Exorcise the Demon: Part 2 The Story of Alison

I loved this photo when I first saw it.  I, with my chin held high with a “Look at me and what I got” gleam in my eye.

My exquisitely beautiful bride on my arm.  My mom and my dad…first, that is something to be said in its own self, a photo with my mom AND dad.   Not only that though, a picture of them looking…genuinely happy.

But, if you were to ask Norman Rockwell to paint a portrait of an insecure couple simply trying to fill a void in their lives; and subconsciously one was filled with shame and the other was filled with hate…

Alison and I wedding photo

 

He couldn’t have imagined it any more perfect.  Which by the way is an impossibility; More perfect.  You can’t be more perfect.  Think about that.  I think I heard Robert Wuhl once acknowledge that and it’s not an original statement, however, you get the point.

I adored her, and more than that I adored having someone that looked like her in those moments of absolute beauty being displayed for others to notice and compliment her on. (How about that for a slightly, okay, very bitter backhanded compliment?)  And more than that, I adored having someone that looked like her in those moments of absolute beauty being displayed for others to notice and compliment her on as my girlfriend, fiance, and then wife!

Everything else fucking sucked!

And it was because neither of us loved ourselves.  Eventually, we stop believing what the other is saying and it’s because we know it isn’t true.  When we said “I love you” to each other, and I initiated it always; it was because I wanted to hear it back.  Because I could never look in the mirror and say it back to me.  Not then at least.  But we’re working on that.  I’m going to suspect with what I predict is great accuracy, she couldn’t have done the same back then either.  Our marriage was over before we even met each other.  I should give back all the money that was given to us for our wedding.  It essentially went to the “Keith and Alison Entertainment Fund”. I bought a tv and I think we…yeah, we bought a t.v.  Rest assured though it is a sick Sony LED that I got out of the divorce settlement.  WINNING! That refund would signify  an acknowledgement that our marriage was nothing more than a predictably failed experiment.

As of today, I know Alison has already found another guy to hear those words from.  The final straw for us is when she revealed to me about “Emotional Affairs” she was having with men she met online.  Never physically, though.  I truthfully don’t know if I’d rather have her physically cheat on me.  She may have.  She told me she didn’t , but…you know.  And I hopefully never will be provided the opportunity to know what each of them feels like.  I’m going to talk about emotion vs. physical later, but for now, I know that her emotional affair decimated me, but also provided the opportunities I may have never been provided if she wasn’t “Catfishing” me.  I still think some of those dudes were 58, living on a steady diet of Strawberry Frosted Pop Tarts, Red Bull, and Hungry Man microwavable platters, while under their parents roof playing Halo. More than finding another guy, Alison is playing in a kickball league, providing the vehicle for her “family”, yes family because he has a child.  We tried to, on my orders, yes, orders.  But thank you oh Lord for not blessing us with child. That would have only kept us together for a short period and she would have been awarded custody.  That is a pain my nervous system is telling my brain to avoid at all costs.  And hence the thank you oh Lord!

She is essentially a step mom.  Not literally for those that don’t know what the fuck literally means. However, I’m happy for her. You want to know why?  She divulged to me, and I won’t go into detail out of respect.  I know, I know, this coming from the same guy who wrote and directed a biopic for school. Which you can watch right here!

But it was about her childhood, and that is just off limits. For you see, she really doesn’t know what love is.  She was never provided that as a child. She was never nurtured and instead of addressing it, she was told she was depressed.  OF FUCKING COURSE SHE WAS!  Imagine never believing that you deserve to be loved. And more so, you deserved to be hated for everything you do!  Her instinct was to seek love. As it should be.  Her inner self is so desperate to feel that, fill that, believe that, and she has no goddamn clue as to how to do it for herself. She was tought to find it somewhere else if she couldn’t find it at home.  I’ll give you one guess if her parents are married or divorced.    And because of that, she sought after love from every where she could.  Here is the thing though, ultimately  I was truly culpable for our divorce.  I would only allow her to have MY love, because I wanted her to only love me. Don’t get me wrong though, I adore her sister and brother in-law, I even adore all of her family.  But for her to go out with friends, and have a guy friend…Do you think someone like me, who has no idea as to what true love is, would trust her?  Our wedding day was like the premier of the movie “Titanic”, you fucking knew how it was going to end! Do you want to know why I’m happy for her though?

Today, she is finding her child again.  And hopefully she is nuturing it like it so desperately is craving for it to be.

I on the other hand, I’m standing in front of the mirror.

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Exorcise the Demon: Part One

I don’t know if this is an original concept, but isn’t masturbation the emptiest form of self-love that there is?  It requires very little effort, and more so, no emotional involvement.  For some it may be images of someone they truly love, or an unfulfilled desire.  While for others it’s the alternative to texting that crazy ex because you are hornier than you have been in some time and right about now anything is sexy to you.

The reason I bring up such a lewd subject matter is because of what is within it.  Self-love.  Do me a favor, stop reading, look into a mirror, now look into your eyes and say these three words: I love you.  You may giggle, feel stupid, feel uncomfortable, feel foolish, but do it again, now do it again, and keep doing it until you actually start to believe it.  Think about this.  Over the course of our lives, especially early on, we hear, read, and see things so repetitively that we officially believe it.  Great example, growing up Catholic, and when I say growing up Catholic, I mean going to Catholic School from Kindergarten through my Senior year of high school.  I was even an alter boy at one point.  Yes me!  But one thing I can simply recall is hearing that if I swear, I’m sinning, which equals hell.  So every time I swear, I’m going to be thrown into the pits of hell when I die.  Or at least that is what my nervous system is telling my mind.  Now, lets get something straight, if I say fuck, I don’t have a panic attack envisioning Satan stabbing me in the ass with his pitchfork in a 200 degree setting surrounded by Hitler and Bin Laden.  But I do recall being punished, verbally, and the occasional smack on the ass or arm if I said shit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being dismissive of the moral and ethical values that helped shaped my character as a human being thanks to those teachings.  What I’m more focused on is the neglect of emotions that happens on a daily basis.

We were never taught to believe that we are beautiful, that we are exquisite, that we have infinite potential with the world at our fingertips.  At least I wasn’t.  Does this mean that I have to live the rest of my life according to these strict rules that I was force-fed during my most influential years?  Does this mean that I will never know what it means to truly have unconditional love for myself?  I mean how many of us go out and buy a fucking pet just so we can come home from a job we hate and just feel unconditional love?!?  And then when the pet dies, we get a new one.  Of course scarred by the loss of his or her predecessor.  Or even worse…we go onto dating sites and marry a girl that is just as empty as you.

We will get to that in the next post.  But for now, I am going to be documenting my journey with the hopes of filling some necessary voids in my life.  There will be no chronological order to any of this.  What you will see is raw and authentic expression and struggles that one may have trying to do something that many of have no fucking clue as to how to do it: Love ourselves. Trust me, this won’t be the “Diary of Keith Hannigan”.  More so, a creative voyage that will not only help me : stengthen my greatest weaknesses, empower me as a  writer, but at the end of the day, heal the boy so I can become the man I am destined to be!

And by the way, I always recommend “rubbing one out” before you think about shooting that crazy bitch a text.  Trust me on that!

 

 

Sports is for those that don’t want to grow up…

Many will argue that sports teaches invaluable lessons in life: Teamwork, respect, pride, discipline, humility.  But sports also teaches: Narcissism, entitlement, arrogance, and in some cases causes the participants to develop addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and/or drugs.

But why do we love it so much?  Why are so many of us more passionate about a team that has absolutely no relevance or importance on our everyday lives than we are about our jobs, our families, or even our health?

Because it doesn’t want anything from us other than to love it unconditionally and all we ask in return is for it to love us back by winning.  That’s all.

I don’t know how to talk…

I’m a natural born extrovert that is extremely loquacious…However, I have now idea how to talk.

Yesterday, I went on a “coffee date” with someone that I knew before I even sat down was my equal or totally out of my league. And all I wanted to do was ask questions and compliment.  My brain wouldn’t allow me to process how to speak casually and just be “natural”.  Is this a “problem” that I need to “work” on?  Or is the result of the world we currently live in?

We all have that friend that will always remind us of our past while being dismissive of their own; don’t we?  My past may be more dramatic than others while being tame in comparison to so many more.  But our past is our past, and for some of us, it not only haunts our future but dictates our present.

My divorce from my wife happened on 9/27/14.  Which really sucked, not because it happened 18 days after our two year anniversary.  But because it happened just over a month after my 36th birthday.  When I moved out of our house, I moved into a luxury apartment down by the Hudson.  Like how I threw in luxury?  The reason I mention where my apartment is located is because my divorce papers came just over a month from me being able to say:

My name is Keith Hannigan, I am 35 years old, and I live in an apartment down by the river.

For those that get it, good. For those that don’t, I provide you with why I think this is hysterical:

 

Was this thought process a defensive mechanism that I created after years of burying negative thoughts and building upon them with humor?  My therapist would probably tell you so. This is instinct for me.  Back when I had no idea how to talk to women, I would drink. Which was obviously quite successful… Because of that, and many other reasons, instead of describing myself like this legendary character created by the late, great, Chris Farley.  I have to describe myself in a way Farley would have to if he were still alive:

My name is Keith, and I am an alcoholic and an addict.

For over 11 years I have that as my “Scarlet Letter”. Like being divorced after technically two years of marriage, there is a shame and embarrassment, sometimes humiliation that comes with these “labels”.  But those labels don’t define me.  Never will, however, they have created someone that is still a work in process, like all of us until the day we expire and reflect on the life that was.

I’m not good at relationships, and unfortunately, I need a willing participant to become better at it. And I know I bring a good amount of substance, humor, and not bad looks to the equations.  But confidence when initially meeting the other sex…not so much.

“There is silence, do I compliment her for the 14th time?”

“She just said something very thought provoking and all I can think about is what she looks like naked”

“She just asked me about where I’m from and all I can think about is what her shimmering painted lips taste like”

Funny thing is, I’m sitting with a woman that obviously finds me attractive, however I struggle to simply converse. Meanwhile, my email just exploded with a woman having a meltdown about the upcoming fair for work.  And with a smile, I can easily talk her off the ledge.

I don’t know how if I will ever be able  to talk to a woman that I just met with confidence and ease.  But like those aspects of my life where I have improved by myself; who knows if this one, this amazing woman I just met, will be the willing participant to teach me so much more that I never knew existed within me.

Here is to hope, or faith…

 

How you doin?

“Good”

Really? Because if everyone  who answered that question with this conditioned response actually felt that way, we wouldn’t probably wouldn’t be the most depressed country in the world!

In all of its forms: “How you doin?” “How are you?” “How’s it going? How’s your day? How’s life? How’s that rash on your inner thigh?”, all of which are asking the same exact thing; how are you feeling?  This may very well be the hardest question we can ask one another. Because…imagine if we got the truth…

“How’s it going?

“Awful, the father in law wants me to go squirrel hunting and then have lunch…Guess what were having; squirrel”

“How’s your day?”

“Perfect, since I’m already making less than a pizza delivery driver, my job wants me to increase my workload, get a raise in title only.  Which means nothing other than I have 10 times more work.  And hopefully, when I get home the dog doesn’t have diarrhea like he’s had for the past week. Yours?”

“How’s that rash on your inner thigh?”

“Spreading.”

Nobody is just good…we don’t even know what that means.

Years ago, I stopped by GNC looking for something to help me sleep.  Being a recovering alcoholic and addict, my options are somewhat limited.  God I would love to know what having sex on Ambien and Viagra is like…So, I’m pretty much forced to travel down the supplement route.  Sleep wasn’t happening at this juncture of my life.  Work was in the middle of a weak quarter, the weather was, well weather in Upstate, NY during January, I hated my house, and my marriage felt like that zit you have right in the middle of your shoulder blades.  You could feel it, you couldn’t squeeze it, especially with my limited, T-Rex wingspan, and it was bugging the every living shit out of me.  I was convinced I was stressed.  We will get back to why I wrote convinced momentarily, however, this is not the point of the story.  The young man behind the counter, love asking for nutrition, health, and especially sleep advice from a kid that couldn’t have been a week over 19.  But he recommended Melatonin.  I informed him as to why I needed a sleep aid and inquired how many milligrams I need to take.  You know, I needed his obvious expert advice. And he then said something I will never forget: “Well, you know I’m stressed too, you know…the economy…”

I blacked out after economy so he could have told me that he was stressed due to being on trial for sexually assaulting an alpaca as part of a fraternity hazing for all I know.  But the economy?  Really?  Stressed over that Roth IRA and how much is being taken out by Uncle Sam there sport?  Jesus, I’m glad to see that GNC has put together such a comprehensive retirement package for your minimum wage position.  I’m sorry, I really should take it easy on the boy…No I’m fucking not. That kid should have one concern; how many girls he is going to sleep with and hopefully not get one pregnant or catch an STD.  The economy?

But here is the thing, he was conditioned to say the economy, even though he has no idea as to what that meant.  What in this world, or specifically, life in this country, are we NOT supposed to be depressed about?  The fact I can get a burger, large fry, and a coke for less that five bucks?  Yeah, that sounds great in theory.  The catch is how god fucking awful I will feel for a solid 2 hours after I have explosive diarrhea.   So…There’s that…

We worry because it’s easy to do.  We beat ourselves up because it’s harder to look ourselves in the eye and say: “I love you.” We hold grudges because it is so much more cathartic to hate than to forgive.  But for some reason we don’t accept blame.  We are never the ones culpable.  And when I say we, I don’t mean individuals, I mean a respective amount of our ever evolving species.  That doesn’t get attention these days does it?

We all have the friend that life is just an episode of General Hospital.  We can’t tell if the drama just hovers over them like the dark cloud and thunderstorm from a cartoon. Or if they just follow the drama. And we keep feeding that mentality, and now…well

Now, they have a larger arena…But so don’t those that hate, those that fear change, and those who don’t know the meaning to literally.

The latter has nothing to do with anything, I just had to make a point.

We have more platforms than ever to share love, gratitude, and joy with another, and instead, we choose, yes we, we choose to use those to say: What Im not going to do

Why I hate that

Who is wrong

and so on.

Why is this?  Is it because we’re conditioned to only know pain? To know hatred?
Yes and no.  Because we’ve seen both.  This isn’t 1777, the year after we Declared our Independence.  When I’m sure plenty of people looked around and said: “I don’t have a fucking clue what to do…You?”  But they did it because it felt better to do, than to don’t.

And you want to know why?  Because it’s in our DNA.  Do you think cavemen sat on their ass all day watching ESPN and bitched about what his wife made for dinner?  No, either he went out, found something to eat, or they perished.

So why did I say I was convincing myself I felt stress? Because  how do we know what stress really is?  The same reason why people hate so easily.  We are told what to hate.  We are told what to worry about.  Why aren’t we told what to appreciate?  Why are we not taught what to love unconditionally?  I don’t know.  But what I do know:

The fucking economy?!?

I really wish I could ask him today; how you doin?

 

 

 

 

Am I starting to hate what I love most?

I will never have my moon landing moment.  However, I have my JFK and/or Pearl Habor (9/11). Every moment that is great during my lifetime is sports related.  If you were to ask me to name the first memory that pops into my head from my earliest years; Phil Simms going 22/25 as he led the New York Football Giants to their the first Super Bowl victory in their franchises history in Super Bowl XXI.  And I’m miserable because of that.

My parents never liked each other, let alone felt love for one another.  Convinced they only had sex twice during their entire marriage: 1) Night of their wedding. Married in October, born in August.  Do the math.  2) To save their marriage.  My mom refers to my brother as a miracle.  You can figure out the rest.  Moral of this; I was never taught what love is.  At least for a person with affection. For a bunch of guys, twice my size, black, and have no interest in ever meeting me; the outcomes of the games they played determined my meaning in life.

The New York Giants and the New York Mets.  I remember sitting in my bedroom praying with a rosary that the Giants would do the impossible and defeat the heavily favored Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.  Those that can’t remember exactly which one that was, aside from the fact there were no turnovers or penalties in the game…It was the Whitney Houston/Persian Gulf War game.  Also infamously known as the proof there is a God and he was happily answering my prayers that night; Scott Norwood wide right. As I was kneeling in front of my television on my 8th Hail Mary,  my father was sitting on the couch and wouldn’t say a word to me. And he DEFINITELY wasn’t saying a word to my mother, his wife.   We Hannigan’s HAD to be focused.  I hope this is the exact moment you are truly picking up my cynicism about how absurd our behaviors were…Are.

For some it’s wealth, some health, some religion, ours was Giants and Mets. That is what our happiness was contingent upon.  This is by no means a unique situation.  Christ, I grew up in Rutland Fucking Vermont, not Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The thing is though, I’m coming to the conclusion more and more every day as to how ridiculously foolish this is.

How in the hell is my life better if the Giants or Mets win? I don’t know, but what I do know is for some goddamn reason it’s worse if they don’t!  A shithoused drunken gambleholic on ecstasy in Vegas wouldn’t make that bet.   But I do, every year, for 16 weeks of the fall/winter and 25 weeks during the spring and summer.  And it makes me loath tomorrow.

Do me a favor, for those of you that read this and want to try a test of your own well-being; Tomorrow morning, listen to talk radio.  Now, successful talk radio is at least 75% negative (A guy yelling at you and bitching about the absolutely most pointless, meaningless shit) and 25% of a “straight guy or gal” being the voice of reason.  But what the guy screaming at you like a televangelist  trying to sell you steak knives that are so sharp God would use them is trying to do, is get you, the listener, to become you, the caller.  Just so I, the listener, that won’t call, is privileged to hear Barry in Putney bitch about the lack of the Yankees farm system.

And the day after that, listen to music.

See how you feel that morning, day, and night.  Juxtapose it against the previous day.  Chew on it, taste it, then digest it,  and then think about how many people that YOU know that listen to talk radio.  Then think about how pleasant they are.

Now, one could blame talk radio.  But how many people on this earth watch a fucking pro football game?  Soccer match?   150 Million people watch the last NFL game of the year. i.e. the Super Bowl. 1/3 of them could tell you want a touchback is.  Everybody is intrigued by sports.  I feel I’m one of those that’s obsessive fascination with it may have already impacted my life in a negative light.

But my love of sports is only the superficial subject, the deeper analysis should have the first inquiry of: “What is important to me?”

Aristotle wrote in his “Nicomachean Ethics” of eudaimonia.  Eudaimonia is essentially translated as:happiness is doing well and living well.

Is wellness subjective?  No.  Being healthy is a fact.  Which I am physically, but mentally?   Those fucking Mets…True story, Bryce Harper just homered to put the Nationals up by one in the 4th as I’m writing this.  As soon as that happened I wanted to slam my laptop shut and eat some Ben & Jerry’s.  Of course, Gary Cohen had to say: “The Mets have handled Harper quite well over the past couple years”.  Thanks douche.

And this is why I can’t have nice things…

My brain hurts too much trying to figure out what happiness is, let alone what makes me happy.  But what I do know;  my go to every night is what is going on in sports, and every day I wake up sad.  Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but my point is, or the sole inquiry that needs to be made: Is watching the NY Mets and the New York Football Giants worth it?

Ask me when the Mets win the World Series…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning while they’re very much alive.

With every birthday we have, and I’ve had 37 of them with number 38 lurking less than 2 months away, we are given the gift of being more conscious of mortality.  Happy birthday, can’t wait until I’m 50 .  Funny statistic: The highest rate of suicides in the U.S.?  Teenagers right?  It’s white men between the ages of 40-50.  Lowest rate?  Black men.  Why?  Men my soon to be age that are white, so fucking self-absorbed. Men my age that are black, they have bigger things to worry about.  I digress.

I say all of this  because I’m becoming more and more aware of the fine amount of time that we have with each other, but more importantly, with our pets.

Opie is a 14-year-old, black and tan dachshund.  He is without question, my best friend in life.  And he is shaking, he is losing sight, motor skills, his hearing, and I know I don’t have much more time with him.  Side note: As I write this, I need a goddamn maxi pad to cover my keyboard.  If you understand that, you will smile, if you don’t, just stop reading.

Close your eyes. Think about some loved one you’ve lost.  It could be a grandparent, parent, sibling, friend, etc.  You think back and you smile, start to eventually get sad, but you almost compartmentalize the emotions you have while you reminisce.   Sadness may not be prevalent in that days series of emotions.   Now think of a pet you will never see again…Happens quick doesn’t it? So what causes it?  Because it is the only form of unconditional love we receive.  They are just so happy to see you!  ALWAYS! And you are so happy to see them!  Some of the time.

This leads me to the point of this:  Are we morbid if we think of not having them while we do?  I don’t think so.  If you are conscious that you have limited time with someone, and they (pets) are someone, then you appreciate them more in the now.  You become consumed by them.

Yesterday, Opie and I would pretend to go downstairs so the other two: Jack (Golden Retriever) and Dixon (Mixed Primarily Beagle), would race downstairs. Once they were out of sight, simultaneously he would turn to me as I was squatting down.  This turned into a full sit on the carpet so we could just be together.  Like we both know.  Eventually, the other two came up the stairs,  and I would have to stand up after about 20 seconds of that.  Anyone that has ever sat on the floor while a golden retriever was present will totally understand why.  But that minute we had, each time we did that…3 by my count. That minute we had, it was…ours.

As I left last night to go back to NY. The other two were sitting right in front of me as he sat by himself.  He was looking away as if he had no idea I was there.  Just so you know, where I went, he went that entire day.  Inside, outside, it didn’t matter.  But as I say goodbye, no.  There were no goodbyes.

If yesterday was the last time I see him, I will most undoubtedly be a trainwreck for what may seem like an eternity squared.   But I at least didn’t assume that I would just see him again.

But I at least didn’t assume that I would just see him again.

 

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