PTSD, or The Little Self of Horrors

Pic of Author Looking HauntedThis is you smiling.

You’ve hiked into the forest behind the house in Portland where you’ve crashed your deep space bunker, and now you’re exerting all of your facial muscles to perform the most common exercise known to modern man. This is your selfie. This is your smile.

You used to be sweet. Now you’re scary. That’s what they keep telling you. You frighten me, they say. You’ve left three jobs and three homes in the past year because you can’t keep it bottled. 44 years of rage uncorked, the vintage 1971 was a bad crop. Straight outta Oklahoma, you sad, scary hayseed.

The fucking bunker is failing. You watch astronomical amounts of television while playing match-three games on your phone just to keep the hate in check. You watch so much TV that you’ve run out of TV. You’ve watched it all. Congratulations.

You are a 44 year old dog walker courier who’s about to lose his job. You’re scorched earth. You have nothing left but a 4Runner and a chihuahua named Agnes. You are such a fucking loser that you’re sucking up all the loserdom in the vicinity. You’re the kicked dog who keeps getting kicked simply because the last guy kicked you.

You’re in a strange city where the streets make no sense and the faces come out of the rain. Nobody here knows your name and you drive the strange streets thinking you could at any moment just disappear and would anyone hear that tree when it falls in the woods behind the bunker, over and over, a woods full of trees falling one at a time?

You think you’ve found a new Ground Control, you sit on his couch every Wednesday morning for 50 minutes trying to figure out if you could trust this one, if you could hear his voice as you drift through deep space, the only voice you hear now because you have successively shut everyone else out, even though you know that the one thing you need is the one thing you can’t accept – human connection. The only thing the kicked dog trusts is the kick itself.

You shield the world from your rage and at the end of the day you’re spent, a skinless man with bundled, singing nerves in the dark of the back bunker, the most farthest deepest room back there at the back. You hold the chihuahua to your chest, both of you fetal, and you keep checking to make sure she’s still breathing. 

You know the only thing that will save you, if you can’t accept human connection, is this. Putting words together even if your head is fully occupied by OCDish snatches of pop songs you’ve heard on the radio. Put the words together somehow. But don’t fucking put them here. Put them here and you’ll never get hired again. Put them here and the only humans who will connect will be the other freaks. Don’t do it. Don’t hit [publish].

16 thoughts on “PTSD, or The Little Self of Horrors”

  1. I don’t know you anymore. Hell, I never knew you very well at all. What I know is that you shine in my memories. I am wishing for you to get through this. I am wishing for you to heal enough to feel human. I hear that you are hurting, and I wish that you were not. I hear you. And even though I never knew you very well at all, I know that you are a human.

    Do what you need to do to be safe.

  2. I know your name and I know these streets and I’m not even a little bit freaky. Keep putting the words together. If you’re really in Portland give a holler and we get coffee or tea or something? I’m up late most knights wringing my hands over my kids who are nearing the age you and I were when we knew each other. There’s no Perkins in Portland but we could find something. <3.

  3. I just finished Into the Valley by Ruth Weir Galm, and was thrilled to see your name in the acknowledgements. You have been there for many folks in your life, Dogpoet. Let us be theref or you now.

  4. Another freak here. Can’t be helped. Your words mean so much to me. It’s good to hear from you again.

  5. Don’t know if you remember me, but I’ve never forgotten you. I send you peace, a bit of fresh air, and a hug. Take care of yourself buddy.

  6. poem

    Dark into my hell i go
    knowing just where i am
    Seeking for sanity, lost in blindness
    tiring easily
    Saying i dont give a damm

    Knowing the answer to the question
    not yet able to live the truth
    Buddha says someday all
    i maybe different, fear never
    wanting (only) nothing now

    We crossed the line together,
    my voices and me
    From miserable
    to spiritually free
    We just talk together,
    pretty equal where we stand

    1993’ish

  7. I’m not a freak, but I don’t know what the fuck I am doing, or how to make things better in my life. I can’t fix you, but I can be there with you. And move forward.

  8. Sending you lots of transcontinenral love. Your Bunker’s walls are thick, but you will get out of there. Your semi-sfumato selfie smile may not qualifiy you as the Pacific Northwest Mona Lisa, but it’s really great to see you. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I hope you find some peace of mind. You are pointing in that direction. Glad you hit [publish]. Hit it again.

  9. This is where the path is dark. I believe it gets light later.. Sending love, Mike. There’s Agnes, thank heaven! And a lot of people who care, including me. So what if I’m a freak?

  10. I visit this site every few months to see if you’ve posted anything. I love how you write. I’m sorry to hear that things are so dark, but I’m glad you are coming up for air. Fight, Michael. Wish I could help.

  11. The Dark Night Of The Soul.

    My you find what you need.
    I’m there myself brother.
    Signed,
    A San Francisco Casualty
    (ok that is a bit dramatic but accurate)

    PS
    You and I met in SF.
    I am now in Orange County (don’t ask)

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