Depression is not something I readily chose to (a) believe that I had, or (b) was willing to admit I had. I still don’t know for sure to this day if I ever had clinical depression, but there are some times I really felt like I could have been borderline there, despite what I thought.

Of those times I thought I might have been close to depression? Definitely not during my college years. I think I was just whiney, sad, ill-motivated, and severely lacking in self-confidence. But that aside, I tormented myself for being unable to actually garner the attention of women. Sure, I could be the good friend, but I seemed to lack any capability to rope anyone in for anything beyond that. And my sappy-assed self got dejected and depressed over it. But really, that only sets the background stage for the environment my mood was brewing in, not in what really caused much of anything.

Driving back to college one weekend after a visit home to see the parents, I felt an overwhelming sadness hit me. It was disturbing; I was driving on the highway, nearly an hour from either major city on my route, and I just couldn’t stop crying. I felt worthless for some reason. Alone. Like no one gave a shit about me, despite having just spent an entire weekend home with my parents, wherein my mother feels the need to call me weekly if she hasn’t heard from me.

I wondered how it would end if I drove myself off the highway into the deep drainage ditch on the side of the highway.

I wondered how long it would take anyone to come and find me. Cell phones weren’t overly abundant in that day in North Dakota yet.

I wondered who would have given a shit.

I wondered how far back in the newspaper the freak news story would end up: ‘College student returning to school dies in accident on US-81.’

I couldn’t stop the flood of emotions for something like fifteen or twenty minutes. I didn’t care if anyone saw me like that on the highway. I just kept trying to get my shit back together, and start thinking normally again. I really worried that something in me might have irreversibly snapped, and I was forever broken.

Slowly, the tears ended. The anxiety within dissipated. I came back to some semblance of reality, despite the ache of my eyes and the burning in my face. I still can’t explain what happened that afternoon, but it was a minor reality check for the rest of my sorry outlook on the rest of my ’emotional strife’ I thought I had. Whatever I was going through, I did not want to re-trigger whatever the hell happened while I was on the highway.

And it never did. I never had that same outburst to such a depressing degree. I’ve had fits of crying where I thought I was broken, used, utterly scarred and forever marked for life, but I never thought about what would happen if I ended my life again. I try to chalk it up to being a situational response to an overwhelming depressive state, but I still don’t know.

Throughout the rest of college, I remembered exactly what mile marker that fit happened at. I even avoided that route to/from home because I was spooked by that spot on the highway; jinxed or some such, one might say. Years later, I could not even tell you where that happened. It’s just a freak emotional response that will remain forever buried as a ‘this one time…’ story.

Life has seriously gotten away from me over the past six months. I think it’s about time I put an end to that. A migraine (or something awfully close to it) really put me down for the count on Sunday. Between trying to juggle work stuff and witnessing the flooding of my hometown through online footage, I think my body finally told me I need to chill the fuck out.

July is reconstruction month. Time to get some things back in check, get back to some other pleasures I’ve neglected, and reevaluate some previously set goals (that are far from within reach, unfortunately). But first, the body comes first…and no better way to recover a body than with rest and refreshing exercise…

December 26 – Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

Memorable food of the year? Nacho Mama’s of Baltimore, MD, and their jumbo shrimp and smoked gouda quesadilla.

This tied in to the Party prompt, as it was the hangover dining afterwards. Frankly, I wish I was far less hungover so I could have enjoyed it more! I swear the quesadilla is roughly the size of a person’s head in diameter, and pushing an inch to an inch and a half thick. I was only able to consume half of it during the meal anyways!

My first bite into this quesadilla from heaven was a jumbo shrimp. Tender, juicy, and utterly delicious in my mouth, with some of the smoked gouda going along for the ride. The entire bite really was an entire jumbo shrimp! After that, I just dove right in. Mouthfuls of smoked gouda, onions, some spicy sausage (Italian perhaps?), bell peppers…I just did not want to stop. Unfortunately, my stomach implanted a firm no to my system, as I was in desperate need of some coffee and water to offset the edge of the hangover.

Nacho Mama’s wasn’t anything terribly unique, but they put a very nice spin on the American tex-mex mentality. And for that, they’ll win an ever-present spot in my heart as fantastic comfort food that I will try to frequent when given the chance again in the future. But that quesadilla…*closes his eyes and begins to drool*

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I made? Technically, it was the latest build from source of CyanogenMod to attempt1 to tweak it to my liking. I’m trying to figure out how to inject some files into the process but with no avail. But seriously, it really is “making!” Just look at the final command to execute it; it has “make” in it!

make -j`sysctl -an hwlogical.cpu` CYANOGEN_WITH_GOOGLE=true bacon

Anyhoo, onto more realistic things…

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This year, I had to let go of some of my complete independence that I was running on since the separation. Financially, I just couldn’t quite manage the old apartment I was in (depleted most of my savings on hand at the time), so I had to opt to find a roommate and go back to cohabiting in an apartment.

Living with a roommate again is kind of a huge deal. I had a less then desirable experience with this when I was in college. The first roommates I lived with when I moved off campus were not exactly a good decision. One was pretty on top of things (he was also in a near-engaged relationship with his high school girlfriend), but the other was essentially my best friend at the time after my sophomore year. However, he turned out to be rather irresponsible on maintaining any regular duties1, and a bit of a slob to boot2. Combine this with the fact that he played EverQuest so religiously that he couldn’t maintain his job that summer (or the following one), I had to get out of there the second summer I lived there.

At that point, I moved out on my own; I lived alone for the remaining three years in Fargo, and it was fantastic. I had complete control over my domain, the messiness (or more exactly cleanliness), food, and environmental controls. I paid my bills, cleaned my apartment, watched what I wanted, stayed up as late as I wanted, and had over whomever I wanted. It was grand!

I moved to Buffalo with Holly after we got married. She was the only roommate I had to deal with after that. Until now!

With my finances in a crunch, I was fortunate enough to find a female that was looking for any roommate. She sounded relatively normal, had a mildly eccentric (from the photos) but cozy look to the apartment, and the rent was easily just right. I checked it out, filled out an app, prayed that I got picked out of any other takers, and I lucked out!

I had huge reservations over all of this. Could I handle dealing with another person’s idiosyncrasies again? Would she turn out to be a total slob despite the superficial appearance of the apartment during the tour(s)? Would she turn out bat-shit crazy when I least expected it? Would I flip over some total desecration of my own belongings in some cult-like heresy burning?

In short, no3. She turned out to be a delightful girl with some interesting and amusing quirks to her. She admits she’s a bit of a bum when it comes to dishes, but it’s nothing I cannot handle. We borrow each other’s books for reading from time to time, I graced her with the benefit of a TV and BluRay player4, and every now and then we connect and chat about whatever happens to be the topic on hand. We used to chat a bit more during the first month or two, but I’m not sure if things have just changed since then or she’s just satisfied with what she’s gotten so far and just takes it from there.

I still feel like I’m tiptoing around at times5, but it’s not so bad. I think I only feel like that because it feels hard to read my roommate some days. That does bring to mind something else I should probably let go of, however, and that is my over-concerned nature with how other people view or interact with me. But that’s a story for another day!

P.S. I’ll be catching up on the other reverb10 days tomorrow. I just didn’t catch on to what all those tweets were about it until tonight!

1Our phone line was turned off twice because he neglected to pay the bill for three consecutive months. It was agreed I was paying cable and water/garbage, he was paying electric and telephone. I think the reconnection charge was pushing $50, and he still managed to let it happen a second time!
2He piled his mail on the table for lord knows how long. He let dirty dishes sit in his bedroom until they were growing stuff. His beer bottles would typically be growing mold by the time they’d make it to the garbage. He once left an entire three-box pot of mac’n’cheese sit on the stove overnight after he was done cooking it (thankfully the heat wasn’t on).
3In long, thank god, no!
4She seems to use them infrequently, however; she’s much more comfortable just using her computer to play DVD’s despite the TV’s 37″ size.
5It still feels a little weird to be living with a female I did not know prior, compared to living with one I was in a serious relationship with for nearly four years.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I really cannot pick a single moment in which I really felt the most alive. I really didn’t have anything so profound to make it that clear in my mind, but there is something that definitively makes me feel alive just about any time. Music.

I swear it is an emotional amplifier, at least in myself. I can be listening to music, and suddenly feel wonderfully elated, or it can break me down to tears and sobbing. Very often the music I’m listening to is nothing more than an extension of my current emotions. However, depending on my attachment to the song, it can just serve to further extend the mood that I’m in. It’s not uncommon for me to listen to Death Cab for Cutie, or Andrew Bird, or the Thermals, all when I’m in a very happy-go-lucky mood. In more stressed moods, when I feel a strong desire to focus on a topic at hand, or ignore an immediate nuisance, I’ll listen to harder music like Static-X, or Rammstein, or Eisbrecher. When I’ve got way too much energy to burn off, Andrew W.K. often becomes a favorite, which an occasional exception.

Sometimes it does not even have to feed off my current emotional state. Sometimes it can make my mood really take a 180˚ turn. Andrew W.K’s “Pushing Drugs” has always had this strange tendency to make an emotional pool of sadness in me, despite blasting it high on volume in my car, and belting out the lyrics along with it. It’s bizarre how sometimes it will take control of me like that. I could have sworn I blogged about that previously, but I cannot seem to find the post. Maybe I’ll throw that in later.

I get lost in the music. The beat and rhythms permeate my ears and saturate my brain. I could get lost in the music for hours, either cleaning, doing dishes, biking, running (if I had the stamina to go for hours yet), cuddling, sailing, watching the sky, walking around the city, you name it. Hell, Deadmau5 and Infected Mushroom (with their heavily electronic beats) are my best motivators at work; I get stuck in the beat to the music, and just feel an incessant urge to keep moving, work-related or not.

So really, my “moment” is nothing more than a perpetual moment. I live for the music, and in doing so, I live for the moment, and the year is nothing more than a never ending moment, is it not? What better way to turn any moment of your life into something that you can always thrive and revel in!

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

I think a better question is what do I not do. My largest issue prohibiting me from writing is the motivation. I keep flip-flopping between having something to write about and not. Sometimes I do not even feel like what I’m about to write about is even worth writing about! It is a stagnancy of creativity, or at least I feel it is.

Easily remedied, this likely is. It is easy right now because I do have a focus to write about: reverb10 provides that for me. Without that focus, the writing becomes sparse1. My imagination has no lack of drive, that’s for sure. The problem is focusing it, and whether or not that’s really a fruitful endeavor. I feel like I’m fantastic with details, and people have joked that I should take a stab at fiction, but I really can’t envision a concrete subject that I would enjoy writing about. Something about that lack of focus keeps me pretty scatterbrained2.

Perhaps I just need that one, strong focus to really entrance and entrap me! Or maybe I just need to be a little more disciplined. Who knows. Maybe I should try and map out a random piece of fiction sometime. Time to find a notebook for *gasp* notes!

1Tell that to me when I’m writing my thesis and can no longer stand writing, egad. I’m sure I will rue those words at that point in time.
2Until you get a few beers in me…then you typically can’t get me to shut up about the topic I’m fixated on. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!