Author Archives: Andrew

Don’t let yourself feel

It’s 10:30pm and I’m in bed passing out while mindlessly scrolling though random instagram stories. The banner pops up and my watch vibrates. I’ve got a phone call.

My mom.

I do the math. It’s 8:30 there. She goes to bed super early these days, this is probably an accidental dial. I should let it go. I’m so tired.

I answer anyway.

“I don’t know if you heard the news. Jennifer committed suicide”

Jennifer? My stepsister with three daughters and two grand babies? That doesn’t make sense. “What?”, I ask.

“Natalie’s daughter.”

“Oh, Heather,” I reply. My stepmom’s side of the family is large and my mom doesn’t know it that well, and I can tell she isn’t in the clearest state of mind.

The call continues with what little news she knows and my reassurance to her crying pleas that I won’t do something like that and that I can always talk to her about anything and how bad my step mom must feel. We tell each other we love each other and hang up.

And now I’m alone in bed, an hour later writing this.

All the thoughts that went through my head with the news all seem selfish.

I just spent a lot of money flying out there two weeks ago. Shit, if it was today, it was on the two week anniversary of her mother’s passing. Was that on purpose? I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t even know if I have the money to spend to make it out there.

This means Matthew is the only one in that family left. He’s like twenty. This is going to fuck him up. I have no idea how to support him.

“Are you allowing your self to feel?”

My friend asked me that two weeks ago. My step sister just died. Then question made me cry. Today it’s a “no”. I look into my chest to see what I’m feeling. It feels fine. Normal.

That’s disappointing.

Is it just not real yet? Am I only thinking how this death severs the connection just between me and her? Has my heart gone in lockdown mode to protect me from the deafening resonance of all the other connections severed? Am I just a defective person who can’t feel?

I felt two weeks ago. I felt last week. I felt Monday when there were some friends at the gym who I had to explain why I had a weekend trip to California.

I felt anger and sadness.

Now it’s nothing. I’m tired but I’m no longer sleepy.

If my feelings worked just a couple days ago, maybe they broke just now?

Maybe they will come in the morning.

How am I going to explain this at work? Sympathy is expended for one death, will I get pity for two?

I am afraid of the shame that pity brings and I’m ashamed that I can only think about myself at the moment.

I want to tell my friends. Some that still might be up at this late night, but am I just pushing my sadness on them?

I guess I should go to sleep. Who knows what the sun will bring in the morning.



In my formative years, there was a book I read. In the book, a survivors of people who’s home was destroyed had a ritual of returning to the barren wasteland to leave mementos as tribute to the ones who died in the catastrophe. This pilgrimage was called a Returning. And it’s always something I think about when I make a trip back to my home town.

The parallels aren’t exact – I haven’t lost all my family in an apocalyptic act, but there is something that keeps bringing up the reference. I could be linking the two just because of the similar words, but I feel like it might be a bit more though. It is like enough has changed and all that is left are the ruins of a bygone age. My trips are a tribute to summer memories and friends that have moved away; a tribute to my childhood.


The water, both salt and fresh

From the mountains to the ocean, rivers run down hill. They join together and fork apart along the way and as I traveled them I had to remember all the twists and turns from my childhood. Eroded banks and new dams and freshly cut channels caused me to doubt and rely on a river guide to get to my destination. She took me on ways I’ve never been before and I did not like it.

But to the sea I did make it. And there was much rejoicing.

For my upstream journey, I got some advice from a local and I went off on my own. Exploring and finding familiar roads and new passes, it was soothing to the soul.


Vows, kids, and awkwardness

On the beach, strangers introduced by vows celebrated the joining with lack of sleep, games, tacos, and dunks in the ocean.

The sun of the summer solstice was tempered with onshore winds and cool temperatures while kids played in the sand and adults made friends.

People who haven’t seen each other in almost a decade came and compared the years that have passed. The different paths that seemed to lead to a very similar maturity. They saw each other and approved. Then they parted ways for another ten years.


Family and heritage and liquor

I had a lunch date with my Nonnie. This might have been the first time either of us have been alone together, which just sounds weird. But we don’t get to see each other all that often and I’m not the most social of persons, so there was always someone else to share the “burden of entertaining”.

Eventually the awkwardness wore away and we had a lovely lunch on the wharf. She had the crispy fisherman’s platter and I had frutti de mare and we talked about her childhood. Being the daughter of an Italian fisherman, she told me stories about how all the men in the family slept in one room, and how she used to sneak her grandpa bread. She told me about how her step mother was physically abusive and a great-aunt that I never met.

She also told me about how her father opened a liquor store after the family sold the boat and how once my 4-year-old mother walked out the house and four blocks away to the liquor store because she wanted ice cream.

I took finding out that my mom’s grandpa had a liquor store with knowing that my dad’s grandpa had a bar as a sign that I should continue my pursuit of making a living selling booze.


I want to bring you food and peace

I went to a swimming hole I have never been to before. In its idyllic setting, I had a wonderful time reveling in the strength from my daily work outs while wrestling a log pinned to the rocks by the yet stronger river. I was reminded of and reminisced about past summers and exploits and adventures involving water and rocks. That will be a treasured memory.

I was once told, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” And it’s something that I took to heart. I can be supportive. I can take care of things. I can make jokes and lighten the mood. I can let stresses break upon me like a crashing wave and be still.

It took it to heart because I’m not confident in my looks. I have body image issues. I’ve been ridiculed about my face, glasses, stomach, my weight, and others things mostly out of my control. People have never really complement my appearance. And those that have, I’ve written off as family and friends with obligations to say nice things.

So I overcompensate. With the lack of confidence and being overly eager to please, I am sure I end up on the annoying and pestering side of interactions instead of the suave and cool side. I am working on it, though. The though that someone is interested in me is foreign, but more acceptable that it was in the past.

I want to bring you food and peace, but I have to bring myself first.


I had a longing today. One I haven’t had in a long time. A longing for a “Call To Adventure” – a quest for fame, for purpose. To go, to do, start over. To start over on an adventure.

It has been a while since I had it. It has also been a while since I’ve sung in the car. They might be related. They might not.

I started to think about the places I’d go. Washington or Oregon. Where there’s tall evergreens and cold oceans. I thought about the people I’d meet, the new friends that would enrich my life, the co-questers for my adventure… Continue reading

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

– Albert Einstein