liked making mistakes. Today, over the course of the past few hours and reaching its conclusion a few minutes ago.. I just probably made the biggest mistake of my life, maybe even willingly too. An act of pure idiocy that has potential to swell into a haunting moment that quietly follows me the rest of my life.

Silence is agonizing.

I just needed to record this moment. I pray that the stupidity of my youth isn’t appropriately reprimanded. But if so.. I deserve it.



If I am told I am worth something
By those who are worth to me
But they don’t show it
What am I really worth

And if I am worth very little
To those who are worth to me
Then am I really just worth
Nothing at all?

I say it but I don’t mean it
I say it but I don’t mean it
The story of my life
I’m sorry God

I’ve been through this
With you for the entirety
Of my existence given, yet
You hold worth in me.

delirium strikes

For years, they tried to fool proof myself
Scientists in a lab

The coats
The computers
The spectacles

I, The Spectacle

When I wasn’t blinded by
The pervasive light overhead
Softly spoken schematics
and directives overheard

A dark room and haze
Filled in around me
I could feel it
Compressing the air surrounding

It whispered

I murmured

As my skin boiled
my brain prodded
my lungs inflated
my eyes twitched
my teeth rattled
my tongue flapped
my bones fractured
my spine curled
my glands secreted
my nostrils retreated
my hair wilted
my voice dried
my lips desaturated
my nerves faded

Coarse leather straps and a metallic buckle,
The coldest thing in the room,
Slid across a molting layer of skin

“It is complete.”
Were the only words spoken

Later, I stood.

First step
Bullet proof, air tight and
The miracle of science

Second step
“Plit, plit”
Red splatters visible
In front of my feet

Third step
My perfect hand
To my chest
Evident, indeed.
The scientists forgot to patch
A single leak.

Fourth step
The miracle of neglect

no effort – Facebook Pasting I

I wanted to post something, but I didn’t want to take the time to finish writing anything. So I copy and paste delirious facebook ramblings and call it blog! Italicizing myself for dramatic, confucian/bozoean effect



James Curtis

I’ve finally won
Robert Bolgeo

for real?
James Curtis

Via choosing different races
handicapped ones
I have won
Robert Bolgeo

what are you talking about?
James Curtis

I will no longer not not be respected
I am talking about the punk movemet
Robert Bolgeo

no you aren’t
and if you are, you haven’t won
unless in the punk movement winning means losing
James Curtis

I have won
Quitting = winning
not quitting
transcendance is achieving victory
and fulfillment is baking your heart until the bread is warm
Robert Bolgeo

i’ll take that.
James Curtis

holding on is breaking your heart until it is stale bread
and crumbs that lead to a person who is no longer there
is all you will be
And they overestimate a beating heart
because sometimes it is only beating itself
Robert Bolgeo

are you writing me poetry?
James Curtis

I don’t write poetry
and I don’t write it to you, either
Robert Bolgeo

wrong on both accounts
James Curtis

Someone is wrong
and it is usually everyone in the room
When the room empties
the only thing left is the prosperity of incorrection
breeding like bacteria underneath the pit of the earth
Robert Bolgeo

James Curtis

If I could choose
I would never become a poet
but I would gladly become a bard
Robert Bolgeo

i would love to see you a bard
travelling from town to town
regailing the peasants with tales from the kingdom
James Curtis

It is hard to continue my incoherent chickerings with you interjecting every 80 pixels
Robert Bolgeo

i don’t want you to chicker me
nor do i want you to chicker me out
James Curtis

It is not you who I am chickering
It is the wind I chicker to
you just stand in the way
please move
please move
but the wind blows me still
in your direction
please move
please move
I am not a sail boat
Robert Bolgeo

stop your bardetry! it makes me regret my lack of inspiration recently
James Curtis

Robert Bolgeo

oh snap

About Sums it Up

note: wasn’t gonna post this at all, but am doing it anyway. I was gonna write what I was gonna write on this normally, but I preferred some abstraction for summing up my feelings here–at least… I felt like abstraction could express my feelings better than cut and dry communication. It is not a short story, it isn’t a narrative, it isn’t anything like that. It is just my feelings on something expressed in somewhat of a narrative format. So foff.

The two stood huddled together in the corner of the room. Each a pair of fake mustaches appended to their faces; they were the two strangers looking the wrong direction in a crowd. It isn’t that they were below the radar, they just weren’t on it.

Lance, the more excited looking one swiveled around and motioned at all the bustle and chatter around them.

Wearing a buoyant smile and possessing a bludgeoning laugh as a weapon he pulled back his grin for a second to remark, “This is great! Isn’t this great? I don’t think I’ve been so happy since I’ve been back home. See! See! Do you see these people?” he elevated both arms toward a trio walking by, they looked like Rich Uncle Pennybags must have in his youth. Standing adjacent each other, it was clear the three men walking by weren’t costumed in any way– this was simply who they were.

“Man! I love it!” as if gambling with his voice he doubled the ante, with a voice that at least gave mild competition against the deafening bustle of the rest of the room he raised both his voice and its pitch, proclaiming, “This is living!”

Anton hadn’t heard a single word Lance had said.

If it weren’t for his eyes tracing every trail of motion, flash of light and fade of shadow he could have been mistaken for a wax sculpture. He stood there with his mustache tilting to the left side of his face as the adhesive he wore underwent its metamorphosis from adhesive to sludge. He paid no mind to the fact. He simply looked around as if he wasn’t really in the room.

Perhaps he was absorbing the uniform look of the faded beige tile on the floor and the walls, each one gritted with a rough layer of sand that fit the mood of the room. From there, his eyes likely followed the cracks and chips in the worn out facility as the shapes transitioned from the jagged unpredictability of entropy to the overwhelming grid of humanity. Maybe it was that juxtaposition of self-imposed order and natural dystrophy that whisked away his attention.

Maybe it wasn’t that at all. Maybe it was the backs of all the people. He very well could have been sizing up each person in that room. He knew that faces could be deceiving, but when obscured, you could tell a lot about a person.

The man roughly 10 feet away, barely in his periphery, stood alone, but still on the social forefront as if to say all he has to do is lean in and he breaks the barrier. His feet were pointed slightly outwards and roughly as wide as his shoulders, trying to project his presence, yet he held an empty beer bottle closely tucked in next to his chest, shoulders slightly pinned like the roof on a house. He had a habit of biting his bottom lip and furrowing his right eyebrow. He kept taking sips of a drink that was no longer there until he scratched his head, looked down and walked toward a crowd of women that had been standing in front of him.

An endless sea of subjects, all posed in different arrangements of balance and 3 dimensional space. The short, busty woman who seemed to be playing an imaginary game of limbo, leaning back subtly further and further which each word she ejected from her oral cavity; an offensive and mind numbing weapon that clearly caused even herself to recoil with each word fired. The circle of people, each man alternating from the hanging over you, slouched shoulders and slightly bowed neck stance, subconsciously placing their pelvic region slightly in the forefront of their personal space looming type of presentation, and the next being more of a Brauny man approach; wide stance, arched back, any ploy to show case burgeoning arms, of which were still more fatty tissue than muscle, and most puzzling of all, the way they centered their gravity around their butt, almost like they were prepared to walk backwards.

Dick, asshole, dick, asshole, one by one by one. Maybe that’s what he was thinking– assuming that is what he was looking at– dicks and assholes. They were unfortunately hard to avoid.

Nobody knows what those eyes were focused on, though. He likely wasn’t paying mind to any of these things. Perhaps he wasn’t seeing anything, just imagining being somewhere else.

Lance had not yet stopped talking. With a relenting sense of urgency he swiveled around, grabbing Anton by the shoulder.

“Oh, oh! Look! Those two girls over there, there’s two of us, and nobody is talking to them! Let’s go talk to them.”

With as much as Lance pointed one would think he had more hands than a clock.

“What do you think we should say? I should ask them if they like Dungeons and Dragons.”

Sometimes sound waves got tired with as fast and dense as Lance could speak.

“They won’t get it. They will think we’re stupid, but I bet they will have no choice, but to laugh.”

Amused, he laughed.

“The mustache—- on that woman,” Anton must have just been beamed into the room and sputtered to a pathetic start, “Like, wow, she is… well she isn’t cute, she’s in the same vein, you know, but it is like if cuteness were a balloon and you put a little bit of helium in it instead of just blowing it up,”

Lance was listening to Anton intently, his eyes zeroing in on the woman in discussion.

“It is just a little more buoyant, you know what I mean? We can’t talk to them, man, look at us!”

Lance had agreed with everything he had said until that point.

“No man, no way, that’s exactly why we have to. Besides, I like her friend more. Her mustache is good, almost looks like it isn’t a fake even. I bet she’s a cosmetologist, I always wanted to meet a cosmetologist! Come on, it’s a perfect plan!”

While Lance never lacked enthusiasm, Anton’s moment had already passed. He returned to calm and spoke almost lullabylically.

“I don’t know, I guess you’re right,” he either paused, or both of them just stood there for a spell of time and thought about who they were underneath their fake mustache camouflage. As if reading sheet music, the rest ended and both took to motion again as Anton continued, “This was a good decision. I’m glad we’re here.”

They had been doing this sort of thing for weeks. Last week they were in the basement of someone’s house, everyone huddled around a few sets of musicians trading guitars, tambourines, harmonicas and fiddles. Everyone had some sort of tail pinned to them. They wore Peacock tails, except Lance’s tail feathers were gray scale in contrast to the bright technicolor flourish of Anton’s. The next week they found themselves doing the same thing at a place called The Pirate Ship. The week following it was a gathering of spandex-clad twenty somethings in the parking lot of a dilapidated venue for what was billed as the largest game of Twister the city had ever seen. They even met a pair of women there and shared company for most of the night.

For a few months this was their life. One might call it social espionage as they tried to blend in with all the various crowds, consequently hiding their true identities. Enough time finally passed until the end arrived.

They drove around town that night, looking for the spot of the night, but they found nothing. This time they had brought their other friend, Allen. Allen drove, Anton rode shotgun and Lance, talking as much as usual, owned the back.

“This is fitting,” Lance remarked. “I don’t know if you guys realized this, but this is our last night doing this. I won’t be around long enough for there to be another time.”

Allen wasn’t around often enough for it to matter to him, and Anton had known this for quite some time, but these words triggered no stimulus. Anton offered no response.

Lance fretted.

“I don’t like being disappointed. You know what? This is disappointing. I’m upset. We were just hitting our stride, you know? We were finally on top, and now it is gonna be wasted.”

He did that voice raising thing again.


Anton was tired. They had been driving around for over an hour, and he had exhausted all the options he could think of. Collectively, they gave up, spending the rest of the night in a dimly lit basement conversing over a few beers instead.

A couple of weeks had passed over the day that Lance passed custody. It was the start of the weekend and Anton was pregnant with restlessness. All he could think to do was to find Lance. Maybe they would find themselves dressed up as Tesla and Edison that night. It was that idea that kept spawning in his mind. He knew it wasn’t an option, but his heart held on to it. His friend, Bree, was celebrating her birthday that night. He was supposed to leave in 10 minutes. Prying himself from his desk chair he scrambled to get ready. It was in the bathroom that he caught a moment to examine himself in the mirror.

He stopped everything. He looked himself in the eyes. Turning each side of his face he crept up to the mirror, gathering all the angles. Intimately close to his own face he froze, at this point examining himself out of the corner of his right eye until he couldn’t get any closer.

Everything paused.

His heart must have kicked him back in motion, urging him to breathe as he bucked away and looked at his reflection square. He thought he looked familiar in his periphery– maybe that one guy he kept seeing around The Pirate Ship several weeks back– but when he looked at himself straight on, no synapses fired, there was no twitch in his eyes, nothing happened. He may as well have been looking through glass; he didn’t recognize what he was looking at. He was done.

After turning off the lights, he left.