Party of One

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

What follows is an ode to self-defeatism. To those of us who over-share when someone asks, “How’s it going?” To those of us who proclaim our circular reasoning until we sound like broken records. It’s about when we need emotional reinforcement, but lack the language to ask for it. Unable to get into the specifics, we say whatever comes to mind. Too bad our minds are scrambled. Our conditions create a language gap, an abstraction, an anomaly in the exchange of ideas.

Like broken computers, we don’t communicate. We spout off an error code. We kernel panic. We blue screen of death. We say we need our space. Then we forbid our guests from leaving. We ask for brutal honesty. Then we accuse them of ganging up on us.

This is an ode to those ironic cries for help. The attempts to lure people in only to push them away. When we walk out of our job, because we want a raise. When we duck out of the party, because we want people to talk to us. When we give the Batman goodbye, because we want people to notice us. We’re quiet, because we want to be heard. We hide, because we want to be found. We run, because we want to be chased.

We want to get under your skin. We want to get into your head. We leave messages on bathroom mirrors, in magnetic poetry, stashed in paperbacks to be discovered later. We soak our boots, step over welcome mats, and leave footprints down hallways. We key cars, impale pillows, and shatter portraits. We burn letters in the sink. We leave messes. We leave evidence.

Here’s to those of us who vague-book in the middle of the night. Who say something serious we can always accuse our commenters of reading into. Here’s to the divas, the drama queens, and the boys who cry wolf. To those of us who keep it real, in the hopes that someone will call us out on it. To those of us who get sloppy in the hopes that we get caught. To those of us who wear our injuries like merit badges, only to rediscover our shame.

This is about the fixes we discover when left to our own devices. It’s about the moment we spot the evidence of our own self-sabotage. When we face palm at the revelation that we’re the ones who are hitting ourselves. No one can fix our heads, until we realize that we’ve encrypted our thoughts. We’re the ones with the most at stake. We’re the ones who have to break the code.

We have to identify this pattern: stress from without creates stress from within that creates stress from without.

I wrote this when I was twenty-two, back in the era of LiveJournal, Myspace, and I lived with a cast of colorful characters. They went to bars, while I stayed in to write. They went to house parties, while I posted in poetry forums. They made out with strangers in the kitchen, while I installed a lock on my bedroom door.

I wanted to build myself up to be strong enough to go out into their world. Instead I built a wall. Here’s something I wrote while I was behind it.

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

Party Of One

Threw myself a pity party
Surprise surprise, when no one came
“For he’s a jolly good ass hole
Blames himself for taking blame”
Staged my death like I was Elvis
Disappeared for weeks
When I returned from limbo
No one knew I was deceased
Bought myself a head stone
Wrote “TBA” where the date should be
Put it out on display
To see if someone would catch the irony
Had myself an early funeral
To coax my friends for sympathy
Swore there were crickets chirping
When it came time to give the eulogy

I hate myself
For hating myself

Couldn’t tell you when it happened
But I am evidence that it did
If I could only trace my steps back
To the place I lost my head
Read the words so many times
My retinas got burned
Imprinted with the lessons
I never should’ve learned
To be ashamed of my guilt
To be suspicious of my doubts
To be unaware of my neglect
To withdraw from all my outs
To accuse myself of taking blame
To show compassion for my pity
To always be up to bring myself down
To put myself beneath me

I hate myself
For hating myself

Don’t think I’ll give you any insight
Don’t think I’ll give you any proof
Don’t think the words that I say now
Bear resemblance to the truth
This isn’t a window
Into the heart of the situation
It’s just a clumsy lie
Built on a sturdy foundation

I hate myself
For hating myself

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

4 thoughts on “Party of One”

  1. Thanks for posting … those revelations of self-sabotage are pretty relevant to me right now so this was very welcome. A great piece, thanks again 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading it. I wrote the second part nearly ten years ago. I’m a little embarrassed with how much I still relate to it today. I’m glad you found something here to relate to. Hopefully everything works itself out on your end.

  2. I find this very sad in a way….you have it down real good!!! my son Manny would have related to your writing and I wish he could have read it….”party of one” sound so much like him….in fact, last new years eve I was calling it an early night and going to bed and stopped at his room to say good night….he was having a new years eve party of one and even tho I offered to stay up with him, he urged me to get some sleep and we wished each other happy new year…….looking back now, I regret not going with my instinct to wait for 2013 with him…….thanks for sharing your writing and I encourage you to keep putting thoughts to paper……it will help you……thanx again…..from a mom and grandma on an Arizona Indian reservation…

    1. Thank you sharing that.

      The sad reality is that people don’t always wear their hearts on their sleeves. They don’t ask for help. They suffer in silence. No one can be expected to read their minds. No one can be held accountable for someone else’s actions. The most we can do is be open to listen.

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