Rejection.

Hello,
I just wanted to send an email over to express my extreme disappointment over how our file was handled throughout the process of attempting to become foster parents through your county.
Before today I felt like we were not offered the same respect and honesty we gave you all, and today those feelings were confirmed. There is a large lack of looking at the big picture going on here and also some closed-mindedness and ignorance about medical marijuana itself.
Not to mention the fact other drugs that would be allowed in the household are far more dangerous and have negative impacts far larger than medical marijuana. Drugs that are also legal, and also abused by the families causing these children to be in limbo in the first place.
I digress, just wanted to let you know that Megan and I feel like we were strung along by your team and we would have appreciated you just letting us know you had no intention of giving us a chance from the get go when we told you about our medical use.
More than anything my heart hurts for the child or children that won’t get the chance for this good family and home, because you are unable to see the forest through the trees due to an old-fashioned, and frankly insulting pre-conceived notion about people who are proven to be both responsible and stable.
Hoping in time that your county will come to terms with the times, and understand that responsibility is responsibility and irresponsibility is not inherent to use of a plant that has many more medical uses than alcohol has ever had.
Good day,
Trevor Elms

Need to get this experience off my chest. Feeling rejected time and again through this particular path in life. The reflective experience of writing about things that mean so much to me always helps me get through the toughest ones.

Today, Megan and I were told that it would be a better idea to withdraw our application from the county we have been going through the process of fostering to adopt from. That in no uncertain terms we would be rejected due to our honest use of medical marijuana.

It’s a blow. Our New Year’s resolution was to begin the process of figuring out how we were going to adopt. Knowing it was going to be a long journey, certainly longer than 9 months; better now than never. We have been through many hours of training, paperwork, and travel since January. This is now reduced to another avenue we must mourn and move on from, to pick up the pieces and keep charging towards the next branch upon this crooked path.

Most frustrating thing for us both is that we are people that come from trauma. We faced some major ones as children as many people do. We have demons and failures while not being afraid to own them. To use them as lessons and reasons, the things in our lives that make us the strong and successful people we are today. We feel we are the exact kind of people well equipped to take in children that are inherently traumatized by their situations. Being removed from your family is serious business.

For this reason I need to reflect on this rejection as it not being a problem with myself and Megan — but the society we currently live in. A society that still has some growing up to do when it comes to understanding exactly what the War on Drugs was meant to do, and the kind of ignorance and bigotry it has fostered.

Rejection is just a fact of life. Getting down about it isn’t going to do us any favors and this experience, like much else that hurts — is another thing to bring us closer together.

We will have our family. We will have earned every bit of it when it arrives.

Thank you for reading.

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

©2018 Trevor Elms

Shower of Love.

Sometimes going a good amount of time without writing is helpful for me to create a piece that I am truly proud of and means a great deal to me.

Just recently spent a lot of time with Megan’s family in Minnesota for the holiday. Had to work a decent amount (about a normal work week) while there. Whenever I did have free time it was spent with them, every moment. Even if it just meant reading while in their presence and speaking when spoken to.

Felt like I got considerable time with them, and got to thinking about what they mean to me and how they make me feel I mean to them.

I was inspired, and so wrote again.

Shower of Love.

This is about my family.
Not the one born into.

The one who accepts me.

Sans blood.
They shower me with love and hugs.

Introduced into their life at first,

A former criminal.
Crazy.
College dropout.

Catastrophe.

Acceptance was not given immediately.
Rightly so, daughter hadn’t need more tragedy.

Respect from me freely given, they had something wanted.
Something prepared to earn.

Years later, different lifetime.
Feels as though we’re different people, together.
Family. Melded & complete.

Showered with love.

Often respect & love have to be given, in order to be earned.
Just thanking my lucky stars to be given a chance.

Benefit of the doubt,
after safety became non-concern.

Family is my strength.

I grow as it.
More comfortable. Happy.

This is about my family.
Not the one born into,
of which I cannot express gratitude in words — yet.

The one who accepts me.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

For showering me with love & hugs.

 

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

 

Balance.

Been wracking my brain over the last few days for what I was going to write about. Needed to write about something but couldn’t get right back into some of the things I have written previously. Not feeling drained, more like released from so much that I have consciously or subconsciously been holding on to for years.

Decided that writing about balance, and my struggle with it throughout my life would be a good place to start. I am still trying to find a sense of balance within this website, even. I have begun typing this out on May Twenty-Sixth, Twenty-Seventeen. My last post was May Seventeenth, Twenty-Seventeen. Just one day short of one month — from the day this website was started.

In that time, one month; fifty-one pieces were published.

Balanced out to just about half old, half new. I cranked away night by night. So much that I caused a little bit of a rift in my marriage for a few days. I lost a sense of balance in myself and my life. Focused solely on this website and writing — I saturated myself in them. Like the true addict I am. Found something new and interesting, took my fancy, and I dived headlong in. Had it not been for Megan I may have run myself into the ground affecting me and us in all sorts of negative ways.

Balance is something I have always struggled with. Plenty sure there is an earlier memory about it that my parents could recall, but one that sticks out to me most is when Pokémon first came out for the Game Boy. I was in the second grade. Had a friend at that time, Michael. We would hang out after school every Monday before his parents got home from work — so he would have company and could skip day-care.

After booting up Pokémon for the first time, though. Hanging out with Michael didn’t matter to me so much.

Enthralled by this new world that took the gameplay style I had learned from playing Final Fantasy titles, added cute creatures to collect and level, and was portable. I could play anywhere in the house and get away from everyone to play alone if I wanted to. It was the perfect escape. Which video games have proven time and time again — are. For me, and many others I can only assume.

The first Monday after getting Pokémon Blue (Alan got Red) as a gift I didn’t take the bus to Michael’s. He didn’t take the bus either — Michael went to day-care that day. I had told Michael some nonsense about why I couldn’t be at his place. Couldn’t tell you what. When I got home I don’t remember anyone else being present, though the tiles in the kitchen or walkway had recently been re-done. Was in possession of a key to the house but don’t think anyone was expecting me home — so they weren’t.

Awesome. One of my favorite things in the world is a silent, empty house.

There’s something about it. I feel in complete control of my surroundings and in my element. In those times really nothing should happen that I don’t want to. You know, in the realm of a normal calm sunny day, in the privacy of my home.

So I did what my eight year old self wanted to do, and had been thinking about all day. I ran upstairs, grabbed my Game Boy, and plopped down on the stairs to play. Couldn’t have been very far in at this point, but it had its hooks in me deeply. Doesn’t take much for a video game, movie, or any creative media — honestly. A half an hour or more must have gone by before my mom walked through the front door and asked me what the heck I was doing on the stairs with my Game Boy.

Knowing me, some good ol’ baloney came out. My mom had already gotten a phone call from Michael’s about the bullspit excuse I spewed. So she was legitimately just checking to see if I would tell the truth or not. Mom is good at that.

We had a good long talk after that. About balance, and what is important.

What friendships can provide that video games can’t, and how doing what I did would make Michael feel. I abandoned something that meant a lot to a person because I wanted to play in an imaginary world.

Still have a lot of difficulty with balance, and priorities, and how to get them right. Not professionally — there’s an iron fist in life about that able to keep me in tow. Free time though, how I manage it, what I do with it. Still a daily struggle for me.

I am an addict. I have written about that a few times now. I like to get addicted to things. Now, I am not a twelve-stepper, nor do I adhere to the normal living style of recovering addicts. I still drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Those are two substances I believe I can control myself with and be a functioning adult perfectly well. I have seen alcohol kill plenty of people I am close to or affect them severely negatively. I really just like a glass of scotch or a beer after a long day to take off the edge. I enjoy the taste, and I don’t often get a buzz, but I do feel better about life.

Regardless of how this living style is perceived by other recovering addicts or people who are not addicts at all, I don’t care.

My current personal and professional life give evidence to my ability to be a responsible adult with these decisions, so that’s all I need to provide if you want to question me. Barring a little coke after the death of my cousin, Paul (which is the only drug I have said I would not say no to if it was in front of me, though would not seek out), I have not touched anything aside from pot and alcohol in nearly ten years.

Well, there was that time where I did some molly, also not long after Paul’s death. My [redacted] [redacted] put it best when he refused, though. “There’s nothing else I can learn from it any more”. Lo and behold, I didn’t. Spent more time trying to figure out what the hell it was cut with that I could see in it and feel in my system than actually enjoying it. Done with that one for a lifetime now.

With that said, the things that I was truly addicted to: cigarettes, personal relationships with people brought closer due to hallucinogenic & drug induced experiences, the rush of trying a new substance, and opiates. Those I really do my damnedest to stay away from.

Opiates are a tough one, because our society medically just doesn’t think about it all that much. How it is literally lab manufactured legal heroin. How addictive it is, and how many lives it destroys without proper monitoring, after care, or an alternative. I have had pain killers within these years, struggled with them as well. I am glad to have family support around me when prescribed painkillers. Things would get terribly ugly otherwise.

Feel like I have lost my way on a few paths here in this piece, but both have to do with balance, and my struggle with it.

I was imbalanced even in the beginning of this website. Thinking I could legitimately handle forcing myself to put out two things per day after I ran out of old things.

This piece was a long way of me talking about my issues with balance, and how I am doing this website almost entirely for me. I really, truly appreciate any and all audience, but also need to recognize balance and to keep myself grounded. I do not need to set precedent about how often posts will go live. I also do not need to feel guilty about when there is nothing new up some days. Nobody is paying me to do this, I do this because I desire it.

So, in the future, still expect my posts to come out at eight o’ clock in the morning. Just don’t expect them every day. Sometimes they will be, sometimes they won’t be. I am going to try and have a little bit more balance in my life, and keep things a little bit more realistic for my health.

As always, thank you for reading. The fact that I have an audience means the world to me and does push me to keep writing.

I was afraid that I would find it difficult to write again after over a week off — but as usual, the fear makes it a lot more difficult than it really is. Especially after getting started.

Thank you for reading and following. If you have any interest in looking for things I have written that you have not read yet. Please check the table of contents, here.

©2017 Trevor Elms
A name and relation has been removed from this piece for anonymity. It will not be added in the future.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2006

 

Ride.

Megan is an Extrovert — with introverted tendencies. I am an introvert, which I have written about a few times. This means that we’ve literally had to work with our marriage counselor about talking, and how much of it I can handle.

How to properly express myself when there has been too much talking and I need to take a break from it. Likewise, for Megan to see this as not being a slight against her and to be able to respond calmly with understanding in kind.

True communication. Recognizing, at base, who each other are as people so that the small things that pile up on a day by day basis do not tear us apart from the foundations. True love in that fashion as well. We love each other with such depth that we want to continually work to communicate better, and reduce the daily friction that occurs between people.

One of the ways we do this is by experiencing things together in which we are not allowed, or cannot easily talk.

Something that we can then have an entire conversation about afterwards that I am not only engaged in, but am incredibly excited to jabber in detail. Movies either at home or in the theater, musicals, plays, and I’ve even dragged myself to some ballet with Megan as it was Swan Lake, after all.

We do plenty of experiences with talking as well, usually to a bar or a sporting event. I really like to listen to people talk in public. Some people call it eavesdropping, I call it observation. So when Megan and I are in a place where I feel like people could and would be doing the same to me, I don’t like to talk very much. I’m a fairly private person in public. Loud spaces make me more me — I’m willing to speak my mind more freely when the evidence in front of me tells me I am much harder to be heard.

Funny to write about being a private person in public, considering all this private information I am writing about myself for the world to see. Though, when it comes to representing myself in writing, I’ve pretty much been free with myself online since before my teens. Also at least, when it comes to who I am as a person — I don’t mind people being able to read it. My thoughts can be edited here — I’m bad at editing my spoken word at times.

Back to experiences, though. Ones where Megan and I don’t get to talk much. I’m going to write a sentence now that I think some people have a hard time understanding — or it will offend them.

Every time I get on my motorcycle I am comfortable with the idea that it may be my last time.

Megan and I haven’t spoken about it yet, though I am sure we will before this is posted in the morning. I am fairly positive she is comfortable with this now, too — and I never begrudge anyone who isn’t. You have to be to get on one of the things. If you don’t think about that decision before getting on one, you should.

Recently Megan and I truly started riding together. I have owned my motorcycle for four years and crashed it twice. Once my fault, the other not. It’s been two years since my last accident. I learn more through my accidents than anything else, and I learned a lot from those.

Don’t think I am a newbie, either. I grew up riding dirt bikes with my friend Jake in his back yard. Took the motorcycle class, got my endorsement, and then rode a moped for a significant amount of miles in Hawai’i before I got wasted and it got stolen.

Riding a motorcycle is like the rest of life, you can be cautious, but it is just as unpredictable.

So to have Megan finally comfortable, so comfortable and trusting she closes her eyes on rides, means the world to me. We do not ride dangerously, we ride extremely defensively and can count out by number when we get home how many accidents we avoided — as well as where we could have died had we not been aware.

We go on these rides together, sharing an experience that no one else will ever get. We see the breathtaking Colorado landscape and sunset — carving in the curves along it.

Knowing full well that if this is our last, it’s our last together.

That is one of the very best things about riding my motorcycle with Megan. It is an experience we share together where at any moment, we could both perish. I know that sounds terrifying to people — but I have have found that being scared of death itself is a great way to not actually live. It’s a great way to hold yourself back from things you want.

When Megan and I get on that motorcycle together, we are comfortable with the idea of Death taking us under its cloak and never letting go. We’re not asking for it, we don’t want it. We sure as hell don’t spend the entire ride worrying about it, though.

No, it’s that slight level of fear that is needed to ride and stay safe. The one that can be acknowledged but conquered. With warm air flowing all around, and a rumbling engine beneath. It’s that feeling of taking back some of the choices life makes for us, and making a choice for ourselves. Doing and experiencing what we want, because it makes our daily life more enjoyable and brings us closer together as people and as a couple.

Riding is one of the many things Megan and I do as opposites so that we can communicate better and enjoy each others’ company better. It’s quickly become one of our very favorite things to do now that Megan is so much more comfortable than she used to be.

Now we can go through this year’s catalogue to pick out a better seat and louder pipes for the highway — because the thing is completely paid off! I wrote about catharsis and football, how there are things that give me great release. I just feel better about life after a ride. Not even football compares to how happy and complete I feel as a person — when Megan is on the back of my motorcycle and we are riding through beautiful scenery.

I’m really happy that as the years go on we are still finding new ways to properly enjoy and appreciate each others’ company. I look forward to seeing what rides we map out next in life.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms, Megan Elms Pictured. ©2017

 

Last Time.

Normally I will start with a little explanation about my poems. This is a new one that I recently wrote while thinking about past choices. I will be going into more detail at the bottom, because I think explaining the poem at the start could potentially hurt my desired readings of it.

Last Time.

It’s funny,

for the longest time I wanted to remember you.

Give you a ritual,
a grand finale,
one for the ages!

A beautiful view,
alone and introspective,
with the wind blowing across my face…

us two.

But it never was you, was it?

A facade,
fake,
false.

No, no, the forgotten one.
You’re it.
Not a memory to go with you.

Never will I ever remember you.

I think I should thank you for that,

my lack of ‘membrance.

There’s nothing now to tie me to you,
make me think about you.

Nothing about me misses you,

my last cigarette.

 

I’d noticed that I have written about cigarettes multiple times in my work now. It made me want to write about the fact that I have quit them. I am not yet ready to write the story about that journey, but this poem will suffice for now.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2016

 

 

Long Nights.

This was written August 7th, 2008. I used to have so much difficulty sleeping. Even during nap time, I would stay awake and make finger fights.

These days it’s not so consistent, and it has been better since I have been writing again. I feel like I have accomplished something and therefore sleep finds me more easily.

I do still have nights where I do not sleep. I will stay up until 1:00 AM of the next full cycle before it wraps me in its embrace. However it is nowhere near as bad as the poems  I used to write represent.

I actually don’t need to be driven in a car or otherwise, and it didn’t take someone doing that, though Megan would — for me to find the person I want to spend my life with.

It is still a nice thought though.

Long Nights.

I didn’t sleep last night.

Just like any night where I lay, exhausted body to sleep.

My whirlwind mind keeps attention in a dreamless reality.

Clinging desperately to unfinished, un-analyzed, arbitrary thoughts.

I will not find sleep, until the sun falls again.

In fact, I never find sleep, it finds me.

I can control it a little more than before.

Sleep used to find me in such opportune times as every class in school.

Every day.

Sleep shies slyly,

smiling, and slipping away.

As my eyelids close and my brain fires into a bustling metropolis.

The one place I have always been able to find rest,
almost instantaneously,
is in the backseat of a moving car.

Maybe one day I’ll meet someone,
just crazy enough,
to drive me around until sleep takes its hold.

On these wonderfully long nights.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2017

Pops.

This isn’t something I was intending to write yet. I’m going to be honest though, I was drinking and I got to thinking about him so couldn’t help myself. Don’t worry. I don’t write inebriated for the most part — I will start a draft, close it, and finish it another time as I am now.

My Pops, my Dad, my Father, my Hero, my Man, my Idol, my Map; has saved my life.

Probably more than I can recall. I’m sure he knows more than I do. This is about the one time, though. The one time he had a conversation with me that I know he remembers maybe more than any other.

I’ve heard it a lot of times from his perspective, but I’m not sure yet I’ve shared it from mine. This will be the closest in the timeline yet that I have written about — to when I lost my mind.

Kahi Mohala
The courtyard my family and I threw a football together in, at Kahi Mohala. Photographer unknown.

I was still in the mental hospital at this point, Kahi Mohala. It is a facility that I volunteered (was deftly convinced) to put myself in after being bailed out of jail, in tow of my Mother. I remember trying to hide from the “Yakuza” in the car seat — backed all the way down so nobody could see me, on the way there. It wasn’t even just on the way there. We stopped at another facility beforehand that didn’t have the capacity? Or something. Before that we went to the Punchbowl memorial. That is when I remember realizing I was being “followed”, though it wasn’t even the tenth time I’d made that realization in the preceding few days.

If you go to the memorial today, I remember signing the guest book. It was 2008. If the page is still there I may have signed it Trevor, Trayber, Travor, Trebor, or otherwise. It would have been December 24th.

That and my soap totem are a story for another day, though.

I remember my Pops and I sitting in some furniture. It was on the other side of some glass, with an enclosed garden beyond it. There was a, if I remember, budless tree surrounded by rocks within the garden.

I sat in the chair, facing parallel with the glass on its right side. I cannot remember the color — but the pattern was raised, and consistent. It created a sense of comfort.

Pops sat nearest to me in the corner of a sofa. The sofa was placed in a ninety-degree rotation of the chair, facing to view out the glass. It was of the same fabric. I need to place the scene very deliberately because that is the last I can remember of it.

Everything else I can remember is the pure intensity in his eyes.

I wrote earlier that I was deftly convinced to volunteer myself unto this place. It couldn’t have been seventy-two hours after that — I decided I was perfectly sane and should be released. Pops’ entire mission was to convince me not only to stay, but that I wanted to stay, and he succeeded.

He remembers the exact words he used with much more lucidity than I. What is in my memory though is that he made me feel like I needed the people in that place. Not only for my future as a functioning adult in society, but as a person.

Pops remembers convincing me to stay because I needed the doctors to tell the lawyers and the judge that I was just some kid that made a mistake and needed to learn from it. I remember him convincing me that those doctors, and those nurses, actually had my best interests in heart.

That I was safe. That I was where I should be and that I wasn’t okay.

It was like a pinhole camera. My Dad was the light and he found his focus, holding on for dear life — my dear life. I was not at this time capable of looking outside my insanity. I was still bopping to random Beyonce songs on the radio and drawing really uninteresting tribal shapes thinking I was some sort of messiah.

He broke through, though. I can only explain how by the intensity of the love that he had within his eyes when he spoke to me. I’m not sure I have ever seen so much concern and care in a man’s eyes before. It makes me feel like a better person just thinking about it now. The connection he made with me, and with his eyes in that time — legitimately brought me into a moment of true, realistic, clarity.

I don’t remember what it looked like, but I know he does. He’s told me about it. That he could see my body language, facial expression, and own eye contact — return to normal for just the slightest of moments. Enough for it to register.

It wasn’t shortly after I went into an existential conversation about how the Devil & Angels live among us and I am a combination of them both realized — or some such nonsense of the like.

I stayed, though. Without much more complaint or argument.

Details of my time in there are still rather fuzzy for me, but I did stay, and did behave; as well as have a number of the patients enjoy spending time with me. I did the activities and talked about my feelings and must have balanced out a bit — because I was out a week or so later.

Another powerful memory I have about that place was leaving it. I can remember how satisfying it was to finally smoke a cigarette again. To smoke it just outside the premises before getting in the car with my Mom to a hotel room. It gave the experience such finality to me, at least the Kahi Mohala portion of it.

I still wasn’t right for a long time, and I’m not sure if I ever will be. There’s definitely a lot less wrong with me today maybe than ever before in my life. I owe a lot of that to all the support I got from everyone throughout the ordeal.

In this piece though, in this moment in time, I owe it all to Pops.

Thanks for being there for me, Dad. Thank you for finding a way to get through to me that day. I’m not sure anyone else could have.

Thank you for reading.

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

Scattered.

Something I wrote September 17th, 2008. This, for me, may be the most beautiful poem I have ever written. I am not sure if I am capable of writing anything like this ever again, and it pains me.

I was so terribly broken when I wrote this. I wrote in this poem what writing means to me in a way that actively makes me feel the pain I was feeling — and how writing wouldn’t help, no matter how hard I tried.

Scattered.

I thought it was gone,
but now it’s come back.

As I lay down, my thoughts begin to snap.

I cannot find the peace and tranquility —
that is to thrive in dream-filled continuity.

Then to pass the time away,
scribbling, scratching, thoughts — ’til I decay.

I eventually crash when the sun arises,
a new day.

Though I despise this repetition,
what I reap in reprisal is refinement.

Reflectively recording all rational thought.

On scattered shreds of my soul…

 

I wrote recently about gaining my love for music back, and I did also write my first poem in years the other day. However I have not yet unlocked poetry within me. I need that again, it’s my favorite thing about language.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by John Elms ©2014

Don’t Run.

A piece I wrote October 2nd, 2008. I think I wrote this after a disagreement with my parents about something. I got super upset and was called “angry man” again.

For the longest time I thought the way I was expressing myself was okay, and this poem is proof of that. There’s an idea within this poem that is good — but there is still a level of health and safety when it comes to expressing ourselves that I was not capable of at the time.

It’s interesting to look back and literally see me writing about my bi-polar without being able to understand or accept its existence.

Don’t Run.

Emotions ebb and flow, you can’t control where they go —
depression, anger, sadness, they flip flop to and fro.

Frustration fails to forest freedom frequently,
fundamentally factualizing my frequency.

Killin’ and fillin’ me with doubts,
sometimes it feels I got a good-day drought.

But I won’t pout.

I may be drunk, trippin’, or in a six-round bout,

’cause I live life to the fullest, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

I have my morals my friends and my brain,
shit one day I may have some fame.

But as I stand now not every day is the same.

I live, love, and have fun.
And these emotions of mine, I don’t run from.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2016

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