Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

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Hi friends! This past month has been a huge growth period for me. Some really awesome things have come about and I want to share them with you all. Of course, one really bad thing happened, too. Can’t have the light without the dark.

I got a promotion to full time at my day job earlier this month. I’m now a Clinical Records Assistant, which is such a fancy title. Basically, I maintain charts for mental health clients and serve as back-up receptionist. Who am I kidding…most of our clients still come to me. lol I got a slight raise as well, but it’s a nonprofit agency so I’m not rolling in the dough. I now work the day shift, so I’ve had to adapt from working afternoons. This is not easy for someone nocturnal like me. I’m exhausted, but happy. There is less stress usually because I don’t have to constantly answer the phone or resolve client concerns. I still have plenty of work to do though and that keeps me busy.

I am now also the Music Editor for Carpe Nocturne. Anyone that knows me knows that music is my number one love. I’m very honored and excited to begin this role. I’ll have quite a bit more responsibility, so I’ll need to step my game up. I’ve been a writer for the magazine for less than a year and I’ve learned tons and honed my writing/research skills during that time. I really never thought I’d ever be a part of something this epic. I aim to make you proud, Michael. Thank you for believing in me and boosting my confidence. 😀

Work finally began on the floors in my new house. When the workers ripped up the rotten wood, they found a bit of asbestos wrapped around a pipe in the kitchen and some in the bathroom as well. Luckily, it was a quick fix and the asbestos has been removed. The workers also discovered that the walls of the house were being held up by cinder blocks. :/ I’ve found that pretty much everything in the house wasn’t done correctly. We ripped out the tub surround in the bathroom and found a beautiful cast iron bathtub underneath covered in glue. The previous owners were stupid. I’ve started picking out my laminate wood flooring, tile, bathroom fixtures and vanity, etc. There’s so much to think about. I was in Home Depot and Lowe’s for about four hours and didn’t even accomplish much. lol Will I be moved in by Halloween? I damn sure better be. 😉

Earlier today, I passed my first kidney stone. That was quite an adventure I never want to experience again. I was abruptly awoken this morning with excruciating pain in my lower flank. I’ve never felt pain like that before. And it wouldn’t stop. I kind of thought it might be a kidney stone, even though I’d never had one before. So, my parents rushed me to the doctor, where he thought it was a kidney stone as well. He gave me a urine hat to collect the stone once it passed and it did not long after I got home, thankfully. We think I wasn’t drinking enough fluids/too much Coke. Needless to say, I’m virtually cutting out soda moving forward. The tears are real, but my health is all I have.

The worst news of all happened a week ago. My sister abruptly left home and moved in with a guy she had only known for a couple of days. My sister is 22 and has never lived on her own before, plus she’s very immature for her age. My whole family is in distress. My sister refuses to come home and is saying we are all horrible people. She brought cops to our home to collect her belongings, which was completely unnecessary and embarrassing. This guy and his mom are having my sister do all kinds of work around their house and drive them around, when she can barely drive. The situation is insane and my family knows these people are manipulating and taking advantage of my sister. The police say there is nothing they can do. I just want my sister to come home. She is not well and we can get her help.

It’s beyond difficult to focus on anything with my sister and family in crisis. I have to remember that she’s an adult. I can’t help but fight to save her. There have been many sleepless nights. I think I should do something for myself. It’s been a long time since my last photo shoot. Maybe that’s what I’ll plan next. Escape into fantasy for a bit. Reality is too much sometimes.

I’ll leave off with a new song from Swedish electronica group Ashbury Heights. Their progression is really fun to follow through the looking glass.

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Death

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Where do I even begin? Creatively, things just haven’t been blossoming for me. I don’t have time to take crazy photos, make song covers, or even write anymore. I hate it, because those are the activities that make me the happiest.

I suppose I should go into details. Three people (two family members and one close neighbor) died recently and it’s just drained everything from me. I physically cannot go to another funeral. Just yesterday, my uncle’s body was found in a creek behind an abandoned factory. He had been missing since January in the worst winter I’ve ever experienced in Michigan. My family knew he was dead, but we couldn’t be absolutely sure until his body was found. My mom had to go with my aunts to identify his body at the morgue. I feel so bad for her. I know I’m dark and have a fascination with morbid stuff, but this is repulsing and completely horrid.

My uncle had a rough life. But, it was his own doing. As a child, he began huffing gasoline, paint thinner, and anything else that would give him a high. Why anyone would do such a thing is beyond me. My mom has told me stories about my uncle huffing paint thinner-soaked rags in a crawl space underneath her childhood home and the horrendous smell of it when her family dragged him out. His wild eyes were burned into my mom’s memory forever. From huffing gas, my uncle went on to become a criminal, the worst alcoholic I’ve ever seen, and in general a terrorist to his own family. My grandparents took him to psychiatric hospitals and specialists from all over to try and get help for him, but nothing worked. He ended up in jail more times than anyone could count and was homeless as well. I don’t think he ever held a real job and made money in a unique way. He would ride his bike everyday to gas stations all throughout the community to collect soda bottles in dumpsters that he could return for cash to buy booze. He was a legitimate dumpster diver.

I’m sure I sound heartless and apathetic relating my uncle’s life story, but that’s because I never had a relationship with him. He rarely came to family functions. When he did, he was wasted and acting like a fool. I was really afraid of him. I’m tearing up now because I realize that I did love him. Everyone in the family had cut themselves off completely from feeling any emotion towards him for so long. I think we couldn’t allow ourselves to get hurt anymore. Now that he’s gone, we can finally be vulnerable again.

I can only remember one positive memory with my uncle. I was a kid and he showed up at our Christmas gathering with gifts for his nieces and nephews, which shocked us all.  They were super cheap gifts from a drugstore, but I know he was proud that he was able to buy them. I recall having a long conversation with him which was rambling and confusing. I’m sure it was due to the brain damage he undoubtedly suffered from huffing. However, through the conversation I could tell that he was proud of me. He encouraged me to stay in school and praised my good grades. I don’t think I ever spoke to him again after that. That conversation has always stayed with me, though.

In more recent times, there is only sadness surrounding thoughts of my uncle. My grandma (his mom) died a few years ago and he attempted to get clean for her funeral. A lot of people don’t know that alcohol is the one drug that you cannot quit cold turkey. You have to medically detox from it because the withdrawal is so dangerous. In the past, when my uncle got hit by cars while drunkenly riding his bike (the man was hit by more cars than I can count) and ended up in the hospital, the nurses would give him a can of beer. This was so he wouldn’t have a massive seizure due to the shock on his body from not drinking alcohol for an extended period of time. Alcoholics must be slowly weaned off of the drug. So, my uncle just stopped drinking completely a couple of days before the funeral and had a massive seizure, landing him unconscious. He was in intensive care in the hospital during my grandma’s funeral. He tried to do the right thing, which I give him credit for. It really was unfortunate that he couldn’t make it to his own mother’s funeral.

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding my uncle’s death. He left his house (where he lived with his evil girlfriend) in the middle of a huge snowstorm to get liquor, I believe. He was very disoriented and not in good health, having just been released from the hospital after he was found unconscious on the rat-infested basement floor of his house. His girlfriend and her family were supposed to be caring for him and obviously neglected him for days. He was barely alive when they found him, but my uncle could survive anything. My family knows that my uncle’s girlfriend was stealing his Social Security checks and that’s the only reason she wanted him to live with her. Her home was not a healthy environment for him, but I guess it was better than the streets.

Back to the day of my uncle’s death…his girlfriend got a call from my uncle some time after he left out into the snow that day. He was frantic and incoherent. He was talking about the water…the water…and a yellow building in the distance. It’s so eerie to imagine him dying. His girlfriend told him to call 911 for help, so he attempted, but he was still confused and they couldn’t figure out where he was located. His cell phone was pinging off various towers around the area. A half-assed search ensued as my uncle lived in a high crime city with a lazy police force. They didn’t care about finding him and it sickens me. It turns out that the water was a creek/river two feet deep behind a yellow abandoned steel factory five blocks long with a YELLOW fence encompassing it. And this location was only a few blocks from my uncle’s house. Seriously. His body was found by a fisherman and was badly decomposed as he had been exposed to the elements for months. We don’t know if he froze or drowned to death…or something more sinister. An autopsy is being conducted. So much is wrong with this whole situation. What an injustice!

My uncle’s girlfriend and her family supposedly looked for my uncle every day he was missing. They allegedly hung up photos of him around town and searched everywhere. But, didn’t think to look around the huge yellow factory right in their neighborhood. I detect major foul play, as the girlfriend continued to collect my uncle’s government checks long after he went missing. All of this sounds like a movie, I know. I’m exhausted just writing it all down.

We have to plan a funeral for my uncle and I can’t even think about it. I’m just hoping for better days ahead. I also wanted to mention that I had another uncle die recently from cancer, which was very sad. Attending his memorial held during a Greek Orthodox church service was quite an experience. And my sweet next door neighbor, who lived next to me my whole life, passed away from cancer earlier this month as well. She was always complaining, but had a huge heart and I miss her dearly. I spent a lot of time during the summers with her and her partner growing up. My house just isn’t the same anymore.

So, that’s what’s been happening in my life. I don’t want to bring anyone down with this post. I just have to get all of it out of my system to move on and get closure. This is my therapy. Summer will be here soon and that always makes me happy. I’m discussing moving out of my parent’s house and looking at places of my own, which is exciting. I also got contacts! So, I can actually play with makeup more because I’ll be able to see what I’m doing without wearing my glasses and not poke myself in the eye with an eyeliner pencil. I’m going to get back to recording songs and filming videos ;). Life will get better because it can’t get worse.

 Lots of love,

~Asylum

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

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I really enjoy reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Intervention, True Life, and Gypsy Sisters. If you blend those all together, take away the censors, and greatly amplify the shocking antics, you’d get The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. It’s a documentary following four generations of the Whites, a family of outlaws from Boone County, West Virginia. This could quite possibly be the most dysfunctional and entertaining family I’ve ever encountered. 

I’ll introduce you to some of the members:

Bertie Mae White:  She’s the matriarch of the White family at 84 years old. Bertie Mae doesn’t like it when her children blow pot in her face and crush up and snort pills. They do it regardless. Bless poor Bertie Mae.

Jesco White:  The wildest White in my opinion, he’s one of Bertie Mae’s children. He’s a “famous” mountain dancer who huffed gasoline growing up, followed in his deceased father D Ray’s dancing footsteps, and legitimately frightens me. The film White Lightnin’ is based loosely on Jesco’s life.

Mamie White:  Mamie is my favorite member of the family. She is Jesco’s older sister and she likes to party. Mamie sings a mean “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seems to be a prescription drug dealer. She wants her funeral to be a wild party. I respect that.

Mamie White

Sue Bob White: The self-proclaimed sexiest White, Sue Bob is Bertie Mae’s youngest child. Her son Brandon shot a man’s face off and almost killed him. He’s in prison. Apparently she’s in jail now, too. Don’t take her to Taco Bell. I repeat: Under no circumstances should she ever be taken to Taco Bell.

Kirk White: Kirk is one of Bertie Mae’s grandchildren. CPS took her baby before she could even leave the hospital with it. I think it might have been because Kirk and another woman were snorting pills in the hospital room right after she gave birth, but what do I know. Kirk goes to rehab and gets clean by the end of the documentary. But, not before flashing her boobs on a night out.

Those are some awesome names, right? While this documentary is very funny, it’s also eye opening. The culture of Appalachia is very different to that of the rest of the U.S. Coal mining is still a popular and dangerous job there and poverty is just a way of life. Boone County doesn’t seem like an easy place to succeed. I can’t really blame the Whites for resorting to crime to survive. Getting social security checks for all of your children by claiming they’re all crazy is some next level shit, though.

It’s clear that the little kids in the film weren’t raised in the most innocent atmosphere. Kirk’s son Tylor drops f-bombs and says he’s going to kill her ex-boyfriend. He was literally bouncing off the walls after drinking 6 cans of soda. It’s inappropriate behavior for any age, but it’s extra alarming coming from a child. The insane part is that the parents see nothing wrong with their kids swearing and doing whatever they please. That’s how they were raised and the cycle continues.

There’s a rumor floating around that the Whites were supposed to get their own reality TV show. That would be epic! I don’t know what channel could show it, seeing how explicit it is. Mamie claims that Johnny Knoxville, the executive producer, didn’t give the family as much money as they were promised for the film. She feels like her and her family were used and I can definitely agree with her. Throughout the documentary, it was obvious that producers were egging the family on. Shock value sells.

If you love drama, obscenity, and picnic table clogging, then this documentary is a must-see. It kept me enthralled and I’ve watched it numerous times. I swear my Southern ancestors draw me to this stuff.

kirk