Never have I ever.

-Experienced such profound levels of anxiety, stress, fear, heartbreak, and relentless confusion.

Having now been home for a week, I’m faced with a reality I’ve spent every second of my adult life trying to avoid.

I need to find a new place to live, and run my business, and I don’t know how to begin to do that. With every box I pack, or move I make to uproot, I’m crushed under a fairly expansive emotional collapse spinning out about every other single aspect associated with it.

Will I make enough money to live in a place in the Bay Area where I can exist comfortably, run my business, or is there a second, or third job on the horizon? If so, what? Where? Will I even have enough energy to operate my business, or do I scrap AHTBM entirely, and leave the state to live out my years bagging groceries? Where do I keep my camper long enough, so I can fill the back of my truck with whatever I can fit to take it all to Goodwill? Do I even keep the camper, or will that ultimately be the refuge that I’ll eventually rely upon for shelter? If I leave the Bay Area, what does that look like? Do I want to travel that far from the coast where my mom, dad and sister all live? Do I ever see this life again? Where do I sell my bikes? How do I even get them all there? Do I schedule an open house and just have a fire sale? And how do I face the conclusion of this thing I banked on being forever, because had I known it wasn’t, I would have walled myself off a long time ago. And what would that have looked like? How do I redefine what looks to my eyes like a spectacular failure to just being another chapter of life? How much therapy is it going to take before I am no longer vigorously and constantly running my hands over my face and through my hair in some sort of impulsive and subconscious attempt as wiping myself into a different reality? And for at least a few months I thought I was on a pretty good path. How is it that I now feel so completely wrecked? Like, all I want to do is either run until the wheels fall off, or crawl-out-of-my-own-skin, wrecked? And then, when all of those thoughts return to their usual dull roar, the knot in my throat swells back up and the cycle starts all over again.

Where am I going to live? I don’t want to be homeless again. I don’t want to live in a crawl space under the stairs in a flop house again. I don’t want to live in a condemned bar again.

I’m forty-nine, and starting all over.

Self doubt, over-analyzation, heart break, disappointment…

Jesus Christ, I dislike every second of every minute of every hour of this, yet I know it ultimately, and eventually will make me a better, stronger, more self reliant person.

Or do I sit with that hope, completely immobilized by this indescribable discomfort, and face daily nausea, and move methodically, and mindfully for however long it takes, into whatever phase of my life is next?

That seems like the wisest answer, but not at all one in which I’m prone to engage.

I tell you what, my first two days back were real nice, but then, upon packing up my books, and removing all of the artwork from the walls, my monkey mind took over and to an unprecedented degree, has absolutely fucking leveled me.

So though never have I ever experienced any of this, that, or the other thing(s), or the management of any of it, at least until tomorrow, I guess I have no choice but to try.

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16 Responses to “Never have I ever.”

  1. Joe December 3, 2019 at 7:32 am #

    It’s easy to get stuck in a place that is familiar, where friends are, where your home is. Yet, sometimes it might be good to set out and see if another place grabs you. I know not easy. The world can seem impersonal and indifferent. Gather all your gumptions and hit the road. Go visit friends. Find a trail out on the freakin middle of nowhere that climbs to the top of some place with a view of nothing but open space you know not where you are looking at and bellow, jump up and down till you can’t anymore. Or go to a dive bar in some town you’ve never been or just passed through and get plowed. Or find a place overlooking the ocean with nothing but a jug of water and 10 grams of mushrooms. Or whatever … shit… anything gets you out of your familiar rut. Yet no matter what, do just do.

    • Stevil December 3, 2019 at 7:35 am #

      That’s literally what I’ve been doing since June. (I missed you while I was in Flagstaff, by the way). I was just hoping for a little stability, but that I guess, is all about how one defines it.

  2. Dayna December 3, 2019 at 7:47 am #

    When I went through a big traumatic transition, I moved to a little artsy mountain town where I sort of knew one person. It allowed me to start again without clinging to habits and I think that really helped. Having to present an interesting self helped me to define myself in a new way. I did a fuck ton of yoga. I’m sorry you’re suffering, I’m rooting for you.

  3. Bianca December 3, 2019 at 8:50 am #

    I don’t know you except for in the internet world, but I believe in you. we may not be going through the same thing, but so much of what you express is echoed within my own mind. life can be a real turd sometimes, but it can be so fucking good too. the way I see it, is it’s all cyclical. everything is in constant flux, from whatever situations in which we find ourselves, down to the cellular level of our own physical being. I find comfort in that, because even though it means the good times often come to an end, the bad times end as well.

  4. Fahzure December 3, 2019 at 10:03 am #

    Get a job? I know that may sound like selling out but it may be the anchor you need. You could pick a cause or org you think is worthy. Not having to figure out and rely on yourself for everything might be surprisingly comfortable.

  5. Rocky December 3, 2019 at 10:07 am #

    As the cat-clinging-to-the-tree poster I see in my mind’s eye every time someone tells me they’re going through a hard time says, “hang in there.” I can’t remember where I heard it, and I’m paraphrasing here, but someone said, “Life is a gift. Suffering is the price we have to pay for it.” That helps me, for some reason. Or as I say every time something monumentally good or bad happens in my life: “All the cliches are true.” Sometimes you just have to live it. Do like the cat says, hang in there. Need more non-sequiturs? The Burger King vegan burger is good.

  6. Tim December 3, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

    Positive thoughts sending your way…I went through this 2 years ago…and your post hits close to home…lean on your friends and community…PMA

  7. T2X December 3, 2019 at 1:13 pm #

    Went through a tough relationship breakup. Kids involved etc. Eventually worked out that all I had to do was swing my legs over the side of the bed and put on my shoes. If I could manage just that one thing everything else would follow.

    Dog speed brother.

  8. Cary December 3, 2019 at 1:22 pm #

    Ignore your age, trust your life experience. It’s a huge effort now and will be for quite a while. Mine took years to really settle In and find a groove again. Yours will take as long as you need it to as well. It’s worth the work and work it is. You are the most important “piece” you’ve created. The living self portrait.

  9. Gripsgirl December 3, 2019 at 3:14 pm #

    Life is a son of a bitch mister Stevil. Come to Seattle I have some trails to show u. I promise I won’t make u work at the airport. 🙂

  10. Asa Salas Shoemaker December 3, 2019 at 3:55 pm #

    One day at a time, or one moment at a time, whatever gets you through. Starting completely over, whether by your own or another’s choice is never easy. I have done it a couple of times. It was easier when I was young, not so easy when I was 42. Breathe deep and know you have friends.

  11. Alessandra Gunz December 3, 2019 at 7:51 pm #

    Change is rarely easy, but it is essential to personal progress. Good luck and keep on keeping on.

  12. Gazmuth December 4, 2019 at 1:06 am #

    Memories, all of those memories, good and bad, and the object isn’t all that sets the field, it also requires the knowledge of the site where that memory developed. I feel for you Stevil, I won’t say why, but, yeah, I do understand what goes through your mind as you once again pick up an object associated with a memory, and that world comes tumbling right on into our mind. In Amarillo, at the tender age of 18 years of age, a man, who may have been wise, I am not sure, but he told me, “Son, you have to set out on a mission in order to have a base for your life.”

    That took me on my journey through life, and I have a lot of memories that I deal with, some are easy, a lot are hard, but it is our lives, and not to be taken slightly. You have to do what you need to do, be it confusing, be it so very hard to decide. You are an entity of it’s own, you will make good and bad decisions, and you will wonder what you were thinking at that time.

    But like all of us here, you are a survivor, and whatever you decide, it will be the right decision for you, and my suggestion is, “Don’t look back, and Keep on Spinning!”

  13. Kelli December 4, 2019 at 3:49 am #

    I was laying here awake at 4:30, unable to sleep in the aftermath of a soul crushing bomb that decimated my life last week. Scanning my brain for any source of relief, I started thinking about those postcards on Budweiser chipboard that used to arrive unexpectedly at my place in mpls, bringing wit and wisdom to the dreariest of days. So I meandered over to ahtbm. Shit. I’m sorry Steve.
    It’s ok to be leveled. But every 24 hours rinse a layer of misery off and and continue. With what, I have no idea. Speaking from my vantage point here in the depths of despair, I can say with some confidence that you are not alone. You won’t be homeless. What’s mine is yours. You’ve got a network of friends whose lives you’ve enriched for years. We are here to house, feed, entertain, whatever you need. Put shit in storage. If you need a place to stay in the snowy north woods of MN, the key is under the mat. And when I figure out where I’m landing, you’re welcome there too.
    You are a cat. No matter how bad it looks when you’re falling, you always land on your feet. You are amazing. You’re in the middle of a shit storm, but you’ll come out the other side. If you need anything, let me know.

    • Mr. Bubble(s) December 5, 2019 at 7:07 am #

      Sorry you’re going through this. I left The Bay and my friends 7 years ago, following a girlfriend to Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the time, it was a workable place – a one bedroom was average $600, small town, easy going. Since then, rents have doubled, wages stagnated, people are stressed and can’t find housing, I am welcoming people fleeing from California almost every month. Gathering other peoples experiences across the country: At this this moment there is no shangri-la in America. It’s pretty much the same deal everywhere. Unless you can buy property, the clock is always ticking. We were all raised to believe if we worked hard and applied ourselves to something it would all work out. It sucks it’s so much about survival. Do everything you can to stay in your home. The Bay is so vicious right now, but even if dreams come true somewhere else: Without friends, community and family then what is it really worth? Keep riding, we’re in you corner.

  14. Jamie December 9, 2019 at 5:35 am #

    Every now and again when I can’t sleep I think about you and hope you are okay. I don’t even know you, beyond some e-mail orders and messages we have had back and forth, but it’s a recurring feeling as I go through marital issues and uncertainties of my own and the tremendous depression that goes along with feeling like what you thought was your world is clinging by a thread. I think we’re all thinking of you, and reading the messages here I’m glad you have a good support system. I hope in some way or form no matter what you have to do AHTBM remains. It’s still my favorite thing on the internet by a million miles.
    Take care and best wishes.