Hey dudes. It’s been an exciting week!
My creative nonfiction was published for the first time EVER. You can find it at Narratively, an incredible website that features a new nonfiction essay every weekday. My piece revolves around my prostitution history and **it might be triggering for those with sexual trauma**
Here’s a clip: “I had nothing left. The end of my relationship with Beth and the hiatus from my career exposed me to a hideous truth: I had been trapped in a trauma cycle dating back to my youth. The hands that typed out Craigslist ads, the legs that spread in strangers’ cars, and the mouth that took in wrinkled flesh – those things weren’t mine. They belonged to my past. They belonged to the part of me that still felt voiceless, choiceless, and desperate for something resembling love from men who had none to offer.”
Click here to read the full version!
I’m also the new coauthor of the “More Than Borderline” blog at HealthyPlace. You can find my intro page here and my first blog post here.
Let’s start with a disclaimer: “Bottle Up and Explode” Syndrome is not a real thing. It’s actually the title of an Elliott Smith song that pops into my head every time I have an emotional breakdown.
Uh. I am not a poet. I did, however, enroll in a poetry class at my local community college to keep myself from stagnating. The prof hated my guts until I turned in a sexually explicit poem about threesomes last week. She REALLY likes writing about sex. I know this because she often reads us her weird sex poems. Now we’re cool.
Here’s the poem that saved me from gaining a 50-year-old archenemy. You should not be reading it if you are related to me. TURN BACK RIGHT NOW, MOM. I’M SERIOUS.
Hi. This, on the surface, is a story about the uncomfortable process of falling in love. Dig a little deeper and it’s a story about how trauma complicates love. Be warned: this is a rough draft with minimal edits. Also, I glossed over certain traumatic details because I don’t feel like dealing with them right now.
Stock photos are gifts from God.
The Internet is a cold, cruel place.
Okay, that’s a sweeping generalization that doesn’t apply to every aspect of the World Wide Web. Netflix knows me pretty well, Wikipedia was a homie in college, and Google did me a definite solid when I forgot the name of that one Kevin Bacon movie. But I’m going to roll with my faulty concept for a minute and attempt to back it up/break it down with an equation and some subjective evidence.
Social media + an undying need for validation + sensitivity + rejection = potential for a massive existential disaster.
(That’s how math works, right?)
make like a tree and… ugh shut up
I have 70ish days sober now. I finished and submitted my six grad school applications last week and my shelter dog comes home with me on Monday. Things are pretty solid. My mood is stabilizing, I’m staying away from men, and I’ve embraced my introverted tendencies for the first time since high school.
This has required a number of what I’m hesitant to call sacrifices. I’ve cut off contact with most people, save for my former sponsor, a new sober friend in the suburbs, and a sprinkling of old friends here and there. I don’t go to Chicago. I stay away from parties, concerts, and large social gatherings. Most of my time is spent in my room, in my therapist’s office, and on sidewalks with my headphones on.
Hey. I’m almost done with MFA applications, which means I can soon start writing for this thing again. But right now I have a massive headache, thanks to last night’s little candy corn binge.
Since I’ve banished all other forms of social media, here are some photos!
60 days clean n’ sober as of last Monday.
I found myself again on the wooded path by my house with the fenced in elk you can see but can’t feed. I met a skinny tree with twisted veins and I said to it, “We are alive together, breathing easy in the summer and almost dying, but not quite, in the winter and, tree, I am grateful to know you.” I saw bodies in the ferns. I saw blankets in the moss. I felt the presence of those whose footsteps hardened the path before me, some of whom are dead now.
I felt my place in time. I felt the reality of the strange circumstances that gave me life, torn between resentment and gratitude for them. Why give me life if I’m bound to die? A light widened its arms around the expanse before me.
“This is why.”
First day back in the States. Not looking so hot.
On September 23, I woke up in Prague on an L-shaped couch, head to head with a 30-something party boy from the suburbs of Chicago. He was sniffling in his sleep, occasionally pinching his nostrils to remove residual cocaine.
He sat up abruptly, checked his phone, sprang off the couch, buttoned his pants around his skinny boy beer belly, and scrambled to find the document he had picked up from his bald Australian friend’s house the night prior.
Admire my hairy wrist. Thank you.
Hi. My name may or may not be Leif and I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to men.
But not the good men. No, the good men terrify me. I’m addicted to the addicts, the alcoholics, the emotionally abusive, the eternally confused, the self-loathing, narcissistic, nihilistic boys for whom I come second. Or last. Or never.