It Comes In Waves

Dear Readers,

It’s been a while since I posted anything, it’s been a while since I wrote anything of worth. I’ve been a selfish asshole this year. I let myself get caught up in my own needs and I ignored the rest of the world and the responsibilities I have. I used to think I was strong enough, able to handle pain, and take whatever crap life has to offer. But, I lost a friend that I had cared deeply for last year. She disappeared out of my life and took any right or reason there was in this world. I shut down, I couldn’t handle the ache inside my heart, the whispers of grieve. I didn’t want to feel, I didn’t want to accept the truth. So, I turned away, drowned myself in alcohol, consumed the horrible things in life far too much to be allowed. I stopped being Travis the Photographer and became Travis the Drunk. I was scared of what would happen if I was left alone. I didn’t want to listen to the sound of my own sorrow. So, I took refuge in the loud, drunk places where I could pretend to be like the others. I drank, I laughed, I hid my pain. I did what most of the drunks were doing; we were all wearing masks to hid the hideous scars life has left on us all. After a while I had convinced myself that I was alright. That nothing was wrong and that I was doing okay. But, I had never been more wrong in my entire life.

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I sit alone in my apartment now, reflecting on the year gone by. This time, last year, I was living in Whistler, a place where I thought I could run away and be happy. I became so trapped in my own delusions that it had taken me months to realize what I was doing. It wasn’t until I was struck with the flu to see how bad my life had gotten. My body was so weak and disturbed that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was living off of alcohol and scraps of food because I hardly had any money to spare. I did so many drugs and barely slept at all. Late nights, strange faces, and doing whatever it is I could to not remember it all. My body had to shut down, restart itself to get a moment to breathe. I knew then that I had to escape, to flee and start all over. My escape into happiness had failed and I had to do it all over again. I ran here to Vancouver because I remembered the sunny days on the beach, the beautiful sounds of life in the city and how adventure was always around the corner. I told myself that I would do it right this time, no alcohol, no drugs, no means of self destruction.

_MG_8746I went a couple months without succumbing to my own weaknesses, I thought it was a good thing. But, there in the quiet of the night was my own grief, tormenting me. Even without alcohol, my sickness was getting the best of me and I was slowly descending into madness. And then, one day, I just broke. I had returned to my wicked ways of late nights, drinking, taking in the toxic ways of life. I woke up in strange places, let my credibility of being a good worker crumble to the floor. I ended up destroying all that was good in my life, just for the sake of numbing the pain inside my heart. I knew it was wrong, that I had to change. But, the pull of destruction was just too sweet.

There has been a lot of bad things that have happened to me in my life, a lot of tragedy and grief. That’s something we all have to deal with. But, the horrible things took a hold of my heart and squeezed until it was a mangled mess. I’ve battled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years now. I get panic attacks, suffer the depression, and get horrible flashbacks that immobilize me. So, there are days where I am just not all right. There are days where I can’t get out of bed, where my head is filled with so much noise I can’t function properly. There are days where I avoid everybody in my life and curl into a ball and wait for it all to be over. These are the bad days. The dark and stormy days I can never avoid. So, I drink on these days, I keep going until my head and heart feel numb enough to finally close my eyes and rest. They get worse during the seasons changing. Winter is always a bad season for the cold depression to get a hold of me. It gets harder to breath sometimes. But, this year, it’s been happening a lot more than it usually does. There have been a lot of bad days this year, more that outweigh the good. I’ve spent the better part of this year trying to keep myself from falling apart and setting fire to all that’s around me in my life. It’s been a very bad year for me. The drugs and alcohol that I’ve consumed only fueled the destruction of myself, the catalyst to ripping apart my soul.

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But, even though I’ve seen a lot of bad days, the very few good days that I’ve had had been spectacular. To some, they seem like regular days not worth noticing. Except, not for me. I celebrate the days where I can make it brunch to meet with an old friend, attending the Zombie Walk and watching the undead rise. I cherish the days where I can watch the sun set upon downtown from my balcony, and hear the birds chirp in the trees in the early hours of the morning. I loved the days spent at Wreck Beach, hanging in the nude with random strangers. I have spent most of my days this year at the Cambie, working my ass off in the hostel and getting completely pissed in the bar. I explored all over this concrete jungle, met beautiful random strangers, watched spectacular fireworks, seen amazing bands perform, wandered high and low, sober and drunk. There may have been a lot of bad days, but I definitely appreciated the good days whenever they come. My heart still sings when those beautiful moments come by that I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life. There are a lot of moments this year that have happened that I’ll never be able to describe, to be able to put into words.

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I might not have gotten to do all that I wanted to this year, or accomplished anything worth while, and I may have ruined a lot of opportunities that have come my way. But, I like to think of this year as a success. I made it through in one piece. Ragged and distraught I may be, I’m still holding it all together. I’m finally moving forward with my life and learned how to grieve and accept the horrible call of death. I have settled the restlessness of my heart (for now). I am able to breath and to not tear at the bloody chunks of my insides. I hold no expectations for the new year, no silly resolutions, and absolutely no fucking clue on what I’ll be doing. It doesn’t matter though. Because I know that what’s coming will come and I’ll have to meet it when it does. There’s no avoiding it, and I kind of like that.

–Travis Simms

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