Yesterday

Smoking cigarettes was single-handedly the worst decision I’ve ever made.

It’s a decision that I’ve continued to make, thousands of times.

I quit.

I’ll admit, those words scare me. 

It almost feels like I’m giving up a piece of me, discarding a physical extension of my body.

I lament its friendship, escape, excuse to opt out, if only just for a minute.

Cigarettes are an introvert’s best friend, but they’re the death of them, also.

And, I have a lust for life that is incompatible with the sludge of a slow, cowardly form of suicide.

Today I quit and announce it not for encouragement, but for accountability.

No more anxiety attacks because I’m self-conscious that my odor is a first impression of my intelligence.

No more sneaking open the patio door to my townhouse under the sounds of a passing car to muffle my inconsideration.

No more staying up for an extra hour to have one last cigarette.

So many times, I’ve broken the promise to quit smoking that it’s become meaningless. 

This I know.

This time is different.

I’m ready.

As the flowers bloom, my life changes.

Today is different from yesterday.

Motivation Motivates

When I was depressed and isolated, I began writing a list of everything that I’d accomplished during the day, no matter how insignificant I considered it to be it.

I soon realized that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything we do, even on the days we do little.

On an uneventful day, my list would look something like this in the morning…

Woke up at 5:15 am.  Read the bible.  Wrote the rough copy of a new blog.  Drank 2 cups of water w/medication.  Made 2 x eggs and whole wheat toast for breakfast.  Made pancakes for daughter.  Dressed daughter and drove her to daycare.  Got coffee from Starbucks and finished blog.

Then, I’d update it later in the day to give myself a boost of motivation, and again at night so I’d fall asleep feeling accomplished.

When you are depressed, you need to stoke your self-esteem in whatever ways possible.

To give yourself credit for what you do without thinking is an easy way to feel better about yourself.

Motivation motivates.

The longer the lists grow, the more confident you feel and the more you will eventually take on.

When you try to think of every positive choice you made that day to participate in life, you see that you’ve made more motivated choices than you assume.

It takes effort to live, even when we think we’re not living.

So, give yourself credit where credit is due.

Because when you do, you’ll start to do more.

The Purge

Writing has always been a way for me to transcend through difficult times and sort out the confusion of my moods and thoughts before they swallow me.

It’s become a way to creatively disable the suicidal urges, self-destructive tendencies and throw a soggy band-aid on my diseased mind, so I can continue to drag my feet through life.

As the psychiatrist who involuntarily admitted me to the hospital told my wife, “he’s been sick for a long time.”

“A long time” translates into nearly 1,000 pages of previously unreleased grunge poetry, suicidal prose and short stories that – today – are being released, exposed and purged from my conscious.

Why has this writing never seen the day of light?

Because of its darkness.

Letting my depression speak would’ve exposed my struggle at a time when I wasn’t ready to bear the burden of admitting that I brawled with bloody knuckles against these ruthless mental demons.

Also, depression debilitates you with safeguards from exposure; a low self-esteem, embarrassment and crippling perfectionism.

Since the medications have soaked into my bloodstream, things have changed and I no longer fear the labels that I assumed come with the cold, naked honesty of what I wrote.

And, most importantly, my perfectionism has dulled and I see beauty in my own ugly.

So, today I purge all of the projects that I’ve been dragging along behind me in secret.

Yowl / dShadows.  The Curse of Twenty-SevenThe Ruse of AmbiguityIn GloomBun.Ko

You can read them for free as a PDF on bjdraKe.com.

Or, you can purchase the eBook editions on Amazon.

Or, you can wait until October and purchase them in print (signed).

Regardless of whether or not anyone reads them, today marks a new beginning in my life.

The purge has begun and it won’t stop until all the sludge that weighs me down is scooped up and tossed aside, so that I can walk on clouds, again.

Before I go, let me issue a warning…

Breathe in only small whiffs of my work at a time, or you too might get swallowed.

Happy Pills

Before I was ever offered happy pills, I was adamantly against the idea of medication.

The propaganda against psychology – paid for by the Church of Scientology, amongst others – convinced me that psychiatric drugs were a ploy by the shadow government of the world to numb/dumb us all down and lock us into a hypnotic and dulled conformity.

…sounds like the schizophrenic paranoia of someone who might need medication.

I digress.

Secondly, there is a stigma attached to happy pills and the act of swallowing them is like admitting that you are bipolar, schizophrenic, depressed and so – by that logic – as long as you don’t take the pills, you don’t have to fit into an uncomfortable label.

But, the most embarrassing reason that I avoided taking pills is the fear that it would “kill my creativity.”

I thought that little demon’s voice in my head was what inspired my creative impulses and was worried that without it screaming at me, I wouldn’t be able to write and that was more terrifying then watching my life crumble around me because I was too stubborn/scared to seek help.

Then I realized something.

If the endgame of depression is suicide, soon enough I wouldn’t EVER have the opportunity to be creative.

So, I accepted the help.

Actually, I had no choice in starting to take the happy pills because I was Involuntarily Admitted at the hospital, meaning they made the decisions for me, legally.

I was ready, regardless.

I’ll admit that at first I felt like the creativity was being sucked out of me.

My mind became blank and I had a hard time expressing myself, vocally or in writing.

But, that was because the layers of voices howling at me, criticizing my every move, encouraging me to kill myself had stopped and my mind was clear.

Five months later and I’m finally able to express myself, again.

Those five months were a struggle, but they would’ve been without happy pills, also.

My only regret?

Not having asked for help sooner, because until my mind emptied itself, I didn’t realize how bad things were getting.

The torment of my mind became normal and it was trying to kill me and the only way it would’ve stopped was if I was dead.

New Beginnings

After my head injury, as cliched as it sounds, the world turned grey

The color and vibrancy was slowly sucked out of my life.

I was juggling too many cognitive obstacles and impairments at the same time.

I didn’t realize how far down the spiral of depression I was slipping.

Until I hit rock bottom and couldn’t get up.

And, the endgame of depression is suicide.

I tip-toed towards that edge after two years of feeling utterly useless in every area of life.

Then I jumped.

Two years of asking for help broke me.

I felt like a burden and felt that everyone’s life – my own included – would be easier if it ended.

So, I went for a walk with a bottle of pills, a pocket knife and a map to the nearest train crossing.

For an hour I listened to Nirvana and contemplated ending my life.

But, thankfully, no train came and eventually I kept walking.

The next day, my life was saved because I admitted to a doctor that I was suicidal.

“You’re being involuntarily admitted to the Abbotsford Hospital.”

Those words saved my life.

Changed my life.

Gave me a new outlook on life.

And, that’s where the next chapter begins…

The Curse of the Creative

A quote from Jordan Peterson…

“The worst thing for creative people is to not be creative.  They just die.  If you’re extroverted you can’t be cut off from people.  You just whither.  Open people have to be creative.  They have to be because otherwise they die.  They don’t have any vitality.  So, they’re cursed with the necessity of having to put one foot out into the unknown and making sense of it.  And they’re cursed with the necessity of having to make a living while they’re doing that…”

Narcissist, much?

We live in a social society that filters out the ugly.  

When you don’t, it scares people.

Love Life or Die Trying IS NOT a cry for help, sympathy or attention.

The mind amazes me and my mind has unique quirks that I want to understand.

One thing about my quirks that I’ve come to understand is that they aren’t so unique.

Those who suffer from mental illness suffer similarly to others with the same problems.

It is somewhat textbook.

Admittedly, the mind’s textbook is never-ending and highly cryptic.

The only way we’ll be able to decipher the peculiarities of the mind is to share our deepest insights into the only one we have full access to; our own.

Believe me, it’d be a lot easier to just shh and not be vulnerable because I prefer to not talk about what bothers me.

Silence will never help me put the pieces of the puzzle back in place.

And – the reason why I write this website- maybe some of my pieces match your pieces.

I’m an observer to life and I live in the world that I observe.

I stand back when I write.

It’s analytical. 

My mind wandered towards the cliff and jumped into the abyss, yet survived the fall.

It dug deep, hit an artery and kept digging.

The mind’s soggy bandages are dry and now I want to know why I didn’t stop.

Why did I jump?

I don’t write this for people to say, “are you okay?”

I write this to help others and myself.

Weeding the Garden

I was weeding my garden. It was overdue. Weeds were suffocating the nutritious vegetation.  The life. Late into the evening I tugged on the root of a weed that wouldn’t budge. I yanked at it until the flesh of my palms rolled back and bled. I got a heart-shaped shovel and stomped on it, but the root was unharmed. This root needed to be dug out. I shoveled. Dug. Deeper. Ouch. That hurt. Kept digging until no longer was I digging a hole, but I was digging to escape, upwards. The root kept going and going and I kept digging and digging until finally, dirt fell on my face and I broke through to the other side. That root was a tree on this side and it cast a deadening shadow. It was the home of many evil spirits. They poured out of the hollow and slithered into my hole. I jumped in behind them and began falling. By the time I slowed down and started climbing, the spirits had plonked their rotten seeds in my garden. I was too late. Rain was in the forecast, heavy. I didn’t have a raincoat. I got caught in the flood and drowned.

I Died In My Dream

I have been on a quest to dissolve my ego and last night I had a dream that I died, my first one.

I was one of many passengers crammed into an airplane.  We hit turbulence, hard like the belly of the plane scraped across a mountain top.  We began descending in a spiral.  Over the PA the pilot calmly said, “I’m sorry, we are going to die.”  We hit the ground.  There was an explosion.  An boomerang wave of atomic heat accompanied a magnificently bright ball of translucent light that trembled with an energy I’ve never felt and couldn’t describe, but it pulled my body towards a fiery-orange brimmed white circle that pulsated in silence. 

The entire moment happened in a fraction of a milli-second.

I awoke and jumped out of bed and ran across the room.

“I’m not dead.”

I think.

Devotion

I was forced to attend Sunday School at the only Lutheran Church in our town as a remedy from my sprouting pre-teen aggression and rebellion.  It was awful and I devoted myself to being a pain in the ass to the teachers and the congregation.  I would show up wearing my skull jacket every Sunday, making sure I’d forget a roach in the pocket while I’d blare “Antichrist Superstar” by Marilyn Manson through my discman headphones.

Like my dad said, “too bad that didn’t work.”

I somehow passed my Catechism -a oral test based on the memorization of the Ten Commandments, a few selected Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer; none of which I remembered- and I was officially a member of the Lutheran Church.

I’ll be honest for the first time in my life; my rebellion within the walls of that church made me nervous.  I felt like I was fucking with something bigger than myself.  Something that I didn’t understand.  Something that might have a real consequence and not just a wooden ruler to the knuckles.

I was afraid, but committed to being banished from the church, eternally.

The truth is that I do believe in something, but I’ve never admitted it because it almost seems rationally irresponsible to my scientifically-driven ego to do so.

Atheism is fashionable to the intellect.

I believe that WE are a soul and each soul is the piece of something bigger; the godhead or GOD.  Therefore, we are all connected in the cosmic sense that we originated from the same place; Heaven.

Why we left Heaven was because each one of us transgressed against GOD in Heaven, so he banished us to the lowest of planes; Hell.

Thereafter, we spend as many lifetimes as it takes to make our journey back through each spiritual plane -there are seven and we are on the third in the physical- walking through hell to find our way back to the godhead/Heaven.

Each body/vessel that our soul occupies is used to gather experiences that’ll lead to a small piece of insight that we need to progress to the next spiritual plane and therefore, when we are reincarnated, we carry with us the experiences of all our past lives, so that we haven’t lost the formulas to the questions of the answers we need.

Before God banishes us to the depths of Hell, he gives us the opportunity to sign-up for all of the different sufferings we will experience on our journey.  All the heartbreak, sickness, death, etc.

I like to remember this; all the hardship and hurt that we experience in life our soul signed-up for, having faith that it could handle the pain.

As we collect experiences -especially from the insight of suffering- our soul manifests itself into new spiritual planes of existence until one day it’s again back in Heaven, reconnected with the godhead.

Therefore, I think life is -on this plane- learning through all the sensory inputs.

We have to learn what we’ve lost in Heaven before we’re able to return.

Thawing

A good friend of mine sent me a friendly wave on Facebook Messenger late last night after he read “I’m Sorry.

“I’m sorry we weren’t here for you, bro.”

The truth is that he was, as were many others.

Everyone – at some point – shook my shoulders to shake some sense into my soggy brain to the reality of my erratic, alcohol fueled behaviour.

I couldn’t hear them.

Or, maybe I didn’t want to.

As far as depression is concerned, I hid it from myself and others by masking it with the binge drinking, drugs and the increasingly problematic level of isolation.

No one could’ve helped me with depression because it was something I’ve never been honest about living with.

But, at some point, every friend who cared about me said something about the wide-path that I staggered on, in regards to substance abuse.

Thank-you…

I know it’s hard to believe, but I didn’t have an addiction to anything.

Cigarettes aside.

In fact, since the first sip of liquor I ever tasted to the most recent, I have always hated the taste of alcohol.

It makes me gag, which is the reason why binge drinking became such a problem.

It wasn’t enjoyable to me, simply a means to an end; getting blackout drunk so I could be comfortably social.

I could have lived my entire 20’s without a sip of alcohol; the proverbial gateway substance into other drugs.

If only I had been honest with the state of my mental health.

I was trying to strip myself free of the doctor’s labels of bipolar and anxiety by being normal; social and happy.

Which was something I couldn’t handle without being intoxicated because mingling and mindless prattle exacerbated the symptoms of both depression and anxiety.

Stepping into a room full of people – good friends, family or strangers – was the prick of the dagger my depression needed to slice open an artery to begin it’s ritualistic bloodletting and let the thinned plasma pour freely with self-hate and a debilitating lack of self-confidence that left me scrambling for something, anything ! to funnel down my throat to drown the dizzying misery of cross-eyed anxiety.

When it was apparent that the consequences of a blackout only furthered the self-loathing, I simply replaced drinking with introversion.

Or, more appropriately put, isolation.

Isolation became my escape from everything.

Alcohol, drugs, social anxiety and the fear that people might find me out and realize I’m depressed.

But, when I’d wake up one morning feeling the euphoria of a manic state, I’d have the shaky urge and false-confidence to make an attempt at being a normal, socially functioning person, so I’d go out.

As soon as my pinky toe crossed into a room of filled with laughter and loud music, I’d tense up, panic and frantically reach for the destructive, yet familiar, social lubricants that immediately suffocated mania’s electrified psychosis.

I stopped trying, almost entirely, because it seemed less damaging to hide from the world.

Unfortunately – though isolation was less damaging – I was avoiding the underlying causes of my social discomforts.

Bipolar depression and social/general anxiety.

I fooled myself that introversion and isolation was better.

I wasn’t waking up with a suicidal hangover and a headful of hate to fill a journal full of smudgy guilt and regret with.

But, I did love and truly miss my friends, so when depression lifted and mania took over, again, I’d tell myself that “this time I won’t drink.”

A promise that I broke 98% of the time.

As soon as I’d breathe shared air, not a single syllable would trickle out from between my chattered teeth.

My sarcasm would become aggressive, so people wouldn’t want to talk to me.

I couldn’t look people in the eyes.

I would d start pouring sweat.

Shaking.

Twitching.

I’d freeze up.

Possibly a tactic of depression to encourage “shots!” because as long you look like you’re having fun, no one would think to assume you’re unhappy.

Thankfully, I’ve begun thawing.

blinK / d

from higher frequencies
borderless vibrations, away from
the
third
observer , who never judges
whose bacK is turn / d
towards an artificial trompe
l ‘ oeil , a taciturn
gate – keeper , who ,
dress / d in rags , perches amid
the pair of foolishly
wander / d
eyes , an unarmed watcher ,
guardian of a connection lost
once it is bombarded with stupefacient
stimuli until it is brimming w / an uproar
of nothingness and defeat / d, replete,
familiarly relax / d , comfort / d in routine ,
lethargic , sunKen into a couch
conform / d to the pathetic blobby vessel ,
held up on the bony shoulders of devilish
brethren , who cackle w /t he
live ( ? ) studio audience
as the flame of your
i
is
blown
out .

blinK / d.

Anti-Depressants Don’t Kill Creativity, Depression Kills Creative Minds

For years I bought into the myth that “anti-depressants kill creativity.”

It is a dangerous myth that is perpetuated by quackery factories like the Scientology community and other fanatic religious movements.

The lazy practitioners of medicine and the greedy, deep pockets of the big-pharma industry don’t help by over-prescribing medication to people who don’t need it and could benefit solely from exercise, healthy eating and socialization.

But, for some of us, a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough.

Trust me.

I’ve went overboard on healthy eating and exercise regimes, I do daily meditation, I practice the wishful thinking practice of gratitude affirmations, I journal and read, I practice Cognitive Behavioural technics.

That all definitely helps.

In the short term.

Eventually, life comes crashing down for those of us with chemical imbalances in the brain.

And, it doesn’t help that there is a stigma around anti-depressants.

On one side are those people saying that “anti-depressants are a hoax perpetuated by pharmaceutical companies and doctors who receive kick-backs for prescribing them to as many people as possible, regardless of whether they need them or not.”

The other side are the people who hear the word “anti-depressant” and forever use it against you as a way to win arguments – “that’s the depression talking” – and are quick to discredit your abilities by labelling you crazy and unstable.

Then there’s the “tough-love” crowd who tell you, “just suck it up, bitch! Life is full of setbacks, so get over it and move on.”

So, no wonder so many people steer clear from seeking help for an illness that will fandangle you into suicide.

Me, on the other hand, wasn’t worried about the opinions of others; at least in regards to taking medication.

What worried me was losing my creativity because the “authorities” and “self-help gurus” kept telling me that anti-depressants would stifle my creativity.

And, creativity is one of the reasons I wake up and breathe each day.

Plus, scientist link depression and anxiety to high creativity and researchers claim that writers are 121% more likely to suffer from bipolar depression than the general population.

And, they are also 50% more likely to commit suicide.

So, I believed it was necessary to take the risk because writing wasn’t something I was willing to give up, ever.

Well, maybe not “ever…”

I believed them, because each time I wrote something – while not using medication – it got better and better.

But, that’s because I’d keep writing, every day.

Sure, depression helped me isolate myself, which provided me with endless hours of smashing the keyboard to unleash my inner rage and self-loathing, but it was at a trade-off for a normal, socially healthy lifestyle, which adds a perspective of life that the recluse can only read about .

So, consider this…

If you’re on medication and YOU KEEP BEING CREATIVE how could you possibly become LESS creative?

You can’t.

The only way your creativity will be affected by depression is if your depression kills you.

And, that’s the END GAME of the illness.

If you stay away from help and isolate yourself and write, paint, sculpt OF COURSE YOU’RE GETTING BETTER at whatever creative endeavour you pour your soul into.

But, if you’re on medication and do the same, you’ll get better, too.

That’s called practice.

And, that’s what makes you better at something.

Not depression.

So, “depression kills creativity” is backwards.

Depression kills the creative minds that refrain from using anti-depressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers or whatever other medications may (actually) be needed.

I’m Sorry

I am bipolar and suffer from social anxiety.

Phewf.

That is “my truth” and it is something I’ve rarely even admitted to myself, let alone anyone I know.

Until recently.

What’s changed?

Well, I had a nervous breakdown; the last of a string of many since a Traumatic Brain Injury that debilitated me for a year-and-a-half at the end of 2016.

It was recently my daughter’s birthday -November 18th- and we had our families over to celebrate.

My anxiety was the worst it’s been since it first started in 2003.

My palms were sweaty. Knees weak. Arms were heavy…

Wait…

Every ten to fifteen minutes I had to run downstairs and deep breathe in the bathroom to stop my eyes from shaking.

The room was spinning. I turned on the tap, hoping no one could hear me puking.

I knew I had to be by my daughter’s side, but as we sang Happy Birthday I felt like everyone was watching me and every bead of sweat pour down my forehead.

When it came time to cut the cake, I could barely hold the knife and everyone got a crumbled slice. As soon as the last piece was served I ran back downstairs and puked, again.

As soon as everyone left I collapsed. I couldn’t move. My body felt like I was encased in cement.

I felt like a failure, a worthless piece of shit father who couldn’t even keep it together long enough to celebrate my beautiful daughter’s birthday.

After two minutes of trying to lift myself off the basement floor it took another minute to walk up the stairs and stand in the doorway of our bedroom.

“I need help,” I mumbled to my wife. “I don’t want to die.”

The truth is, I’d been becoming increasingly more comfortable with the thought of suicide.

It’s been my “escape plan” since I learned it was an option in elementary school.

“Think of your daughter,” those who I’d admit it to would tell me, but the truth is I’d look at her and tell myself she’d be better off without a broken, bipolar basket-case in her life.

And, that scared me.

I promised my wife I’d go to the walk-in the next morning to get a note to see a psychiatrist, so that I could get on the proper medication after years of saying “no” to anti-depressants.

Why was I so stubborn for so many years?

Because when I was 23 I started taking the wrong anti-depressants (prescribed by my doctor) and quickly became hell-bent on suicide.

One night, not even a month after starting my medication, I swallowed all the sleeping pills that were left in the bottle.

Luckily, 30-some hours later, I awoke.

Unable to move, speak and barely able to open my eyes.

I was in bed for nearly two full-days and then I sat in the shower, fully clothed and cried.

So, back to my story…

The next day came and I couldn’t get out of bed. I was paralyzed. I could hardly pick up the phone and text my inquiring wife back with “I can’t move” to her text asking if I’ve went to the doctor.

She came home to bring me to the hospital.

A doctor came in and asked what was wrong and I said that I’m worried that if I don’t get help I was going to kill myself.

Next thing I know I was being admitted to the Abbotsford psych ward and asked to remove all my clothing and jewelry.

For the next 10 days I was a psych ward patient, stripped of my clothes, belongings and rights.

But, it saved my life.

Which brings me to the title of this post; I’m sorry.

After the medication began to stabilize my thoughts, I realized what this past decade has done to my life.

I’d been pushing friends and family out of my life because – like when I was 23 – I told myself that “once everyone has left you, it’s time to kill yourself and end this hurt.”

For years, I blamed my isolation on creative drive, avoiding alcohol, not enjoying small-talk.

I blamed friends, family and everyone but myself for my actions.

I’ve ruined friendships, relationships and rarely even spoke to my own family members.

I told myself it was because I was too busy with work, driven towards fulfilling my dream of becoming a published writer, or simply because I was an introvert.

It was all a lie.

I was depressed, bipolar and suffered debilitating social anxiety.

That’s why I didn’t return your calls, accept your invites to parties, pretended I didn’t see you when I walked passed you in the mall and deleted all my social media.

I was fulfilling a self-destructive prophecy to end my life.

And, I came close.

Again.

So, I am sorry to everyone I’ve hurt. Everyone I’ve left behind. Everyone I’ve bullied, judged or pushed away.

Bipolar isn’t an “excuse.”

I accept responsibility for my past actions and can understand if you can’t forgive me or accept what I’ve done.

But, just know that my biggest regret is losing touch with each and every one of you.

I love you all and I am sorry, so fucking sorry.

I hope that we can rekindle a piece of what was lost.

But, I understand if that’s not what you want and I’m accepting of your choice.

I love you all.

…Love Life or Die Trying is me unravelling the destruction my depression has caused in my life.

Not to dwell, but to learn.

And teach others that there is hope.

There is help.

And, you are worth it.

I’m sorry.

My Curse of 27

When I was eight, my mom dropped my brother and I off at school.

As we pulled into the parking lot the Canadian flag was flying at half-mast.

“Why is the flag like that?” I asked my mom.

She was slow and hesitant in her response.

“A boy in grade five,” she swallowed heavy, “hung himself in his bedroom closet this weekend.”

I didn’t understand what that meant.

“It means that he won’t be coming to school anymore.”

“Why?” I asked, having no prior insight into suicide.

“Because his girlfriend dumped him and he was sad, so he killed himself.”

“You can do that?”

As I walked towards class, I remembered when I was 4 and had my first experience with death; my great-grandpa’s open casket funeral.

My dad told me to stay away from the coffin, but while he was out smoking a cigarette I snuck in and looked at his cold, lifeless body and poked him to see if he’d wake up.

In the school parking lot that day I understood that death was an option, not just an act of God.

My child’s mind came to associate feelings of sadness with suicide.

Life took on a new meaning; a video game that – if you’re bored of playing – can be unplugged, anytime.

Game over.

Soon after, I was introduced to the music of Nirvana and felt a bond between myself and Kurt Cobain.

I’d always felt out-of-place as the artsy, writer kid.

Kurt made me feel alive in my own skin and allowed me to overlook other kid’s criticism that I was a nerd.

Kurt Cobain made it feel cool to be different.

I began to find comfort in my writing and drawing and it became a daily obsession.

I strived to write poetry that I could imagine Kurt Cobain singing in front of millions of adoring fans and made drawings I envisioned on album covers.

His music and odd-ball personality made me feel like there was hope in making a career out of creativity, something my father disapproved of, harshly.

Two years later, my mom and I were driving to the mall when the radio cut-off mid-song and there was dead-air for thirty seconds.

“I’m sorry,” the radio host whimpered, holding back tears, “that I have to be the person to tell you this.”  I turned up the volume.

“Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home this morning with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”

The car stopped and my mom’s eyes went wide with fear as she watched for a reaction in me.

I asked her to leave the keys in the ignition and leave me alone for a few minutes, and as soon as she shut the car door, I broke down in tears.

All of a sudden, the man who I aspired to be like had killed himself.

He too must have been sad like the boy from elementary school.

If my idol – who I frantically tried to creatively emulate – couldn’t find happiness in life, I was doomed to failure.

After Kurt Cobain’s death, there was a wave of copy-cat suicides, as teenagers were shooting themselves with shotguns every day in tribute to their fallen hero.

It worried my mom, so I didn’t have to go to school for the next few days.

Instead I laid in bed and plotted my own life’s demise.

My world crumbled, from this point forward.

My mind became consumed with death.

I began to plot the end of my life; write a few books and once people start to read them, kill yourself.

That way, I’d never be forgotten.

Years later, I tattooed 27 on my wrist, as if X marked the spot…