Buy the ticket, take the ride.


I feel melancholic today; or is it nostalgic? The two are intertwined in my mind.

I often think about how I got where I am today. And how my life would look if I made slightly better decisions, or slightly worse decisions, if I were a little luckier, or a little less…

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t. You’re right.”

I wrote that on the edge of a bookshelf above my desk when I was 20 years old. It is a quote from Henry Ford; a man I had never sought inspiration from before. However, when I reflect on my life, that moment in my life, when I wanted so much for that quote to be true; it changed my life.

At 18 I found myself a highschool drop-out of two years. I was emotionally erratic, insecure, and volatile. Jigi witnessed it, my downward spiral into depression, sex addiction, and drugs… I smoked marijuana for the first time at 14, lost my at virginity at 15, dropped acid for the first time at 16, I was violent, and self-mutilating… I bear scars on my arms 20 years later, and they still look like it happened a month ago. Skin has a long memory, self-harm is so brutal.

I grew up in a southwestern town in New Mexico, a border town. In the late 90s Mexican pharmacies didn’t know the gold mine they sat upon. Blister packs of xanax for a few dollars, large vials of ketamine for $15. It was like the dollar store for drugs. At the border crossing they never searched Jigi, however the drugs were safely stowed in a vibrator inserted into her vagina, just in case…

The name of this forum is “Life stories and blogs”; right about now I am thinking this is not the type of story they had in mind… I usually lean-in to this feeling and avoid sharing my life with people, but I am trying something different today.

I grew up in a Christian family, Nazarene… My father is an orphan and was sexually abused, my mother also came from an abusive household but never talks about it. One of my earliest memories was at 4yrs of age, my cousin and I were playing with matches and burnt the rug in the laundry room. My father taught us a lesson by lighting a match and burning it out on each of our arms. It was painful and we still have matching scars… Huh.. “matching” scars.. heh.

I spent summers on my grandparents’ farm. They were simple people, biblical. I was always at odds with their ideology. But I loved the farm. Fields as far as you could see. I could walk out to utter and complete solitude, I might be obliged to say hi to a cow, If I felt like it.. My imagination ran wild on the farm, always playing, and climbing, and riding. I also got into a lot of trouble, and the beatings at the hand of my grandfather were much more severe than what I got at home. I did not care though, he could beat me with his belt until he was blue in the face, I still was not buying what he was selling.

As a kid I had a love for animals, but I always felt like they hated animals at the farm. The echoing pain of a calf crying out as its branded, decapitating chickens... As a child I found these things disturbing. The first time my grandfather killed a rattlesnake in front of me I told him it was wrong to do that. To which he replied “serpents are the root of all evil and god expects us to kill them”… I loved snakes, and lizards, and spiders... Like I said, I was never buying what he was selling.

I think I was around 10 yrs old, my cousin and I liked to scare the sheep off the feed trailer. The feed trailer was a large dual axle unit with rebar welded on each of the sides forming a V shape in the middle, this cradled the round baled hay. Sheep would climb up on top of the hay to feed, and we thought it funny to watch them scatter in every direction as we snuck up to scare them. This exercise didn’t end well, a sheep caught a piece of sharp rebar after leaping off the top of a hay bale, ripping the belly open end to end and spilling the organs. The poor thing was not dead, and the cry was dreadful. We could hear it echoing throughout the whole farm as we walked back to the house to tell my grandfather what we had done…

I didn’t get a beating that day. Instead, my grandfather placed a pistol in my hand and told me to clean up my mess… Perhaps he thought that was worse than a beating, perhaps it was. I stared down at the pistol in my hands the entire journey back to the pasture. I remember it vividly, so well I can identify the firearm from memory, a 1960s vintage Colt Trooper 357 revolver, first generation. What a fitting place to encounter such a firearm… It took two shots because I closed my eyes. It remains one of the most vivid lessons about consequences that I carry from childhood...


By the time I was 17 I was rebelling hard against my family, I felt like I never met the expectations of my mother and loathed her trying to control every aspect of my life with force. My father was passive, to a fault, we got along but he never told me he loved me, not once. I think, in hindsight I was in a lot of pain and I channeled it inward. Self-harm was soothing, drugs were soothing, I was in such disarray about not feeling loved or accepted by my family that I found the answer to all my problems in girls, drugs, and self-harm.

Jigi, she was a beautiful petite “goth girl” and interested in a broken boy. We met when I was 15 and we had a 7yr relationship. Jigi was bisexual, she introduced me to a lot of different ideas and experiences. Atheism, sex, and psychedelics most notably. She had a way with girls, and many were very forward about wanting to have sex with her. To which she would offer to have a threesome with them, and sometimes we did, leading to my first group sex experiences at the age of 16. We also fought, massively. Jealousy on both sides, possessiveness on both sides, lies and betrayal. We were children.

There was an inflection point in my life around this time. Jigi and I went to the State Fair, and decided to dose psychedelic mushrooms in the parking lot before going in. By the time it kicked-in we were already arguing, and she decided she wanted me to take her home. The parking lot looked like a damn ocean by the time we got back to it and I was incredibly pissed and scared to make the 15-mile trek home. My heart still races when I think about this. We went over a median at speed, screaming at each other. I ended up in hand cuffs that day. A month later I ended up in handcuffs again on marijuana charges and reckless driving.

When it came time to face a judge, I would like to say I got lucky, but it was not luck. My parents are resourceful people, and financially sound. On my day in court I had legal representation, a new suit and a fresh hair cut with two well dressed concerned parents at my side. The final ruling - all charges would be dropped If I saw a counselor and attended a defensive driving course. Unbelievable. In contrast, Jigi was placed on probation. I do not think it had occurred to me before, the power of manipulation, and how unjust the world could be.

I was 18. Jigi had a strict curfew now, and I was living with my best friend Duran. I loved hanging out with Duran because he didn’t do drugs, but didn’t mind when I did, often serving as my dd. I remember one inspiring night I took some sort of psychedelic and we decided to take my dog Buddy on a walk at the local university campus. The campus had a large field that we laid down in, I could hear the echoes of people practicing instruments in the distance. The Music building was located opposite to the Research Sciences building which stood proud with the glowing sunset gleaning, shade was cast on the last of the markings of a giant sun dial statue in front of the building. I suddenly envied the people coming and going, I sat and watched them. I asked Duran if he thought I could ever do something like “that” with my life. He told me, “I have always felt like if any of us succeed, it will be you.”. As the token druggy-burnout of my small group of friends, I was completely surprised by that response. I don't know why he believed in me... I should call him.

I began to work on myself, surrounding myself with positive affirmations, and I completely stopped self-harm cold turkey, never did it again. I decided to go back to school, a local community college. I don’t have a high school diploma, so I had to take a placement exam when I decided to attend my local community college. I placed in remedial English and basic arithmetic… So that is where I started. I wanted to be a “scientist”, though I did not have a developed concept of what that meant at the time. I recall being in the math tutor center, an engineering student from the university was helping me with my algebra homework. He realized quickly that I didn’t have the multiplication table memorized, and at some point, asked me what my major was. To which I replied that I wanted to be a scientist, maybe even an engineer like him.

I realize now how naive that must have sounded to him; his sympathetic response was that I should choose a major that requires less math because people who study in the sciences are much better at math than I am. That hurt. But I proved him wrong. It took a lot of work and time to earn enough credits to be accepted to a university, which is where I finally found direction and real inspiration. It was the day of my first chemistry lecture, the professor said - “This is the periodic table of the elements, and you are going be learning about all of them, well, not all of them, those at the bottom are the lanthanides and actinides and they break all of the rules, so we won’t be learning about those”.

Elements that break all the rules? Oh hell yeah! As it turns out I would find that group of elements so captivating that it would guide my future studies and career. I eventually accepted an academic scholarship for graduate studies and moved to another part of the country, eventually earning my masters degree in a field of applied particle physics. When I tell people now that I am a high school dropout, nobody believes me. When I stop to think about it for a moment, I am really fucking proud of that.
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Jigi and I were struggling while I was in undergrad. My perception of her changed, I started to see her as a stoned slug that never wanted to leave the couch. My attraction for her waned. And she became romantically attached to a female friend, Rainy. I liked Rainy, I thought she was good for Jigi, but the dynamic became strained after a threesome, the morning after which Rainy and I had sex alone which was NOT okay with Jigi. We decided to take a “break” aka. have sex while technically “broken up”. Which worked fine for Jigi, until her best friend Bird took an interest in me and I in her.

Bird was the exact opposite of Jigi, a hard worker and highly active. Bird loved camping, and hiking, and music. We bonded over unique music interests and the rest is history. Bird is now my wife and we have a beautiful daughter together. Jigi and Bird had a fallout of epic proportions and have not spoken since. It’s an odd contrast, Bird and I have a certain love for Jigi and at times will talk to each other about it, celebrating if you will, the impression Jigi left on each of our lives. Jigi on the other hand, thinks we are scum of the earth… Maybe we are…

Bird knew everything about my history with Jigi and in the beginning was open to something like non-monogamy, the term polyamory still had not entered my vocabulary yet. Bird openly talked about her openness to surrogacy, as well as her desires to share a man between two friends. Bird assumed I was sex positive, kinky, and sexually expressive. But the Christian moral indoctrination I received as a child was deep rooted. And I didn’t know how I felt about formalized non-monogamy. Bird would openly talk about sexual experiences with her exes and I found myself jealous and insecure, we started fighting about it. I wasn’t what she thought I was, in fact I didn’t know what I was at all… We tabled the conversations, all of them, and were monogamous. But ultimately the relationship ended and Bird moved out.

I briefly dated a wholesome girl that I met in one of my classes, Dove, sexually inexperienced, prudish, and judgmental. She was everything that my mother had modeled for me, something inside me was saying this is the most desirable “type” of woman, this “type” of woman is a keeper. Dove vehemently opposed my use of drugs and was very jealous and possessive. It was the first time a woman had ever asked me to stop hanging out with my friends. To make matters worse, during this time I started getting word about people in my extended friend group passing away from overdose. Maybe she was right... I began to see two distinct paths open up for my future…


Very interesting! Can't wait to hear what happened next


Dove triggered something inside of me. She initiated my program. It begins as sort of an innocence in love, followed by not meeting her expectations, and ending in animosity and conflict. This felt familiar to me…

Sex, for Dove was confused with an internal conflict of guilt and shame. She had a nervous demeanor in the bedroom and was quiet, stifling her voice. When her defenses were down, during an orgasm, she let out a polite squeal and clenched hard, leaning into the feeling. I found this dance quite erotic, but I felt like an observer. I would observe her during sex, analytically, she preferred it gentle and slow, with her eyes closed. And yet, she was holding on for dear life, tense and scared. I was inside of her, but there was no closeness. After release, she would look at me and let creep her first smile, like she was relieved the ride was finally over…

Eventually I realized that I saw Dove as a perfect little thing.. To defile.. I was objectifying her. Near the end, I could not figure out if I felt love or hatred when I fucked her.

Dove positioned herself squarely against my friend Todd, he was enemy number one. It was my fault, Todd was at my house one night and I texted Dove a picture of a coffee table topped with an assortment of drugs and alcohol, at 3:00am; no doubt accompanied by a snarky remark. I did not realize it at the time, how I was trying to provoke Dove the same way I provoked my mother as a teenager. It worked. I realize now, I resented Dove, as I resented my mother…

When I speculate about how different my life could have been, this moment is pivotal.

I admired Todd, he was charming, socially bold, and played cute folk music on the guitar. A sort of anachronistic dress style… Ok, he was basically a hipster. In my eyes he had this sort of natural magnetism for women, and always a cute female by his side. I looked up to him, I wanted to be more like Todd. We shared a humor together that clicked, and I valued the friendship.

During spring break my friends planned a camping trip. Bird would be there, and Todd obviously, amongst a larger group. I lied to Dove and told her I would be visiting my family. This camping trip would become memorable for two reasons.

The last night was unseasonably nice, the clouds retreated, and the stars contrasted the black sky beautifully courtesy of a new moon. I parked my pickup next to the fire to combat the cool breeze. In the back, Bird, Todd, and I laid under the stars, swallowed by a half-deflated air mattress topped with a ragged goose down comforter; a thrift store-find belonging to Bird no doubt. A bit of chemistry between Todd and Bird did not go unnoticed, and I thought about whether they would be having sex. The thought fled my mind just as quickly. I did not feel jealousy, I felt accepted, happy, and content. Cared for. The three of us fell asleep under the stars that night. Together.

I am an early riser, and often alone in that department. The next morning, I brewed my coffee to go, and went on a hike. When I returned, the group was concerned about Todd, he wasn’t waking up.. As I approached him, I noted that his bottle of liquid valium was cashed. I was sort of relieved, valium has a long biological half-life, and I did not see any evidence of mixing. He was breathing, so we let him sleep it off. I noted it as a close call, but not foreshadowing…

I always preferred drugs that made me feel something. The magic of downers like benzos and opiates was lost on me. I could feel numb all by myself, and often did with no assistance required. I despised opiates, cold blooded killers, and refused to have them in my house. Two weeks after the camping trip, Todd texted me looking for Oxy. I knew. I knew at that moment the significance of his addiction. Because Todd knows how I feel about opiates, he must have been desperate.

My studies were suffering, my relationship with Dove was turning toxic, and I felt the weight of my friend group pulling me down. I was at a crossroads, a path towards tradition with Dove in one direction, or the path to destruction I was already on. I snapped under the pressure and chose neither. I walked away from everyone, cut-off all contacts, and I walked away from illegal drugs completely, never using again. Dove and I went down in flames. I recall household objects hitting me on the back of the head. And placing my knee through piece of original canvas artwork; It was a gift, painted by Dove, commissioned for my birthday two months prior. We never spoke again... Dove is now a full-time artist, internationally admired. My hope is that she has stricken me from her memory completely.

Years later, I discovered through social media that Todd passed away from a drug overdose, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters. I think therefore, that is why I say nostalgia and melancholy are intertwined in my mind. I cannot reflect on these memories fondly. In part, because I abandoned Todd, perhaps at an important time for him. If I had not walked away from Todd, what would it have meant for his life? What would it have meant for mine? What caused me to walk away at that moment… He passed away 8 years ago, if his memory strikes me at a particularly vulnerable moment, I still shed a tear. I am feeling the weight of my years today…


Perhaps consciousness of one’s illness is the biggest hump in recovery… I saw my therapist today Angel, he has a suspicion that I was traumatized as a child… My father is critical of therapists, so much so that I have kept my pursuit private. He is of the opinion that therapists only serve to blame someone’s problems on their parents… I interpret that as an admission of a guilty conscience.

I have a different perspective. The gift I have found in therapy is the instant wisdom that comes from identifying a problem to its origin, it impowers me to see past behaviors from a new perspective and retroactively learn new lessons from past experiences. I can love my parents for the good lessons they bestowed and forgive them for the bad ones, I can choose to reject the programs that do not serve me, it is not personal. Educating myself about trauma has brought me empathy for my family. I see how they were following a program derived from personal traumas, passed down through generations. The affronts now feel less personal…

I have been slacking at work this week, and I feel bad about it. I have had a lot of distractions since my transition to working from home in March of last year… Daisy, my gf, works from home too, some of the distractions have been welcome… Though my afternoon yesterday was shot after being recruited to install a cat genie; it is a toilet for cats... Daisy wanted it for her birthday, I was skeptical about the suitability of such a gift for a celebration, but upon arrival she welcomed it with more excitement than the diamond earrings I bought her for Christmas... Shows what I know…

I have not formally introduced Daisy yet, and probably wont for a while if I am to stay dedicated to a chronological organization in my journal… I’m very disorganized and have left many journals abandoned in my wake, so I am trying to be better. I find writing on a medium very frustrating. I inevitably think of details later that I wish I would have included, and even entire parts of a story that I left out but suddenly seem relevant to me. I begin to see my writing as a flawed document no longer worthy of life, so I shoot it in the head like an injured lamb and discard it, but like I said before, I am trying to get better…


I enjoy typing on this keyboard, I should hope so because I designed it specifically for myself. During the infancy of mass personal computing emphasis was placed on the design and function of keyboards, ideal tactile key feel was thought to be essential to the success of a platform. The inscriptions on the key caps were designed to never fade away, often penetrating through the entirety of the plastic molding… Legends such as the IBM model F were cradled in a metal frame, if an intruder were to break into your office you could bludgeon them to death with it, and then continue typing where you left off.. Keyboards used to be akin to a rancher’s saddle, providing decades of service. They have since gone the way of the commodity, manufactured so cheaply it feels like typing on lumpy mashed potatoes…

My keyboard is a culmination of countless hours of research and trials. At its core, a frame and PCB from my favorite manufacture, they do not sell these components alone, so I had to disassemble a complete unit and de-solder all 108 key-switches. The original key-switches were discarded. I desired a different type of switch altogether, although even they were not sufficient on their own. So, every switch was meticulously disassembled, and the spring replaced, PTFE lubricant was applied to the slide-tracks. Once the individual switches were ready, I soldered them back on to the PCB; 648 solder joints later I had reached... Perfection. If you are curious about how much money I spent on this venture; It is not polite to ask.. ;)

I am placing this story here as an example of my struggle with “perfection”. And I DO mean struggle… My wife Bird would probably use the word “obsession”. My mother was a perfectionist “Do Not Embarrass Me!” echoes throughout my childhood memories. My mother’s priorities are clear, her image as a perfect mother, with a perfect family, prevails above all… She cares deeply about what her children’s misdeeds mean about herself. Actually no. She cares deeply about what outsiders might think about her, if they were to become aware of her children’s misdeeds… If she can convince people her life is peachy, it does not matter to her how fucked-up it truly is underneath the veil of dishonesty.

Therefore, perhaps recognizing that her son was having problems illuminated things she did not want to believe about herself, so instead it was ignored… This is still a sticking point for me, as I am now a father, I could not fathom sitting idle while my child hurts herself. I come back to this often; why my self-harm was ignored I will never understand…

I feel like I inherited the worst of each of my parents… Now that I am out of the closet as a perfectionist it goes without saying my partners were victimized by it… If I was not the disappointment, my partner was... If I was not dating Ms. Perfection, I was Mr. Perfection, and in this role, I was often disappointed, dare I even say “embarrassed” by my partner’s behavior. And how did I react? I knew what to do when someone disappointed me, courtesy a lesson my father taught me as a boy, when I was caught playing with matches. You cause that person pain; you scar that person for life, so they do not EVER forget the consequences of disappointing you.

That is the program I was running when I destroyed the painting Dove created for me. That was the scar I left on her life. I knew its creation was a vulnerable gesture, and how proud of it she was. I wish I could say it was the only sentimental or irreplaceable thing to ever get destroyed by these hands… I wish I could take back thousands of hurtful words, customized perfectly to be delivered in a way that maximized damage and pain…

I feel like a popular saying is “I have no regrets”. I cannot identify with that word combination, at all. I have a lot of regrets. Most of all, I regret not getting help with my mental health sooner. My therapist says that a little bit of guilt is a good thing, it can motivate a person to change. When I lean into the feeling, and become overwhelmed, I begin to try and justify my abuses. I think it is some sort of defense mechanism… Regardless, I must be careful. Recovery is a delicate balance.


I feel so different this week…. Is it normal to feel guilty about bad things you did a decade ago?

This is an exciting week! Coming down from a refreshing holiday weekend I just realized I have a 3-day work week. Saturday night I found myself in the company of all my favorite people, my wife Bird, my girlfriend Daisy, and my daughter… The three of us sat in a circle in the living room and played giant Jenga… I sat on the floor, soaking in the warmth of the fireplace and the soft introspective ambiance of Mac Miller. The perfect amount of beer was in my belly, just enough to put a smile on my face. For a moment I removed myself from the conversation and observed the fire-light dance on their three smiling faces… It was, in a single word, euphoric. A testament to something else I overcame in my life. How to have successful romantic relationships…

After my relationship with Dove ended, my deficiencies as a companion were illuminated and I could no longer ignore them. I knew that I needed to work on myself before my next relationship… For the first time ever in my life, I began receiving counseling at the University I attended. It was a fantastic resource, and during this time I was able to shed light on many of my worst thoughts and feelings, and course correct.

I used to ruminate, and obsess over my partners flaws, particularly if I felt like they had done me wrong. Character Assassination. Incredible how a single concept can be life changing; I realized I was doing it all the time and in all that I did… For example, the benefits of journaling are self-evident. However, when I used to journal, I would write about my partners flaws, all the things they did that hurt me and how bad it made me feel. I would begin to cut my partner down, and insult them in my writing… Journaling is such a powerful tool, and when weaponized, my journals only served to instill negative ideas about my partner, and a victim mentality deeply within myself. This realization stands out in my memory…

I was excited. This self-care “stuff” was better than drugs! I would soon meet my next love, a dark blue 1980s Schwinn Passage bicycle. My home at the time is best described as a shack in an alley, more specifically, a rundown guest house located behind a modest home original to the neighborhood. However, the area was quickly becoming gentrified. This time in history would be known as the run-up to the Great Recession in America. Houses in the neighborhood were changing hands constantly, and as a result the alleyway were well stocked with discarded possessions. That is where I came upon this bicycle.

It was a relatively sad machine when I first encountered it, 20 years of dust covered the decals, the seat and tires were rotten. I walked the bicycle a few blocks over to the local bicycle co-op and found much more than I was looking for. The co-op worked like this, if you completed the classes for a modest fee, you became a certified bicycle mechanic. After that if you stayed on as a volunteer you were granted unlimited access to all the tools and the spare parts bin at no charge. Over the course of several weeks, I spent every Saturday night at the co-op and did a top to bottom, inside and out restoration on my bicycle… It still makes me smile.

I volunteered at the bicycle co-op for about a year. In retrospect, the opportunity to make new friends around a shared interest, a healthy one, was enormously valuable. During that time, I restored many bicycles and even sold a few creating a little side business as I continued to work my way to a bachelor’s degree. I enjoyed the emotional autonomy of my life during this time and became interested in casual dating with a sort of emotional confidence. Coincidentally, the co-op began doing a bicycle art program, and as one of the more competent welders of the group I was asked to volunteer.

One evening, Bird walked through the door. Bird and a group of friends were working on a bicycle sculpture and I assisted as needed. I enthusiastically told her all about the bicycle co-op and she was inspired to restore her own bicycle with my help. One night after closing, Bird and I pedaled off for an evening adventure. We talked and laughed the entire ride. Assisted by a cool breeze, I felt like I could ride with her all night long. Our adventure would end that night at my home, eating a refreshing meal illuminated by candlelight…