I need a place for these things.

©2013 Trevor Elms

I love to write.

Sometimes I love to apply myself to some writing and then abandon it. I’ve done it plenty of times.

I want to post some of my writing here so it has a place it can be viewed by others, but also connected to me. Perhaps some feedback will prompt me to write some more.

You can scroll below to go chronologically to how I have posted, or pick a category up above. All the same to me. Thanks to those who spend any time here at all and read any of my writing. It is appreciated.

–  Trevor

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©2017 Trevor Elms

Better Than Sex.

Two new things today, rather than one old. I got inspired last night to write my first poem in years. A poem about one of my best friends, Tony. I don’t have a picture of him to use, and he wouldn’t want it shown anyways.

I don’t know his last name, because I never cared to ask and he never cared to tell me.

Tony was homeless but boy was our home together in our hearts. Tony gave his life for me and I will never forget him for it.

Better Than Sex.

Remember that time you told me shooting up was better than sex?

How the needle would make you feel inside, when you would flex.

This may be the most important thing anyone ever told me,

Meth, Coke, H, etcetera, or Ex. I tried it all, except for the next,

 

Level,

Shooting it into a vein,

I felt like after Tony told me if I did it,

I’d never be the same.

 

I wish Tony had a chance and became,

something,

more than a man who gave his life for me, and proved to me a virgin my vein,

would take no blame.

 

Tony passed in an embarrassing way,

He was in the dorm bath-room,

needle in his arm.

Head cocked back with saliva to drip — on the floor soon.

 

I wish there was something I could say,

or do,

to bring you,

back.

 

You had a way,

of kindness and beauty,

that people with, and you without,

wished they could find out.

 

Tony thank you for telling me,

That I should never shoot into my veins,

Because without you selling that to me,

I’m not sure I’d be here,

Just the same.

 

If it’s better than sex,

I don’t want to know its name.

 

R.I.P. Tony, I miss you. 

 

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Photo taken by Trevor Elms ©2008

Choice.

I love you,

I like you,

I choose you.

These are words my wife and I say to each other regularly. Sometimes we don’t like each other, and we will tell each other. We always love each other.

We have not always wanted to choose each other, however. Yet we continually choose each other over and over again after we make mistakes, or otherwise. This is the definition of marriage. A lifetime dedication to growing with one another. People do not stay the same, you must accept and support each other for who they are and whom they grow to be if you want the relationship to succeed.

This is going to be about choice and the story of me falling in love with another woman while I was just a few months away from getting married.

This story does not go anywhere sexual, at least not physical in any way. Though I could tell, and I’m sure she could as well, that the tension needed to be cut with a chainsaw. The woman whom I speak about in this piece will not be mentioned by name, though we are in touch and I am fairly positive she will read it one way or another.

We have never overtly spoken about these feelings that I believe were always mutual.

She is a woman that when I met her — made me feel emotions that I hadn’t at times even felt around Megan. She has a smile just as bright and captivating as Megan’s and she is an extremely intelligent and driven person.

This woman challenged me mentally and meshed with me intellectually maybe more than I think anyone else ever has. I would be lying in bed next to my fiancé thinking about her and how I would get to see her when I went to work in the morning. I would think about how I would get to spend all day just talking nonsense and laughing.

We held our gazes too long, too many times — often with laughter. It was incredibly fulfilling and uplifting.

Some of my favorite days working in my life were in tandem with her. She understood me very well as a person and was able to get the most out of me while we were working together. She inspired me, to say the least. I very easily fall in love with people when they inspire me. I love to be creative but I find it hard to just bring it out from within. I need some one, or some thing to pull it out of me.

This woman pulled a lot more out of me than I could have imagined any one but Megan could, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Even on my wedding day I was slightly freaking out about it. These are feelings I was having that I hadn’t even gotten to experience yet. Was I sure that I wanted to link my life to another when I was also in love with someone else at the same time? Is that possible? Is it okay?

It is possible; it is okay.

You see, feelings, they are not something that can be easily controlled. Love is the most uncontrollable emotion of all in my experience. Even when we want nothing else but to not love, we do so regardless.

It is perfectly acceptable to be confused and be in love with multiple people at the same time. This is what happens to us throughout life. We meet people that just absolutely enthrall us. We feel like better people around them. Their warmth makes this reality palatable in a way it would not be without them.

Feelings cannot be controlled but actions can.

Megan has known about my love for this woman since I first realized it myself. One thing we promised each other is that if we ever found feelings for someone else, we would tell the other person. So I told her, and our marriage counselor, not long after our wedding.

I had major feelings for this woman, still do, and always will. There’s a part of me that still believes I could live a life with her just as assuredly as I can with Megan.

But I don’t know —

and I do know that I can, have, and will with Megan. There is a bond there that now goes beyond attraction, beyond desire, beyond the superficial things that draw us together as people in the first place.

No matter the strength of my feelings for this other woman I never once acted upon them. I had already made a choice to be with Megan for very many reasons and she is one of the largest reasons why I am not dead in an alley or stuck in prison for the rest of my days.

There is a very sure chance that had I not met Megan this woman and I never would have met. Megan helped me find the job I met her at, even!

Only children make whimsical decisions like abandoning importance, because they don’t know any better.

I am a man. I can stand by that sentence in part because of my ability to choose Megan over this other woman years ago. But if I didn’t, what kind of man would I be? Could you even consider that type of person a man? I would have up and abandoned everything Megan and I had built together and were building together, for what?

For an idea of what else I could have instead?

Is that not greedy? Is that not egotistical and immoral? Were I to do that, regardless of how it would have turned out for me, I would have abandoned someone who I literally just helped crawl out of her own depths and madness. Megan and I are our own separate people, but we owe a lot of who we are to each other. If I had abandoned her it would have made me the definition of a scum bag.

Megan had done nothing wrong but love me, why would it be right for me to spurn that love for a chance with another? Especially with no idea, truly, if it would work out.

I think what I am trying to say here is that while a choice may not always be easy, there often is clarity about what choice should be made in a given situation. My mind may have been jumbled in all sorts of thoughts and emotions — but I still knew what the right choice was for me as a good person.

And in my heart of hearts, I truly believe she did too.

Not shortly after my wedding this wonderful woman made a choice. A choice that ego wants to tell me is in part because of our mutual affection and inability to pursue it. It’s not an answer I ever intend find out or spend any time on beyond this writing.

But I do like to think that she did us both a favor when she took another job opportunity and moved away. I do not know if we both could have stayed good people for too much longer. I like to believe so, but you can never know these things.

The love we shared was unspoken, but I can still feel it and grasp it within me today. She still inspires me, in a way, and when I said we are in touch earlier I did not mean that we speak often or even interact regularly online. We both still know what each other are up to at all times — just based on  my knowledge of social media. We support each other professionally.

I think I want to end this piece by repeating myself:

…what I am trying to say here is that while a choice may not always be easy, there often is clarity about what choice should be made in a given situation.

Do yourself a favor and listen to your mind as well as your heart. Put all things into perspective and take serious time to reflect on a decision before you make it.

Decisions like the ones that are relevant to this article are not the kind that can be made any more than once. Be sure you are confident in being comfortable in your choice for the rest of your life.

Because living with regret is a poison that eats us from the inside out.

I may still and forever feel loss. I will never feel regret.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured photograph taken by Derek Lofgreen ©2013

Former Self.

Something I wrote March 2nd, 2010. I think at the time I was feeling pretty abandoned by a lot of my friends because we didn’t have much in common anymore. I had to be sober due to legal and mental problems, and they did not want to subject me to any substances that could hurt my recovery.

I know now that they were just trying to support me in the best way they could, but that doesn’t mean that in that time it didn’t hurt. I do not hold on to these feelings any longer, but I feel like reflecting on this piece and by extension our lives — can teach us something.

Former Self.

I find it funny,
That my family and my girl are the only ones who see me for me.

Not who I was while smokin’ trees,

I kinda like feelin’ the breeze,

to fall and heal a scrape on my knees.

What is it with people and the falseness they precede to breathe?

A fakeness that presides to feed into selfishness and greed of this once arrogant steed.

He used to need,

now the mind’s open and free, 

the crises left to a solid creed.


Leaving behind those breaching the void,

with a broken future to avoid.

Annul this boy of his past’s ploys for he paints a bright picture he now deploys.

 

Unsure of the moist sponge in his hands, the picture has now plunged into a plan, facets collide and make a stand.

 

See me for me.

And not the former self canned.

 

It seems my plan worked. I no longer recognize the person featured in the photo as myself. Photographer unknown, but I believe it was one of my friends whom we consider ourselves Ohana — they know who they are.

Thank you for reading.

©2010 Trevor Elms

 

Friendship.

I want to preface this piece by saying that I have a good amount of friends and I care for them all deeply. Moreso than I can express. This is about one friend, though. The one whom through most length in my life has always accepted me for who I am and loved me regardless. Without him I do not know what I would do.

Not shortly after my mental break with reality I told my friend Alex Thiessen.

Alex Thiessen is not just a friend. Alex Thiessen is the closest and best friend I have ever had in my life. He is not the only person in this category, but he does have a category of his own within it. Just as each of my friends does.

Alex Thiessen literally owns a piece of me, and not by choice.

He is someone who I am uncontrollably myself around. Whom when we do not speak for days, weeks, or months at a time — it feels as nothing. We are the same as always. Like a rock in the sea. Life bashes against it and it changes over time, but in the end it is always the rock. Ever the rock.

It was not but 60 seconds into the phone call that Alex told me he was flying himself to Hawai’i.

You have to understand — I was a nineteen year old recently bailed out of jail/mental rehabilitation center dragger on, and he was an eighteen year old hard working, putting himself through college badass.

Friendship 3
Pictured from left to right: Neal Radia, Jack Russel, Kisa Vanderford, Austin Haigh, Trevor Elms. Photo taken by Neal Radia in the Lexus February 1st, ©2009.

Alex didn’t think twice about dropping everything to come and see me. And I didn’t have to wait long at all. If I am remembering correctly, I was able to pick Alex up in the used Lexus that was purchased with one of the last drops of my college savings — which wasn’t going to legal fees, less than a week later. That car was too good for me.

One of my favorite things about Alex is that whenever I get around him I just want to spend time with him. We were always using our imaginations and playing trading card games. We can talk about video games, Pokémon, comic books, really any kind of media that until recently wasn’t all that accepted in pop-culture — for hours.

Even though Alex and I are odd ducks that got into real trouble in our teenage years, we never got into any with each other.

I think, mutually, we never wanted to be a bad influence on each other and we never wanted our parents to dislike us spending time together. So when Alex and I spend time together, we spend time together. It’s almost like no one else is there, because honestly I don’t think in those moments they are.

I think something that people don’t understand about true friendship is that it is true love.

I have a relationship very similar to Alex that I have with my wife. I tell him everything. Everything. 

Friendship 2
Photo taken by Alex Thiessen in Honolulu ©2009

Alex is one of the friendships in my life where I have true love for him, and him for me. We always try to end the phone call by telling each other we love one another. There is nothing subtextually or overtly sexual, but I love Alex Thiessen with every fiber of my being. He is one of the greatest people I have ever gotten to know in my life and we have both helped each other improve as human beings over our time together.

The morning after Alex arrived, the first thing we did was take the car for a walk to go to the rental store.

I can’t remember if it was a Blockbuster or not but I do remember that we grabbed a few movies and video games. The games being Prince of Persia (2008), and Infinite Undiscovery. We also grabbed an unhealthy amount of junk food and soda.

This was further rehabilitation for me, support.

Something that I believe anyone from any walk of life who goes through a hard time needs. I had a lot of support from a lot of people, which a great many people unfortunately are not afforded — and that is a tragedy. There is a lot of self-fulfilling prophecy that goes on in a person like myself’s head & life when we do not seek and gain the support we need to function.

Alex’s support was exactly what I needed at that time.

I’ve been trying to find a meaning within the words to end this piece on and support is the word to focus in on. I could probably write 30,000 more words just about Alex, but I think being as concise as possible can more often than not get the point across most clearly.

Please support your fellow humans, you do not know who they are or what they have gone through.

I feel if we spend more time supporting one another and less time judging one another then maybe we can accomplish more than we already have as a species — and that is a pretty cool idea to think about.

Give a homeless person extras while walking to your car, give a glass of water to a person working in your home, give a person who looks alone just a little bit of your time and introduce yourself. Just a little can do a lot. I have seen it and experienced it myself.

Support and give to your fellow human beings, you never know when they need it most. Give them friendship. Give them love.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured Photos taken by Kathleen Thiessen & Edited by Trevor Elms

Stubborn Heart Part Two.

This was something I wrote shortly after first meeting my wife. March 5th, 2009. There was a woman in my life who had captivated me more than any other at that point.

I had finally found someone who could take her place and so wrote this. She has read it, we are no longer in touch.

There is a line in there similar to my wedding vows. I did not know until recently re-reading this poem. I think it shows consistency in what I was looking for in a partner.

Stubborn Heart Part Two.

To you, to the one who may have lost me.

To the one I will love for the rest of my life.

I miss you now,

I missed you then,

And I will miss you soon.

I miss your smile, the cute one, where your lip curls a bit and you look like a turtle.

I miss that curly hair of yours, the tight spirals tend to draw me right into those eyes.

Yeah, the blue ones you had to remind me about that one time.

Those orbs of crystalline blue that pierce my heart.

And your hands?

Damn babe, the first time I held one I felt self-confidence for the first time!

Girl everything about your body puts my head in a swirl,

But that’s not what I miss the most.

You, your presence, what you bring to me when I’m around you.

Baby you lift me up, enlighten my day, and make each and every second better than the last.

I miss you now,

I missed you then,

And I will miss you soon.

I feel as I leave, a piece of me will be left behind, I leave it here, with you, in this poem.

And I will take with me my love for you.

But don’t think I’ll forget what you do to my head,

Girl you can make my blood boil!

And I still need to see you.

You can make me punch holes in metal doors!

And I still think about you seconds before I fall asleep.

You are my rock, sponge, barrier, arch-nemesis, friend,

and the only true-love I have known in life so far.

I love you.

I do and don’t want to find someone else.

But I don’t have to be a Bridesman you know,

Sometimes as we get older we can support the needs of those we love better.

I know I can treat a girl much better now than when I was a

Freshman, Virgin, self-hating… well I’m still a nerd though.

I know you will miss me as I do you.

So I may be out of sight, but I am always with you.

I miss you now,

I missed you then,

And I will miss you soon.

 

Thank you for reading.

©2009 Trevor Elms
Photo by Megan Elms

Experiences.

I had a tattoo session recently where my friend as well as tattoo artist Jayce and I got to talking about all the stupid shit I signed myself up for as a kid.

We got to talking about this because I legitimately was about to jump into another stupid idea on a whim. Graham, another artist at the shop who I have gotten to know pretty decently over the last ~40 hours at All Sacred — made mention of something. He just blurted out while Jayce was adjusting his machine for going too fast –

“You should just do it. Check it out, get tatted with it going that fast.”

I responded without a second thought:

“Fuck it, why not? Let’s do it.” — though immediately pivoted and asked a pertinent question,

“Wait, if you actually try to tattoo me is it going to mess up the tattoo?” There is no stupid questions, only stupid answers — but I think we all know the answer I got to that question.

I told Jayce to just keep working on his stellar artwork and we’ll revisit the idea after the session, because I truly was interested.

I was interested because it was an experience I had not gone through before.

This is a very big part of my personality that I very much embrace within some bounds of personal safety. The motto “try everything once” is a creed I believe in.

I believe we can often gain wisdom and learn more through life experience than anything else. And the more we experience the more we can gain empathy and be able to put ourselves in one’s shoes.

Growing up I opted to do things like take an XL water balloon sling at full blast in the back — point blank.

I opted to to be taped in a cardboard box and slid down a flight of stairs, rolled down Niblick Dr. in a garbage can, as well as sled over a large cactus patch (we all did that one, multiple times).

My earliest memory of something like this — I don’t think I could have been much older than four or five. My cousin Kevin who is a little over a year older than me and absolutely brilliant, convinced me of a grand farce.

If I were to ride my Mongoose bicycle down my grandparent’s wooden stairs a magical fish would give me three wishes. I’m not sure where he got the idea of a fish, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t matter what he told me. All I needed was a cool thing to do and a reason to do it.

One thing I need to mention about the stairs, and this memory. They led to my grandparent’s driveway down a very acutely angled hill. The driveway is not very wide, and the stairs are perpendicular to it.

Did I mention there was a flatbed trailer on the opposite side and a partition of very old, very stoic pine trees behind that?

You can see where this is going from here. I ended up flying ass over handlebars across the flatbed to land softly in a bed of pine and branches. Thankfully young children don’t have much mass, so I got a scrape here and there as well as a way cool story.

Actually, how could I forget when my brother had me take the snow tube down the back of the house? I hit a log going at a decent whip and backflipped into an olympian-like landing.

I was two years old.

Story after story keeps popping into my head but I think I’ve illustrated enough here. This is a part of my personality that I now know I was born with. My experiences go beyond daredevil nonsense though, and that is just one of the extremes that I had the penchant to explore.

I want to share my experiences traveling the world and exploring different cultures from as early as five years old.

I think one of the greatest things my family ever did was move outside of the United States to live in Asia and discover the planet. My father took an opportunity to succeed and support his family in a promotion that meant he had to leave the U.S. behind — and he packed up his family with it.

This was in 1995 and he was working for PictureTel which was working on (and succeeding at) video conferencing over the internet before the majority of people even had it. We moved to Hong Kong and our lives were never the same. It was the 1990s, which I think in the future will be remembered a lot like the roaring 1920s. What I mean by this is when we moved to Hong Kong PictureTel didn’t just set us up there and that’s where we stayed 100% of the time.

PictureTel regularly paid for my father to take his entire family with him across countries and continents.

Places like Australia, Bali, the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines (though we couldn’t leave the resort), & Thailand. All before I turned 9 years old. I think there’s a couple more in there I am missing, but just those blow my mind when I think about it.

With those three years in my early childhood alone I had seen and experienced more parts of the world and more cultures than most people will ever get to. This gave me a level of wisdom about acceptance and tolerance for those different than me that is now just inherent in me. I cannot understand not being accepting and tolerable of those different than you. When it comes to race, religion, rehabilitation, gender, sexual preference, personality disorder, mental illness, learning disability, birth defect, or beyond. If it is not affecting another person directly, negatively, I believe “Live and Let Live” to be a commandment of life we should live by.

It is my thirst for experience that gives me a lot of happiness in life.

It has also handed me plenty of strife. However, the biggest lesson I learned from reading “What the Buddha Taught” is that Life is Suffering. We cannot have the good without the bad. We cannot feel what truly makes this world and this life beautiful without understanding and experiencing what makes it dark and foreboding.

That doesn’t mean you need my experiences. Everyone’s are their own. But we do need to try and glean as much knowledge and wisdom about our experiences as we grow so we can continue to learn from them. All of them, not just the ones we like to remember to make ourselves feel better.

The ones we remember whether we want to or not.

I leave you by repeating this:

I believe we can often gain wisdom and learn more through life experience than anything else. And the more we experience the more we can gain empathy and be able to put ourselves in one’s shoes.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Photo by John Elms

Rude Awakening.

This was a writing prompt for my writing class in my freshman and only year at the University of Hawai’i. I didn’t even complete but a semester.

September 22nd, 2008 — It’s interesting to look back and see that I was already in a downward spiral at the time. I was very confused and had no idea what to do with myself. So I was taking the time to explore life, my body, and my mind in all ways that I could get a sense of adventure — as well as experience beyond the walls of accepted society.

The picture featured in this post was taken 5 days before the writing of this poem. I was not remotely sober. This was just months before my mental break with reality.

Rude Awakening

Not once did I have a second thought,
I would succeed!
I’ll show them.

Now I sweat as I sleep,
shivering, shirtless, and scared.

Afraid all I ever told myself…
were excuses for my unbalanced, unregimented,
LAZY
ways.

I thought I was mature and ready,
but seems my bones are all that’s fully grown.
I feel disgrace, disappointment… and distant from home.
I realized how much I missed my own mother,
While having to conquer a fever alone.

I know what I have to do,
it’s quite simple and straightforward,
the question is not if I can,
it’s if I will.
I can try.
That’s all I’ve ever said… it amounted to nothing but lying in bed.

I hate myself for these ways I’ve created!
it’s as if I’m not failing my desires aren’t sated!

Never interested; always dreaming.
seething, teeming with ideas.
useless to those who don’t listen.
So what does a lazy troublemaker do?
He breaks habits and carves his way through.

I still haven’t broken some of those habits, and I certainly didn’t at the time of this writing, but I was at least acknowledging them at the time.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms

I Am A Successful College Dropout.

This is not an endorsement, far from it. This is a part of my story.

I went to college for all the wrong reasons.

I went because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. Doing what you think you are supposed to do when it comes to your far-reaching life choices is just not something I would recommend. At some point we need to be selfish. Being selfish is not inherently bad; everything in moderation, right? So there is a time and place to be selfish — and what you do with your life after graduating high school is one of those times and places.

My Dad had recently moved abroad again, my Grandfather had recently died,

and I recently discovered how much I enjoyed experimenting with the different experiences that excessive drug use could exhume from the mind.

School was never my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I love to learn. I will read and study endlessly about the things that interest me until my mind is full. The public school system just never did well at making me feel engaged or that a majority of what they were teaching me was going to apply to my every day life. At least, not in the way they were teaching me.

I have known for a long time that I was going to make something of myself, whatever that something is, and schooling wouldn’t be able to take much credit for it.

There is a school I give a lot of credit, September School in Boulder.

However that is a time for another part of my story.

Because I don’t like school, and because my parents did well by themselves (and saved for college since my birth), I decided I was going to take an all expenses paid vacation. The only place I wanted to go was a place that inspired just about every fiber of my being while I was there. Both good and bad.

I chose to go the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and study as an English major.

My Dad had recently moved abroad again, my Grandfather had recently died, and I recently discovered how much I enjoyed experimenting with the different experiences that excessive drug use could exhume from the mind.

What I wrote earlier is very important to this decision, as there was something about Honolulu that no television, brochure, visit, or news anchor had ever mentioned to me once in my 18 years on the planet.

Honolulu is a very dark and dirty place, one of the seediest underbellies in the nation. Waikiki itself at night particularly — and nobody talks about it.

This was the perfect storm for what became my mental break with reality, subsequent legal troubles, and battle with mental health.

You’re going to get tired of hearing this, but that is a story for another time. I’m a successful college dropout, remember?

If we skip forward by about 2 years I found a job interview to get into the ground floor of an eCommerce paintball site, literally. It was in this guy’s basement.

I have been offered every job I have interviewed for, and this was no different. Interviewing is probably the single most important part of securing a job. Nobody cares what your resume says if you can’t function like a professional adult and present yourself as a confident person who knows what they are doing.

If you aren’t confident in yourself, how can you expect your employer to be confident you can do your job?

I was ecstatic to receive this job with no benefits and starting at $10/hr. At the time I was working in retail at an educational toy store for $7.50/hr +.03% commission. That number is not a joke. The catalyst for this new job was them reducing my pay by $.50/hr and giving me a commission rate that would make me have to sell 5 times the store’s paltry daily take just to make that $.50/hr back in commission. The store’s mission was great, the management was out of touch and incompetent and I felt like a high school kid in a high school job.

Hustle Paintball was the exact place that I needed to springboard myself into the career that I have now. I was able to do everything from shipping and receiving to order management, marketing, video recording/editing/writing, and graphic design. Graphic design was something I was always doing growing up on forums. In my early teens (00s) I was moderating and game mastering private online Lineage 2 servers. I was taking free commissions from randoms to design them signatures with any kind of imagery I could find at that time. I even have a really old Photobucket account lying around with some of it in there.

Being the guy who designed logos, banners, websites, etc. Really gave me the experience I needed after almost 4 years to feel like that is what I wanted to do with myself professionally.

No more 3 hour phone calls with no sales, No more shipping, No more front-end retail anything.

Just graphic design. The idea was a little daunting, but why not? A challenge was necessary. I wanted to see if I could hack it. Hell, I wanted to see if anyone would actually hire some dude with a high school degree and some college experience as an English major — with the audacity to call himself a graphic designer.

So like previously, which I neglected to mention — I had my wife (then girlfriend) and my wonderful mother comb through Craigslist for another job listing for me. There are some things I cannot very well apply myself to, and this is one of those things. I am so appreciative that I had their help at that time.

Another interview, this time much more thorough and professional.

We didn’t even start face to face. It all began with an email response asking me if I could schedule a phone interview. This is where my process about this became very important, I feel, and I could even ask my current co-worker and former boss that hired me to find out.

I responded to the email as quickly as possible with my open (unemployed) schedule at that point, we set up a time and I was excited. I didn’t look forward to it too much or think about it too much, I feel like that can mess me up. So I set my mind on other things until it was time.

The phone call went without a hitch. I am an introvert that absolutely despises the phone, I really dislike talking on it. There’s something about it that really fucks with me mentally and I am still unable to concisely put it to words. So despite that, I am able to very much ignore it for however long is necessary and present myself as I am, as someone who “wants” to be on the phone.

Brandi, the interviewer, ended the phone call telling me she was going to send me a graphic prompt to compare with the other candidates and she needed to have it from me by the end of the weekend.

She had it within the hour.

This was very important to me. I wanted her to know that I can work very fast when necessary but still provide quality work. That must have made an impression because here I am working at The Motorcycle Company as the Lead Graphic Designer closing in on 5 years later.

TMC is a Harley-Davidson Dealership group that manages 6 dealerships across the nation.

High Octane Harley-Davidson in MA

Palm Beach Harley-Davidson in FL

Rawhide Harley-Davidson in KS

Avalanche Harley-Davidson in CO

Riverside Harley-Davidson in CA

Huntington Beach Harley-Davidson in CA.

When I was hired by TMC they had just picked up their 3rd dealership (Avalanche) and were just starting to put together their dealership group because they knew it was only going to get bigger and harder to manage.

So again, I lucked into a situation at the very ground floor that gave me the opportunity to grow and succeed with the company.

I guess, the moral of this part of my story is that it is possible to be a successful college dropout. It just takes a hell of a lot of desire, starting low, working your way up by continuing to look for a better opportunity when it is time — and a dash of luck.

Make sure you learn to interview too. Legitimately, take an interviewing class. I took one in my senior year in high school and the lessons I learned were invaluable to me.

Don’t go to college just because you feel like you should based on societal, familial, or peer pressures.

If you are not ready, you are seriously not ready. It may just set you back a few years in other ways if you go when it isn’t time.

I don’t know if I will ever go back to school. I do know that I will be ready when I do.

©2017 Trevor Elms

Gears of Change.

This was a writing assignment from my senior year in High School, a slam poetry writing prompt that needed to be based on voting. This was in 2008 before President Obama’s election. Really interesting to see where my head was at, and then think about that I didn’t go on to officially start voting until this past election.

Looking back, I think it is the President’s #1 job to leave the nation in a better place than when he took the job. This is not a political space nor will it ever be, but I do think in a lot of ways he accomplished that. I just wish he did better about getting us out of the middle-east like was promised to my teenage self.

Gears of Change.

The river is calm,
it’s about to change direction.
The mountains are quiet;
an avalanche will reshape the land.
The herd is steady,
stampede is imminent.

The gears of change are oiled and ready.

But are the cogs between the nations?
Will this change be of hope? Progress?
Or of futility and shame?

For the billions of stars in the sky,
there are fifty.
Fifty that are on edge.
What will those united do?
To correct a wrong,
To establish hope once again
that the red white and blue stand for
Justice, freedom, and liberty.

We are hated
Despised
Mocked
Powerful
Free
And lost

Lost to the power of freedom.
Everyone must be free!
Under the rule of, red tanks
White bombs
And blue blazes.

We are disconnected from an infection on the people of the middle-east.
An infection of bomb shrapnel
in a child’s chest.
An infection of bodies crushed
by fallen debris.

Burned bloodied and bruised by a democratic hand of liberty dripping in the blood of 4077 of its own children.

After the towers that reached the sky fell, we stood tall.
Seven years later some barely remember the exact year they fell.

The eradication of terrorism was used as an excuse to render an opinion of evil powerless and gain control of liquid gold.

Lady liberty cries “Welcome.” Somberly as the broad striped doors begin to close behind her.

But the sun is getting brighter.
The river is whispering.
The mountains can hear the echoes.
And the herd? It’s tense.
Ready to stampede into the hands of every person willing to make a change.

And if you are for that change,
That hope.

Bust down that fuckin’ dam!
Scream in the mountains ‘til they crumble!
And stampede with me!

Vote for change
Vote for your country
And vote for yourself.

©2008 Trevor Elms

Waking Up Bi-Polar.

“I am not bi-polar, no matter how many doctors have attempted to diagnose me with it.”

– Myself, February 12th, 2009.

I am going to use this as a bit of a writing prompt for how things change over time. How a person can grow up and come to realize that just believing in something hard enough, isn’t going to make it true. This is a part of my story.

I am not bi-polar. That was a fact.

The thing is, I am bi-polar. I just wouldn’t or couldn’t admit it to myself due to a sense of pride, or something larger. A feeling that after my mental break with reality that I could still be a normal person. It was just a one time thing, I could pick myself up and go on going on in life like everything was normal.

And I did, and it was — except for that it wasn’t.

After completing out-patient and probationary treatment I didn’t take anything or talk to anyone for my bi-polar for years. I kept at my job and my relationships with my then girlfriend (now wife) and family continuing to find opportunity after opportunity to find work and succeed. To an onlooker from the outside looking in, I’m sure everything was normal. I’ve gotten good at that — normal.

It’s inside though. It’s the roller coaster of two very associative emotions that constantly feed into each other in the worst of ways. I do not have typical bi-polar, you see. I have bi-polar 2 — this means that rather than swinging between mania and depression I regularly swing between anger and depression. This is an extremely important distinction. Typically, with a lot of the anger I would regularly feel — I had just gotten used to hiding it from the rest of the world, or, at least not giving in to it outwardly. This would result in absolute eruptions about the smallest of things. In fact, I had two nicknames growing up, one “Meat”, which sticks to this day and came around purely because I don’t consider a meal a meal without it. The other however is less endearing, “Angry Man”.

I have bi-polar 2 — this means that rather than swinging between mania and depression I regularly swing between anger and depression.

Angry Man came around when all stamping of every little micro-frustration just couldn’t be stamped down any more. I would erupt at something as small as someone asking me to pick up my things. I can’t think of a great example right now, because usually in those moments I could only see red and I no longer am able to think or control myself before I speak or act. It got me in trouble plenty of times.

My depression is not as strong as some other people, thankfully. It’s fairly easy for me to “ignore” in a way without medication. I used to like to describe myself in two ways. I had two emotions to share: ambivalence, or anger. The ambivalence is my depression. I just didn’t care, and don’t care about life and myself sometimes. Like it doesn’t matter.

But then, things all came crashing to a head one day.

I can’t remember the exact day precisely, but I know it was about two to two-and-a-half years ago. It was about 3:00 in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. Then a thought crossed my mind that hadn’t in quite some time.

“I should just kill myself. I know I have the balls to follow through, why the fuck not?”

This was, if I am remembering correctly, after a night where Megan and I did not get along very well. I believe there was something trivial she did that set me off and then we preceded to escalate on each other. This is a low point in my life because I think I came very close to hitting her that night.

So that exchange, coupled with my inherent nihilism and depression fueled by anger gave me the thought. Why not? There’s plenty of reasons why not that I don’t need to get into here, and what’s nice is I had plenty running through my head just after I asked myself that question. However that is a very serious question to ask oneself, for that to be a serious thought after nearly hitting my wife? I knew something was wrong with me.

So I went into the bedroom to wake Megan up and tell her I was concerned about myself.

Talking about my concern turned into “I want to kill myself and I think it’s time to talk to someone.”, but it wasn’t that clear. It was a different kind of eruption that I’m really not all that used to. An absolute deluge of tears and blubbering facial contortion while huddled in the fetal position grasping at my wife like lost child.

It was that night I realized that maybe my ambivalence was also me just stamping down my depression as well, and that was the first of what could be some very bad eruptions ending in the worst kind that affects everyone who loves us.

The next morning I looked into my health insurance and found a psychologist with good reviews nearby. I found someone who I felt based purely on a few lines of text and other superficial nonsense could mesh with me — so I went for it. I mentioned my suicidal thoughts and made an appointment as soon as possible.

When I got to see him we hit the ground running on those thoughts to find out the why, and evolved from there. In just a few sessions we did in fact settle on bi-polar which I had been previously diagnosed with. However he was the very first to mention bi-polar 2, cite its differences, and how they are relevant to my behavior in every day life.

“I want to kill myself and I think it’s time to talk to someone.”

My psychologist who I am still seeing about 4 times a year then referred me to my psychiatrist who worked with me on the long journey over a year through about 5 pills to find the exact one that would work for me. This is an adventure to say the least, and I will say that my prior drug history allowed me to have a very quick grasp on how different medications affected me. It also gave me a very clear idea of exactly the type of pill I wanted.

I wanted something that I could not feel or tell was in my system whatsoever. Couldn’t even tell a change in my behavior at all, but I wanted everyone else around me to be able to tell. And I found it, Trileptal, Oxcarbazepine, my magical Yin-Yang pill.

Magical is entirely the wrong word and right word at the same time.

Pills are not a magical fix for everything, or even anything. They aren’t magical and especially when it comes to mental health they are a tool in a wide breadth of tools within the box for someone to use. They do not and will not ever fix everything entirely, but they should if used correctly help make it easier for the person to function and be aware of themselves. I was even lucky in that I knew what I wanted and it only took me about 5 pills to get there. I just hope it doesn’t ever stop working.

Pills though are magical in that I often am truly far more in tune with my body and mind and am balanced to boot. Balance is something I have always really had difficulty with, and I always will. The balance that Oxcarbazepine has helped me be able to find along with family support has really made me feel like I am finally in a space where living in tandem with and being open about my bi-polar is a healthy thing.

I just need our country and the world to understand that mental illness isn’t a disease that keeps us from being human, or functional, or caring. If there was less of a stigma maybe people would get more help.  I believe there is a vast majority of people out there with mental illness struggling because they are afraid of how they will be perceived. I can assure you it is much more freeing and healthy to just accept it and try to find a way to work with it.

This turned out to be much longer than I was originally intending, but it is an important subject to me.

I believe everyone should talk to a therapist, they don’t even need to be a psychologist.

We as imperfect human beings need an unbiased third party to just dump all our head trash that we don’t want to burden anyone else with. It’s unhealthy to keep those things inside — they can develop into worse problems if not taken care of.

So to bring this back around to the beginning, I went from being staunch about not being bi-polar to coming to and understanding years later that it is okay to be so. If you need help, get it. Sometimes even if you don’t believe you need it.

National Suicide Help Line: Call 1-800-273-8255

Please call someone, anyone if you are having suicidal thoughts. Sometimes just talking to someone can make all the difference in the world.

©2017 Trevor Elms