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The apartment is quiet. It’s the morning after my twenty-seventh birthday. My roommate, Evan, is out of town for a few days. This is also the first day off from my job I’ve had with the place all to myself, after moving in nearly eight months ago. Waking up massively hung over from an extra hard night of celebratory drinking is considerably more peaceful without a roommate around. There is no need to hide my shame from Evan. I decided not to live alone in the hope that sharing a space would temper my full-grown addiction to alcohol. …


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One: The bedroom door slams shut. My body catapults forward. I’m sitting up in bed — chest heaving like an abused bagpipe. But there is no air entering my body. Breathing is suddenly a foreign language. I try to scream for help. My mouth spreads into a gaping hole, but nothing comes out. I try again. My brain is belting at the top of its lungs, but my actual lungs will have nothing to do with it.

The thoughts begin swirling as urgently as my chest begs for air: This is what I deserveThe devil is using demons to slam…


MUSINGS

An evolving series of lessons

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On July 27th, 2011, I had my last drink. (Well, kinda. But that’s what this story is about. Let’s stick with 2011 for now.) It was also the day that I went into the hospital due to alcohol.

For the two weeks prior to the hospital, I had been riding my bike to the grocery store to buy handles of the cheapest vodka on the shelf and a gallon of orange juice. Balancing the heavy grocery load while riding was as precarious as my health at the time. The Sunday before I went into the hospital, I was having a…


MUSINGS

It’s great…but not really

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Today is day fourteen. An official two weeks where I have not had any alcohol on any day. And I feel amazing. Which is an absolute and egregious lie.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve gotten stronger each of the fourteen days. My memory is slowly coming back. Coordination issues are better than day one. Sleep is normalizing. I can kind of focus — for a little bit longer each day.

But my health has not been revelatory. Quitting drinking fourteen days ago has not produced a gift of fortitude and clarity from the great heavens above. I am not suddenly…


Misinterpreting anxiety as spirituality

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The You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies is a permanent exhibit in the Phoenix Art Museum, also known as The Firefly Room. Thousands of LED lights hang from the ceiling, with mirrors on all four of its surfaces. Though it is a small room, it is made to feel like the vast expanse of an infinite galaxy. I call it The Infinity Room.

I ask Meghan, my girlfriend, “Can I try holding your hand? Maybe that will ground me enough to be able to do it this time?”

The first time…


Graduate to antiracist actions

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My first day of college presented an opportunity to graduate with more than just a degree.

I was attending the welcome banquet for a scholarship program that had accepted me. As an Arizona boy new to southern California’s Azusa Pacific University, the buffet of Mexican food from the local restaurant across the street made me feel right at home — like I was precisely where I should be.

A program intern greeted me at the buffet. “You feeling comfortable enough here?”

Perplexed by her question, I said, “There’s Mexican food. I’m great.”

“I’m glad you’re feeling comfortable here,” she responded…


Portrait of my time in a mental health hospital

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There is one way in and one way out of the psych ward. A yellow line is drawn on the worn tile floor, twenty feet inside the doors that slide open when the doctor swipes his identification card across a panel. I am somehow aware that once I cross this line, there will be no crossing back over it without permission. Beyond the line is the nurse’s station, a large room encased with thick glass windows for walls. …


A long US history of white men practicing and perfecting the message of diversity-as-threat and identity politics

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Let’s get straight to the point: NO ONE plucks the strings of identity politics more than white men — both now and from the earliest days of forming the US nation.

Today, I respond to one white man in particular: Mike Jankanish, a high school teacher and occasional op-ed contributor for The News Tribune, who authored the article “Diversity education is a divisive education.”

First, we should all be very cautious when a white male claims that diversity threatens our national unity. As a white male myself, I can attest — both personally and historically — to this claim of…


Anti-racism depends on brutal honesty with our moral history

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I come from a largely Christian family, raised in a modern Protestant church, having become a “born again” Christian at age fifteen. I have also identified as white my entire life — and, more influentially, I have been easily identified by others as white. From my early years and into my young adult life, my moral, social, and political purviews could be identified as far-right conservative: homosexuality was sin, same-sex marriage was of the greatest threat, abortion was the apotheosis of human evil, and immigrants should stay at home or in their place. Now, I prefer secularism and skepticism to…


A glimpse into one psychotic episode — alcohol withdrawal and hallucinations

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The front door to the apartment keeps slowly creaking open and closed. I’m aware it’s not real, but I continue propping myself up in bed to check that no intruder has entered.

My step-dad, Bill, sleeps on the floor, a few feet from my bed — here to help if anything goes south. And things are definitely going south.

A teenage boy lies between the two of us, playing with his crotch. When I blink the boy’s image away, he moves beneath my bed. I feel him stroking himself under the mattress. Each thrust upward pokes me in the back.

Jeremiah Blue

Nonfiction, memoir, essay: mental health, identity, religion. Storytelling with compassion — towards ourselves & others | IG: jeremiahsblue

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