Upon its origin the following piece was intended to be the introduction to a novella length memoir about my childhood life. I have repurposed it to serve as an introduction to this collection of essays and website as a whole. I feel it sets the appropriate tone for the stories to follow. It should be noted that in the following pieces I may speak in present tense about alcohol and drug consumption; this does not mean I am currently consuming drugs, but rather I was consuming such substances at the time when the piece was created. I feel this is necessary to point this out because, as later pieces will reveal, drug consumption developed into, what I will call, a substantial hindrance.
Without further ado, I give you, your introduction.
(The following was written in January of 2017.)
I sit at my desk with smoky glass tumbler. The raised black Steak n’ shake label interrupts the otherwise smooth surface of the vessel. The fluid within said vessel is one part lime juice and two parts vodka. The simple ginger-less mule envelopes a frozen clementine rather than ice. I sip it and enjoy the bite. I prefer the consumption of vodka based beverages when I write. A beam of light falls through the window in hits the tumbler in just the right way. The fluid. The container. The clementine. They appear beautiful in the exquisite illumination. The white veins of the fruit stand out in bold contrast against the orange hue of it frozen flesh. I believe this is the perfect vessel to be drinking out of as I set out to write the story of my life for this vessel was purchased in a shop which, like my life, is full of fantastic and beautiful oddities.
I write this, which will likely be the opening of my best selling book, in a new apartment. The fourth I have lived in. This place is small yet the largest home of my adult life. The kitchen is cluttered, and the living room is empty save for my desk and the desk of my roommate. That is if you can consider off white folding tables desks. The bathroom is roomy, and my bedroom is not. I planned on decorating the bedroom elaborately with hanging tapestries and ornate pillows, the kind reminiscent of a gypsy caravan. Now that I’m here… Well, I think a mattress and two well worn chocolate colored bookshelves will serve me well enough. The juxtaposition of the elegant cocktail against the modest abode brings a smile to my face. It seems a proper catalyst for an aspiring writer.
My life has not been long. Yet, I would be lying if I said I did not feel old as time itself. It seems as though I’ve seen and done so much in these 21 years. I was born in Chicago not far from Wrigley Field. My conception was the result of a love affair between two young Kinkos’ works who were only a hair older than I am now. We lived in that town for a brief moment. So brief that I have no memory of life there. Instead my memory begins with Peoria, Illinois. It was just my mother and I at the start. I was adorable and my mother was beautiful. One of my favorite photographs is of the two of us around that time. Mom is tan, freckled, and sporting a beaming red smile. We lived in the back room of my great grandmother’s home. My grandma and young aunt and uncles lived up stares. We were a gorgeous family.
Before long Chris joined the picture. He married my mom and went on to become my father. In a few brief years he impregnated my mother and Hunter was born. The four of us lived near Bradley University and looked the like the picture perfect multi ethnic American family. Only looks can be deceiving. It was no ones fault, or rather no one is to blame for my turmoil. For there was turmoil within me. I was different by conception and I felt it. I described the feeling as hollow, distant, and absent. It is only in hindsight, and with expanded vocabulary, that I can state my life was plagued with periods of depression from a young age.
In fact, I believe depression has been my base state since birth. I once told a therapist, “my childhood was happy, but that I was not a happy child.” This is not to say I didn’t have moments of ecstasy and joy, for I did, but just like today when joy fades it fades to hollowness. The majority of my early feelings of hollowness occurred in the presence of Donald, my biological father.
I do not blame Don for the feelings of hollowness. I only honestly state that such feelings occurred more frequently in his presence than out of his presence. I should consider myself lucky to have had him in my life. Yet, I do not. Our relationship has been rocky to say the least. He and my mother were, presumably, in love at some point, and due to an unexpected pregnancy married. Three months after their union the bitter divorce began. Don moved to a good neighborhood in Indiana with hopes that your’s truly would attend the elementary school across the street from his new suburban palace. Much to his dismay, I ended up living with my mother and attended Peoria Christian School. He was left with summers, and a handful of holidays. I think this was for the best.
I hated school, and hated summer even more. That’s not to say I hated the time with my mom. I loved that time at home. I did and do love Don, but only at arm’s length. I have never embraced him the way I have my mother. In fact I remember coming home and discussing my time at Don’s as tears ran down my plump cheeks. I remember Chris turning to my mother and announcing, “He’s afraid of his own Dad.” I don’t recalling saying that, but it was true. I feared my father. To a certain extent I still do. In fact at the time of this writing, we are not on speaking terms. It is by my choice.
I attended church as I child. I loved it. I memorized every verse and wrote simple songs of praise and worship. Then I aged, experience life and came to hate the Lord I loved. Now I don’t know how to feel about him. My search for him is never ending. Maybe one day I will find him. Maybe death will be no different than before I was born. Either way the church took me in and filled me with love, a stubborn sense of morality, and heavily molded the man I now am.
This coupled with my Christ centered education lead to a never ceasing stream of questions: Why are the sins of Adam imputed onto all mankind? Is genesis literal, or is it prophetic like the book of the revelation? Were Jesus’ three days of hell truly as terrible as an eternity there? Where was God when I had an ethernet cord wrapped around my throat? I have no answers. I lie in bed awake as the questions ceaselessly form.
All in all my life has been a good one. At Peoria Christian School I established friendships that will last for eternity. I discovered the principles of love and trust. I learned how to make up my mind for myself, and as my favorite teacher said, “All questions have answers, and not all answers given are true.” That school taught me more about life than about facts. That is for the best.
After PCS I started my collegiate career at Illinois Central College. In the beginning I pursued a love for physics. The discovery of calculus cut that short that love affair. I should have ended my higher education pursuits there. I did not. Instead, I pursued journalism. I stumbled through the community college courses, and eventually graduated with an essentially worthless associates in arts. It took longer than it should have because it turns out that even with high scores attendance is required. I still don’t comprehend such logic. Nevertheless I gave in, showed up, and got out. After community college, I drifted through a semester at Iowa State University, and now I am here. Partially because they also expect you to show up. Here being a poorly furnished apartment in Ames, Iowa. Here being a college dropout with no real plan. Here being an attempt to make a living as an author.
I know, I have glossed over quite a bit. I beg of you to trust that the important points will be covered in the stories, and essays, to follow.
This has been the first installment in the essay series, It Happened in Iowa. This series is a collection of writings written during my time living in Ames, Iowa. It was a time of heavy drinking pock marked with benders of amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methylphenidate. It was a period of depression annotated with suicide attempts. These essays are not direct commentaries on depression and drug use; rather, they are the creation of someone living through such a demoralizing period of life.
The next installment shall be released in two weeks time. It is highly recommended that you read the following collection in chronological order. Thank you for your time and attention. If you have enjoyed this post please share and follow my Facebook page to insure you never miss a post. As for now I wish you well.
Take care dear reader.
- April 2019
- March 2019
- Feb 13, 2019 It Happened in Iowa: Part III Feb 13, 2019
- January 2019