Of Worthlessness & Worth.

As like my poem “Last Time” I am going to let this piece speak for itself first — and allow whoever reads it to not have their perception of it affected by my own until after it has been read.

Of Worthlessness & Worth.

I forgive you.
Because you’re worthless.

You took something from me.
Because you’re worthless.

Something I can never get back.
Because you’re worthless.

I’m a better person now.
Because you’re worthless.

I have perspective and understanding now.
Because you’re worthless.

You are worthless.
I hope you become of worth.

This world needs more of that.
I hope you become of worth.

Bitterness is a poison.
I hope you become of worth.

My wish for you is to learn humility.
I hope you become of worth.

People do not need the pain you are capable of weaving.
I hope you become of worth.

I will never stop loving you.
I hope you become of worth.

Be worthful.

 

This poem has a bit of a double meaning for me. I have written it to represent my journey about a betrayal from one of my very closest friends of whom I cannot any longer give myself to. They hurt me too much, and in a way where as egotistical as it sounds; they do not deserve my presence. Ever again.

This poem also represents me speaking to the woman who molested me in pre-school. I have not been able to express anything about it in writing since I first remembered of the ordeal in high school. It has taken me this long to write something towards her.

As usual, this piece has given me great release and closure from these experiences. I feel I can properly move on now.

On a more positive aside — this is the very first thing I have written in my new book for poetry. It was purchased during a friend’s birthday at the Renaissance Festival this past weekend and is pictured in the featured photo. 100% handcrafted paper and hand treated bound leather. The mermaid on it made me think of Megan and how little girls regularly tell her she looks like a mermaid with her blue hair. The book just spoke to me.

I felt this piece was the perfect starting point for this new book, and for this chapter of my life where writing is once again a part of me. I feel whole again.

Thank you for reading.

If you have interest in reading anything else I have written please check the Table of Contents, here.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2017
Journal in featured photo made by Poetic Earth.

Belt.

Belts are great. They hold up your pants. Especially for men like me who have nothing to hold up their pants without one. There is a particular belt I own that means the world to me, twice over. It’s the twice over part that gets me.

You see, when I took this belt that I am talking about; from my grandfather’s corpse. I expected to hold on to it for the rest of my life. It’s a symbol to me, at that very moment it became one. The Model-T on that belt buckle is like my “S” insignia, it became hope.

If you have been following my writing for some time I am sure you have read about my cousin, Paul. Paul was the little brother I never had. He looked up to me with these eyes. Eyes I have only been able to enjoy again since my nieces and nephews began to use them. He was also my best friend at the same time — because we were exactly two years apart. So it flipped between the two, but more often than not he would look at me with such admiration. He did it more as I got older, and I still miss it dearly.

It’s this reason why no matter what anyone tells me, I feel a particular guilt about his loss.

I know he had plenty other influences around him, and I saw him but maybe twice a year for most of our lives after our early childhood — but damn do so many of those times define me. I want to think they did him too.

I remember before he was even smoking cigarettes — riding bicycles to town so I could go buy some. He would ask to have one and I would oblige, knowing full well if he wanted to no one was going to stop him anyways. It’s not the sharing that sticks out to me, it’s the bicycle ride.

Just like my friend Alex, so much of the time I spent with Paul was purely with him. Just him. We didn’t need or want anything else, and so many memories I have of him are like titanium encrusted across my brain. So a lot of the things I said and did, I feel like they stuck with him.

Like I wrote, I know there were a multitude of other influences and I was far from the largest. But I still did then and now feel a modicum guilt for the path he went down and ended at. Paul made his own choices, but I think with any loss we feel like there is more we could have done.

This is going to be about what I did do, though. I gave him the belt.

It’s funny, thinking on it — I didn’t even physically hand it to him. I believe I gave it to my Mom and she gave it to my Aunt Mary to give to him. That titanium memory though is from Megan and I’s wedding. May 4th, 2013. Just over four years ago now.

Belt 2
From left to right: Paul Perkins, Mary Pillivant Perkins, Kevin Perkins at the Elms/Taft wedding. Photo by unknown. ©2013

The wedding was over. The reception was over. It was the after party. I can’t remember which relative’s room we were in, but it was facing on the starboard side of the hotel. There were two beds, most likely queen — it was in the Boulderado in Boulder, CO, which is a historic and old place. You know the deal, shiny whites and golds, filigree, encrusted and rimmed mirrors, don’t forget the pretty chandeliers. This room wasn’t filled with all those things, but there were two windows on the far side facing as you walked in.

Paul and I stood amongst the room that was so loud we got called in on a few times. We were center, in front of the beds. Center again, in the gap between the door and the windows. Center. In a world of our own. We just stood there and talked. It’s one of those conversations I only got to have with him once and I was looking forward to checking in on it a few years later to see how things progressed.

It started with him telling me he did not like my now wife until that very day.

Something he saw in her, in me, in us that day. It made him realize something about growing up. How he didn’t exactly know everything. He apologized for it and we had a great heart to heart about him getting to know Megan better.

There was alcohol involved, but I know we both remembered this whole conversation clear as day. Since he had already broached serious subjects I decided that it was the perfect time for me to have yet another talk about his health, and making the right decisions — not putting his body in danger by making bad ones. I was well within my recovery at this time. I was not off probation, but I was on emails only at that point.

I said to him, after probing questions about what his plans were over the next couple years,

“Paul, I’m going to give you Grandpa’s belt. Understand something. If you fuck up again I am going to take it back. I don’t want it back, you don’t want to give it back. It’s Grandpa’s belt.”

He was over the moon about it. I remember him calling me after he got it and being concerned about needing to put a hole in it.

“Paul, Grandpa had a fatter waist than me, I put a hole in it. No worries, wear the thing.”

I really, truly, never wanted that belt back. I am not going to lie, I missed it sometimes. When I would see him and he wasn’t wearing it, I got bummed out — but I know he wore it. From my own recollection, family’s… and how worn that new hole is.

This is why I say the belt means the world twice over to me. I took it off my Grandfather, I hoped to inspire my cousin, and now I keep them alive inside and on me with that belt. I think about them both every day. I have them with me every day.

What I wouldn’t give, though. To be bummed about him not wearing that belt when he could be.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2017

Grandpa.

March of 2008, my Grandfather died. This is the first loss I truly felt of someone who I had known throughout my entire life, extremely closely. I had lost others but this was the most impactful for me, expected or otherwise in my life — at that time.

Not the least of which because I was at a “job fair” with some friends and got the phone call while there. I raced home to see my grandfather lying face-up, dead, on the kitchen floor. All the same things he was usually wearing. Glasses, pocket protector, plaid shirt, jeans, velcro shoes, and his belt.

There’s a story that is going to be written about that belt. Suffice it to say I took it off his still warm corpse and I am wearing it as I type this out. There’s a lot more to it than that, though. Unfortunately. That, however, is for another day.

This poem is what I wrote about my Grandfather and shared at his wake. It still makes me emotional.

Grandpa.

Power Wheels,
the History Channel,
denchers,

and a three hour conversation that came from saying you wanted cheese on your burger.

Some of the best memories in my life involve that man.

He will be held in my hand,
heard in my voice,
worn on my waist,
and seen in my pupils.

When I look at that pink building, Gramps.
I’ll hear you, just like I can hear you hollerin’ as I open some pudding.

And I’ll remember,
one of the best men I knew, was proud of me.

I love you Grandpa.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo taken by unknown, from left to right: Gary Pillivant, Alice Pillivant

 

Music.

Music is something I have a very personal relationship with. So personal I very rarely share my music interests with others. So personal that I have stopped listening to entire genres of music because I could not control my emotions or desired actions while listening.

Music is so personal to me I literally feel it inside of me. My favorite thing to do during my substance abuse days was to sit by myself in nature, on LSD, and listen to music. To let it absolutely consume me. My every atom. That is, to this day, my favorite experience in life. I don’t know if that will ever change.

I’m starting to finally be able to feel music again. I can listen to Metal again which is fantastic. I’m actually going to a Slayer & Lamb of God concert this summer with my cousin, Ryan. Well, Megan’s cousin, but he’s mine now too. I don’t think of him as anyone but my cousin, and family. That’s why I am comfortable with going to this concert with him. This concert in this genre of music that means so much to me.

After I went crazy music was dead to me.

Completely, utterly, unquestionably, dead. I could not feel it inside of me. It gave me no pleasure. People would try to share their music with me and I would pretend to care. I couldn’t listen to anything. Not the Rolling Stones, Faith No More, Metallica, Tech, Rage, Queen, Tribe, Common, Zep, and on and on and on.

It’s one of the worst experiences I have dealt with — and it lasted years. It really wasn’t until the last few months where music made me really want to move around again. I’ll never be much of a dancer, but I’m saying that I wouldn’t even tap my foot to a beat at this time.

There were spurts, surely. But it wasn’t as deep or as consistent as it is right now. I’m open to and discovering new music. Something I haven’t done again until recently. For the longest time I was either listening to sports radio or film scores — as I never lost my love and emotion for film, so their scores were a form of music I was still capable of connecting with. Kind of a funky roundabout, but it really helped me cope with the issue for a long time.

It’s Metal and my love for Paul Perkins that has brought music back to me.

My cousins Kevin & Paul are the biggest metal heads I know. They were just finally getting myself and my brother into it right before I went insane. Alan went on to become just as big of a metal head as the both of them. I, on the other hand, could not listen to it any longer. I was too angry and it put me in even more of an angry place. Even when the songs weren’t inherently angry! Something like Amon Amarth’s Live Without Regrets is just super optimistic and inspiring.

Unfortunately Paul is no longer with us, but I like to think that part of the reason I am able to really connect with music again is because of that loss.

The journey of me being able to connect with music again can be traced back to a trip myself, Alan, & Kevin took to a record store in San Francisco while visiting Alan together — not very long after Paul’s passing.

This was the first exclusively vinyl store I have ever been into. My brother is hugely into collecting vinyl records like I am with physical movies, so he was super excited to show us his digs. There was a great smell in there. Like the kind you get when opening a brand new paperback book. It just wafts of creativity awaiting consumption.

Rows of boxes with hand-written cardboard signs denoting genres, sales, & price ranges. Records just littered in organized chaos, awaiting fingers to eagerly rifle through them. It’s here that I just went off on my own and started looking around. Alan wanted Kevin and I to each pick out something so we could listen to it together. Alan, Paul, Kevin, & I spent many hours solely listening to music together. Music was our language. I just wasn’t feeling it, though. I didn’t know what I was interested in picking up — because I wasn’t interested at all. I just wanted to get out of there.

Then I watched them look through the Metal section, and walk away from it without anything in hand.

I thought to myself “Well, if there’s nothing interesting for them, maybe I can find something.”

That’s all it took. I walked over to the left most box in the section that was facing the wall and started flipping through each record. I’m the kind of person that loves to judge a piece of artwork by the cover chosen for it. If you don’t put effort into your presentation then don’t expect me to put effort into what is behind it. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has been far more relevant to me in life when it comes to people than when it comes to actual books.

Tempest
The album artwork for Tempest, by Lycus. ©2011

And then I saw it, Tempest, by Lycus. There was something about the album artwork that just spoke to me. It felt like something that if showed to Paul he would not allow me to put down. He would grab my shoulder vigorously and bring his head close to my ear with a “Duuuuuuude! That’s wicked!” So I called Kevin & my brother over and they did something really similar. It was everything I wanted it to be.

Lycus is a specific kind of Metal, Doom Metal. It’s very melodic, deliberate, and patient. There’s  a lot of chanting, and it just had a way of worming into my bones when we listened to it. It’s a kind of music that really allowed me to embrace my torture and grow with it rather than fight it.

Since the three of us first listened to that album my connection with music has been like a tarp full of water with a small tear in it. It starts as a small drip, but as it continues to rain, and slowly drops — that rip ever grows.

I realized today after having reconnected myself with music like Bullets & Octane, Coheed & Cambria, and even the original World of Warcraft scores — the tarp is almost entirely gone now.

I can bask in the rains of music again.

It’s a really liberating thing to be honest. I missed it quite a bit. I’m pretty sure human beings as a species in general share this same connection with music that I have. So you can understand when I tell you that having music dead to me is maybe the worst thing out of this journey that I have experienced.

This is the thing I am talking about when I say that everything happens for a reason.

The greatest gift I can give Paul in his passing is what I am doing now. I am using his loss, and my heartbreak from it to make me a more complete person again. It’s what he would want. He would be so excited to hear that I am going to the concert this summer. I only wish I didn’t have to carry him with me and that I could actually have him there next to me.

Thank you for inspiring me, Paul. Thank you for bringing music back to me. I miss you.

Music 2
From left to right: Paul Perkins, Trevor Elms, Kevin Perkins. ©2008 – Self Portrait

 

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured photo taken by Trevor Elms ©2015, Pictured from left to right: Kevin Perkins, Alan Elms

Kids.

I was feeling a little worn out again today. I thought, let’s take a break — it’s been over a week of me consistently putting out a good 1000 words. Legitimately the most consistent amount of writing I have been able to accomplish in my life. But it’s also not the first time I have been able to write approximately this many words in this amount of time.

I decided to go into my drafts and saw this picture. One of my very favorites.

My wife and I cannot have children in the traditional fashion.

I will not be going into the reasons why because those do not matter. What I am going to do today is write about what that loss means to me.

You see, I have never known what I have wanted to be when I grow up — except for a father. Since as early as five years old I can remember looking up to my Dad, wanting to be just like him, and wanting to raise a family.

My Dad has given me memories like lifting me above his head, just by his thumb.

I am also a very scientifically driven person when it comes to my intellectual beliefs about this existence and this lifetime. So I have spent my whole life wanting to continue the genes of my family and continue our line.

I was always either consciously or sub-consciously growing up looking for the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life, and pro-create with. When I finally met Megan I knew I’d found her. Megan and I had a long journey together before even being official, but I knew from early on that I wanted my kids to be drenched in everything about her personality — and her physical traits as a human being.

So to find out that our child in no way will be 100% the both of us, no matter the path we choose — is the worst heartbreak I have ever felt in my life.

Sure, there is a chance for a miracle — with an almost scientific certainty it won’t because that number has so many zeros in front of it I could hit my word quota just by typing it out. This was the one thing I always knew I wanted. Through all my troubles and my confusion. It was constant — even when I thought I was Jesus Christ who had lived for 1000 years in some poor tenants house, I knew I wasn’t a father yet and wanted to be.

I now know I am completely capable of love no matter where the child comes from.

The picture featured in this post is part of the proof for me. I have been around my nephews and nieces for long enough now for me to consider them mine. I care about who they grow to become and care about being the best example I can be for them.

I would do anything, and everything for them to keep them safe and happy. And I know that I can do this for whatever child comes our way in the future too.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.

One of the first things my psychologist told me when I first met him is that I deal terribly with loss. Insofar being that when I met him… I really didn’t deal with it at all. I thought I did, but much like a lot of things I was doing with emotions at the time I was just letting them be and putting them somewhere where they couldn’t “affect” me.

This is still a loss that I am having difficulty with, and it is why I am happy that Megan and I are taking until 2020 before we decide what to do moving forward. I’d rather now spend this time appreciating time with her, and the time and money that we have, without a child — since we cannot so easily have one right now.

I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.

Not that the reason comes from some divine force or third party with a plan, I believe that we find reason within the things that happen to us so that we can grow and push forward as people.

There’s a large part of me thinking in this moment that had Megan and I been able to have a child that I would not have started this website — and would not be accomplishing a dream of mine. I would be too busy being a dad, dedicating myself to a child and already working my fairly time and attention consuming career.

Many times in my life now I have been hit with something that isn’t fun. Every time I have picked myself back up from it and gotten stronger because of it. There’s a really cliché saying in there about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; what I have begun to learn is that these clichés exist for a reason.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Megan and I have been making a lot of really good lemonade lately. Like the best kind. We have all sorts of travel plans for this year, tattoos, expensive dinners, buying cool things on a whim.

We’re just enjoying the things we have now — and not the things that we can’t have at this moment. We’re enjoying each other, and what we bring forth from one another. At this point, I’m not sure I’d even have it any other way. We can take this time to be as selfish as we absolutely want to. So when it comes time to do the most selfless thing any one can do,

We will be ready.

I think the larger meaning in this piece is that finding a purpose, and a meaning within the things that happen to us is in my experience what helps us grow more and become stronger as people.

I do not know how our child will come to us, but I do know that child will have more love than they know what to do with. That is a pretty cool thing to think about.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Pictured from left to right: Trevor Elms, Lucas Miller, Derrick Miller
Featured photo taken by Megan Elms ©2014

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 concerned 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