I’ve Been to the Edge, and I’ve Been to the Edge. Yes, I’ve Been to the Edge…

In pondering what to title this post, I just couldn’t think of what to call it. Alas, I guess merely quoting the most repetitive song ever (“The Edge” by Eiffel 65) seems appropriate because well, that’s what this post is all about.

To me, one of the most chilling scenes in any movie is Neil’s suicide scene in the movie Dead Poets Society. Inspired by his English teacher Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) to pursue his passion for acting, Neil (Robert Sean Leonard) auditions for and lands for the role of Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His father (who insists his son become a doctor instead) is outraged, withdraws him from Welton and the play and enrolls him in a military academy. Seeing no path forward, and with no support from his mother, Neil uses his father’s revolver to commit suicide.

Here is that chilling scene, for those who have never seen the movie:

As much as it makes the hair on the back of my own head stand up, it makes it even more so knowing just how close I personally came to having almost the exact same fate. On this day, the three-year anniversary of me getting my first tattoo (a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist), I feel I am finally ready to open up about just how close I came to being another statistic and just how close I was to putting my own family through the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

Having been rejected from my dream career (on account of my autism diagnosis and the FAA not accepting those with ASDs), forced into less-than-satisfying menial jobs and not being able to stick with one long-term, I saw no other option but to end my misery, and by god that’s what I was going to do come hell or high water. On a hot July 2015 night, drove my (then) piece of shit car to a remote location where nobody would be able to find me and brought along a semi-automatic pistol for the ride. Loaded with a single round of hollow-point (because who needs more than one shot?), I aimed to kill and pulled the trigger without hesitation.

A few seconds go by and I think to myself “I guess I’m dead?” In that split second I feared the worst – that there is in fact and afterlife and now I’m destined for hell. Alas, a few more seconds go by and I realize that I’m still alive. I check in the chamber only find out that the shot had not fired. Puzzled, I ejected the unspent round to examine it and much to my surprise there was the imprint of the firing pin on the primer. Of the 25 rounds in that box of ammo, I had picked the only one that was a dud. Hell, that might have been the only dud in that entire production run. What are the odds that the single dud would have wound up in that specific box AND it just so happens to be the one I randomly picked out of that box? Beating astronomically rare odds, I had cheated death, much to my dismay (at least in that instant).

As I sat there for a moment, angry, frustrated, I couldn’t help but think at how unlucky I was. Here I was, going to relieve myself from my own suffering because I finally had the chance, and that was foiled by some awful luck. Alas, it was in that moment I thought to myself “What the FUCK are you doing?!?!?” I drove home to sleep.

A few days later, I was changing the transmission fluid on my car when I got a call from a long-time friend of mine saying an opportunity had come open at my previous company (which he then also worked for). I interviewed the next day and within a couple of weeks I had a new career in the crane business.

A few months pass and I settle into my new career. Though less than satisfying, at least it meant I had a decent home life and wasn’t wondering where my next meal was going to come from. With the cloud looming over me that my reality shouldn’t be this, is when I started kicking around the unthinkable. Something I always sworn I would never do. I thought about getting a tattoo as an outward symbol of my internal battles.

I kicked the idea around for almost two months, until I decided I might as well just go for it. So, after finding a local artist, I walked into the shop on the cold, rainy evening on January 2nd, 2016 at 6:00 PM. I filled out the paperwork, trembling in fear as I did so.

As I sat down in the chair and the artist began preparing her equipment, she told me something I will never forget. “You know once you get this one you’re going to want more,” and she will tell you this is absolutely true – I looked her square in the eye and said “you’re so full of shit.” I was so scared but I had gotten this far, I figured I had to follow through at this point.

I did, and the sense of pride after I did was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was high as a kite too. That was quite a rush, and I now had upon me a mark indicative of my battles. At this point I still swore I wouldn’t do that again, but we all know how long that lasted.

Three years and eight additional tattoos later plus adding some celtic knot to my first tattoo (to separate it from the very conservative Christian side of Project Semicolon), well, I guess I never saw myself here three years ago. It’s been a wild ride for sure.

So yes, I’ve been to the edge, and whatever god might exist, god does know if I’ve looked down (which I have). Do I still sometimes struggle with these thoughts? Absolutely. I think it will be a lifetime of struggle. I’m also not going to guarantee that life will never get bad enough for me to finally get pushed over that edge (Amy Bleuel herself later succumbed to suicide). Despite my own personal struggle, I maintain the political view that suicide is a right and the government has no right to try to stop someone from carrying it out. That said, it should not be undertaken without exhausting all other options and without consideration of the effects of those around them.

With that, I want to say thank you to all my friends and followers for reading. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Of course, that story is still in progress, because my story isn’t over yet. If you’re still here reading this, neither is yours. Thank you and good night.

Oh, and the referenced song, for those so curious:


It’s a Horrible Life

Disclaimer: The following is a rant based on my own philosophical views and is not intended to cause offense to anyone for whatever life or reproductive choices you all might have made, nor is it a reflection on how I actually live. 

So this past weekend the local Paramount Theater screened the Christmas classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. I have nightmares about being forced to watch that movie every year as a kid. It’s probably the worst movie ever made – horrendous acting, a ridiculous storyline, fictional beings (angels/god), and out-of-body experiences.

Anyway, none of that even touches my main gripe with the movie. My biggest gripe? The title itself. Life and wonderful do not belong in the same sentence together. Life is anything but wonderful – pain, suffering, disease, illness, heat, cold, hunger, thirst, pissing, shitting, finances, grief, heartbreak, jobs, war and the list goes on and fucking on. Wonderful? What a fucking joke.

Alas, none of us realize how terrible our lives really are. As South African philosopher David Benatar (PhD, Cape Town) argued in the books Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence and The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions, very few people realize how horrible their lives really are. We just live under a state of an irrational optimism bias – a Pollyanna principle as it were. Nobody is immune to it. Not even me.

So, we all know the story – George Bailey (James Stewart) infamously wishes that he had never been born to his “guardian angel” (what a bullshit notion) who then shows him an alternate reality in which he had never been born and the results of those around him, which the then (very erroneously and under duress) begs for his life back.

Nah, Mr. Bailey was right the first time – he WOULD have been better off never existing. But so would have everyone else around him. His actor would have been better off never existing, as would every last one of us. At the end of the day, the fact that we exist is a BAD thing.

As for why this is, there are a number of arguments but Dr. Benatar’s are no doubt the strongest. I already presented one of his arguments above. His other argument is much stronger and does not even take into account the relative pleasure-to-pain balance of one’s life. Rather, his argument (namely that of the asymmetry) generates that any amount of pain, however small or insignficant, invalidates any upside to existence. Whereas:

  1. The presence of pain is bad, and
  2. The presence of pleasure is good;
  3. The absence of pain is good even if there exists nobody to benefit from that good, but
  4. The absence of pleasure is not bad unless there already exists someone for which such an absence would be a deprivation.

So what does this mean? It means any amount of pain, however small or insignifant, outweighs even the greatest amount of pleasure. Put another way, “And all the love and all the love in the world won’t stop the rain from falling – waste seeping underground.”

Now, this is not to say we should all commit mass suicide. This is where Mr. Bailey might have been slightly misguided, namely in thinking that suicide was the best solution. There are many things one must take into account when thinking about suicide – the means, how it will affect those around them, etc. However, the only reason for these implications are because such a person already exists. These implications become null and void if the entity contemplating suicide had never existed. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in my view that we all have the absolute and indisputable right to commit suicide if we see fit and that the government/state does not have any right to try to prevent someone from committing suicide. We didn’t ask to be born, therefore we have the right to reverse that action at any time, with or without reason.

So was Mr. Bailey correct in wishing he had never been born? In my view absolutely. Further, had he never been born, would those around him have been negatively impaced? In my view, no because they wouldn’t have known any different. Alas, further compounding that issue is all those others were also harmed by being brought into existence, and had they never been they’d have never suffered such unpleasantries.

So what about me. Do *I* wish I had never been born? Absolutely, without question the answer to that question is an emphatic “yes.” I 100% wish I had never been born. Further, even if some guardian angel were to appear to me and show me an alternate timeline in which I had never existed, I would not change my mind. I would still wish to never have been born at which point I imagine I would cease to exist in any form.

Do I wish to commit suicide? At the present time no, but there might come a time when I do. Now that I’ve already been forced into existence without my consent (no thanks to my biological parents), it could be argued that it would be bad to deprive myself of future pleasures, because as I already exist then the absence of pleasure would be a deprivation and thus bad. There’s also the issue of hurting what few people actually do give a shit about me, for even though would have been better never to have existed and our existences are all harms to us, they might be a benefit to some around us. Nobody, not even a crusty, bitchy antinatalist such as myself is immune to grief. That much should have been made obvious in my post a week ago today.

Anyway, I couldn’t let a showing of that movie go without some sharp critcism of not only the movie itself but also the message behind it. There ain’t nothing “wonderful” about life. Though some lives are better than others, no life is good enough to count as (non-comparatively) good. That much is obvious to anyone who steps back and looks at the evidence from an objective lens.

It’s a horrible life indeed.

Addendum: I had no idea my chosen title for this blog post is actually the title of a parody film of the aforementioned worst movie ever made. This might be worth checking out.

Spring Tattoo Preview

With my 31st birthday about six weeks out I’ve been starting to do preparations for my spring tattoo. For the past two years in a row I got my spring tattoo on my birthday but as my birthday falls on a Sunday this year and my artist doesn’t work on Sunday we’ll be doing it on St. Patrick’s Day which is the day right before (I was 9 hours and 40-ish minutes too late to be a St. Patrick’s Day baby).

So with that, what do I have in store for my spring tattoo? Not an entirely new tattoo but just adding onto an existing one. My semicolon, though meaningful, is quite a boring standalone tattoo. That combined with the heavily Christian conservative aspect of Project Semicolon (which I was oblivious to before I got the tattoo) and I’ve been wanting to do something different with it for awhile. I thought about doing a total cover-up but then I decided I would just modify it a bit with another symbol that is somewhat religious in nature but that is more suited to me.

That’s when I got the idea to weave some Celtic Knot through it. Celtic Knot goes back to the days of Druidism and Paganism when the Scots, the Irish, etc. were very one with nature. Though I identify more as an atheist, being stewards of our world combined with my (adopted, admittedly) Scottish heritage and that I think is so me.

I bounced some ideas off of the young-but-talented Jade (my artist for life, I swear) and she came up with this design:


As the semicolon is a little off to the side of the wrist instead of smack center, that leaves enough room to take up some space around it in this way. The dark blue semicolon will remain the focal point but surrounded by the Celtic Knot which will be colored in with Eternal Mint Green (a lovely soft color that I already have in my Pisces tattoo) as to create an additional visual element and impart some of the symbolism of the Celtic Knot. I figured this would retain the “carry on” message of the semicolon while overshadowing its Christian roots with a faith much more closely aligned with my own religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

So what do you think? Good variation? Do you have a semicolon tattoo that’s a variation in your own way? I’m curious to see how some have remixed it.

You Never Know What You Might Mean to Someone

When the news broke that I will in all likelihood be relocating to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex for work I got this lovely message from the bartender who most often serves me at my local hangout:

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 7.37.24 PM

Needless to say that was a huge wake-up call. I was under the assumption that nobody really gave a fuck about me and it would go largely unnoticed if I committed suicide or some accident occurred that claimed my life. I was totally wrong in my assumption.

I dropped in to said hangout this evening and the outpouring of support from the staff there was almost more than I could handle. I had to choke back tears as I received hugs from the bartender and the owner’s wife, not only as I was greeted upon dropping in, but as I was departing for what might be a considerable amount of time (though I did reassure them the situation wasn’t “goodbye” but rather “until we meet again”). I reassured them I would be back, but even that was almost too much for me. As I got to my car to head home, the tears flowed full-throttle. I couldn’t hold them in anymore.

Sure, I’ll never have a significant other and children. The two are just incompatible with me and my lifestyle. That does not mean, however, that I’m meaningless to everyone. You just never know how much you might mean to someone and you won’t unless those people express that to you. To know that the entire crew at my hangout will miss geeky-glasses, short-shorts clad, strange minded me when I relocate was like “wow, people really DO care.”

I’m at a loss for words, but even through all the pain I might endure and the clinical depression induced dark thoughts that cloud my perception, it’s little stuff like that which just makes it worth it to carry on. I’ve survived five suicide attempts to date (including one as recent as the past 60 days) and little things like this just remind me why I did survive it. I’m not a believer in god or anything of the sort, but I do believe in some transcendental force that connects us all life together.

As I start the next chapter in my life, I’m reminded that no matter how tough things might become, whatever challenges are ahead or whatever put-downs strangers and/or my haters might throw at me, I mean something to someone and I never know just how much I might mean to someone. Though I will always believe in the right to individual sovereignty and ultimately the right to commit suicide, don’t dare question the value you have to someone. I couldn’t do that to my friends at my hangout or any of my other friends.

Though existence is more often than not painful, it’s those moments that make it worth it to carry on. I’m sure the same could be said for all of us, so please express your appreciation and love for someone. You never know what it might mean, and you never know whose life you might save in the process.

Rest in Peace, Amy Bleuel…

So a friend shared with me some shocking news today. Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, took her own life on March 23, 2017. (Source: https://themighty.com/2017/03/amy-bleuel-founder-of-project-semicolon-dead/).

Honestly as disconnected as I’ve become with the movement in recent times (due to the religious undertones of the organization), this still saddens me beyond words. If not for the project I probably would have met the same fate not too long after I got my semicolon (my first tattoo). I actually got into it with her one-on-one on her public Facebook page about the religious aspect (because I was left feeling hung out to dry and didn’t feel “welcome”) leading me to get banned from it. As such, I can’t help but wonder if my dickishness about that played a small part in her ultimate decision. I’ll never know. Oh how I wish I could take those mean words back.

All that said, I need to make something very clear: even in my own personal sadness I absolutely respect her decision. I will always respect the wills of those who choose to end their lives for whatever reason. After all, nobody chooses to be born. To be quite frank we were all forced into this world without our consent. That said, the impact of this action on those surrounding the deceased cannot be dismissed and I do think all other possible solutions should be exhausted first. Maybe Amy exhausted all of those avenues herself and just couldn’t take it anymore. Again, I’ll never know. All I do know is I will never speak ill of her or anyone else who makes this decision.

All I have to say is thank you, Amy.  I know we’ve had some strong personal disagreements on your public page(s) but you made a huge impact on my life. You made me realize that there’s so much more to life than pain and suffering and if not for Project Semicolon I’d have never discovered a love and passion for tattoos.

I hope you are finally at peace and whatever demons you fought during your short stay on earth are finally no more.

Surviving Bullying (Trigger Warning)

Well, first off just so my readers know, nothing too serious came of the incident on Monday so we’re good there. I still have a job and whatever so no worries whatsoever.

With that out of the way, I am about to write a post that brings back some very painful memories for me, and it was triggered by some insensitive asshole on the Facebook page of a local news station that enraged me. Just warning you, there WILL be some rather coarse language coming up, just in case you are offended by that kind of thing.

So on the news page I was reading about a mother suing school administrators because her son was bullied into committing suicide and the administrators did nothing to stop the bullying. Well, first off let me just say the fact that our school admins don’t do a god-fucking-damn thing about bullies pisses me the fuck off. They let it go on undeterred causing a vast amount of both physical and emotional pain and that shit just doesn’t go away. At any rate, I hope the mother gets some sort of justice out of this travesty. IMO the administrators and bullies should be criminally charged as well.

Anyway, as if I wasn’t already pissed off enough about it, some insensitive stupid-ass cocksucking motherfucker just had to leave a smart remark. He said something to along the lines of “I’m sorry but we raise our kids to be above the hate. Words don’t hurt.”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!? Words don’t hurt? Ah, the old “sticks and stones” bullshit. I hate that saying. Actually, I think I’m going to fix that saying into something true. How about this, jackass: “Sticks and stones might break my bones but eventually my bones will heal, but the hateful words you say today the pain from them I will forever feel.” Yeah, that’s more like it.

As the bullied kid, I can guaran-fucking-tee you that those words hurt then and they still hurt, and I’m 11 god-fucking-damn years out of high school. I remember how they called me tubby, nerd, geek, pulled pranks on me, took advantage of my social ineptitude and just had to make loud, dramatic throat clearing sounds as they passed me in the hallway just to make fun of me (I have allergy-induced postnasal drip and I have to clear my throat quite often). It still get pissed off and hurt thinking about it. Actually I’m starting to cry as I type this but for the sake of standing up for justice I’m continuing on despite the pain it is causing me right now.

No, I don’t have anything to do with the assholes from high school. I won’t even talk to them or acknowledge their existence because of the memories it brings back. I won’t add them as Facebook friends. If anything, if I see any of those chickenshit motherfuckers ever again I might just shower those assholes with bullets. Yeah, that’s how emotionally scarred I am from what I endured as a kid and teenager.

When you hear something often enough you start to believe it. It’s how religious cults manage to brainwash children after all, and once that brainwashing starts to take effect it’s really fucking hard to break that line of thinking. Thanks to the assholes in school I spent the vast majority of my adult life thinking I was a worthless fucking piece of shit who served no purpose and was a mistake and a freak of nature. Their words ultimately drove me to substance abuse, self-injury and multiple suicide attempts. It was their words that contributed a significant part to the breakdown of my last romantic relationship. It wasn’t until about this time last year that I started realizing that their words were the biggest lies I’d ever been told in my life and I was able to finally start putting the pieces of my broken life back together and getting my shit in order. That semicolon on my right wrist isn’t just a punctuation mark. It makes the invisible scars I have visible to everyone else. It tells my painful story. It speaks to what I’ve been through.

I still have the pain from these invisible scars and will carry it with me for the rest of my life. It will never go away, but it gets better in time. However, no matter what happened to me or anyone else, don’t you think for one god-fucking-damn second that words can never or will never hurt someone. If you think that you’re probably a fucking psychopath incapable of any sort of real human emotion anyway and should probably refrain from taking verbal shits whenever possible.

Alright, forgive me dear readers but I just had to get this out of my system. If you read this whole thing (and excused the approximately 30 instances of profanity throughout this post) thank you. Reblog the shit out of it. Let people know this isn’t okay and what bullying can do. And if you are/were a school bully and are to this day unrepentant of your actions, all I have to say to you is fuck  you up the ass with a 29-and-a-half foot pole.

End rant.

Absolutely Horrible Week

​To say this week has been absolutely horrible would be a dramatic understatement. This week has been worse than absolutely horrible. So horrible I wish I could up and end it but I have commitments to honor so I can’t exactly do that (notably attending the tattoo convention this weekend and ringing for a wedding in a couple of weeks). 

This week got off to a horrible start when a coworker whom I have grown really close to was laid off on Monday. It always made work a tad bit more bearable having her across the hall to chat with and interact with and now she’s gone for the biggest bullshit reason ever (her position was transferred and instead of offering her a transfer they hired someone else and laid her off). Granted, even in that situation she wouldn’t have been here anymore but I could have taken it a little better. I hate seeing my friends get fucked over and I seriously suspect there was some disability discrimination going on in that decision (she has like 70% hearing loss due to having recurring ear infections as an infant/toddler). Hopefully I can help her uncover evidence to that effect. 

Alas, the worse implication to this is wondering if/when I’m going to be made redundant and/or my position moved to the new office. Seeing as how I suspect disability discrimination, I know it could just as easily happen to me. I have a feeling it’s coming soon but I don’t know when. My only saving grace is that in a layoff situation I’ll at leave have unemployment insurance, but that only lasts so long and should I take a job and be terminated within a couple of weeks because it just didn’t work out (something that’s happened countless times in my past because so many don’t know how to deal with those on the autism spectrum) then I’ll REALLY be fucked. 

Then my past two days have been eaten up with mundane, mind-numbing tasks that, although important to the operation of the company and the satellite office I work in, are just not engaging for me. It makes for a very long, boring day. That combined with the above bullshit and I’m quickly and uncontrollably spiraling back into depression. 

I just don’t know anymore. Part of me says to hang on but the other part of me says to just call this thing called “life” quits. I go back and forth between pushing on or bowing out, never knowing what the proper solution is. When in doubt I suppose I should stick around, because I can always choose to pull the plug later, but if I pull the plug prematurely there’s no undoing that action. 

All I know is I long to feel the sweet sting of the tattoo machine etching the flower and insignia into my calf. The physical pain is a distraction from the emotional anguish of everyday life. To put it in the words of John Mellencamp, it “hurts so good.” It is very therapeutic. They don’t call it “ink therapy” for nothing.