After last night’s communication glitch aka conflict aka fight aka I say one thing she hears another thing and vice versa aka Thursday nights at bedtime are heavy with accumulated  Monday Tuesday Wednesday busy busy busy fatigue . . .  

After all that, I said Tacoma let’s go and I clipped his leash and pushed in my headphones and typed Eminem into Spotify and tapped Lose Yourself and pressed play. I turned up the volume. My mouthed moved to the lyrics. The song only took me half way around the neighborhood so I played it again. I felt like I was the low-brow underdog from 8 Mile. I moved my hands in the air. I felt like I was the first white rapper to stand up and spew and have millions of Americans applaud. I know every word. Lose Yourself came out in October 2002. A year after 9/11. I was a sophomore in high school. Back then, I instantly recognized his anger. And also his energy. The song’s been one of my favorites ever since. For fifteen years. Maybe I still have anger, or maybe I still want to dig dig dig and cut open my energy portal like he did. 

After the second playing,the dog and I were back at the house. Left right left right up brick stairs, I let the Spotify playlist move on to Mockingbird. A lullaby with teeth. 

I had a hard time falling asleep but slept soundly. 

At 5am. Coffee. Sip. It’s raining. Shorter dog walk. Sirens. Blue red spill on sidewalk. College kids still up. Hood up, I avoid eye contact.

I sit down to write. I can’t imagine you sitting down to read. Are you sitting or standing? Calm or frenetic? Happy or sad?

Every day I read a blog about a year-round ocean swimmer. Cold water. Colder than the coldest shower. She writes every day. Just like me. Except hers is gulls and starry night and wild wind and sacred pebbles. Her writing exudes such positivity and joy. My journal feels like the literary equivalent of Edvard Munch’s Scream painting, except I erase the human figure and leave just the nuclear holocaust background. Maybe that’s just how I feel this morning. 

That’s why the opening pages of the book A Million Little Pieces are so good. Like Eminem. The narrator is rock-bottom. He’s broken, ruined, and wrecked. Body and mind. In a million little pieces. This forces the reader to either identify or put the book down. I’m still reading. And still listening to Eminem. 

As I write this, I’m realizing how much I take for granted. I have a winter hat on, hood up. This was how I went to class during law school. Aggressively against. But still there. Still listening, taking notes, processing. I’m not sure whether any or all of this has anything to do with my mom dying in October of the first year of law school. Whether that stunted my growth, leaving me perpetually 23. Or if mom dying kicked me into alcoholism, or if that’s me trying to put blame

The big question. What causes depression and anxiety? New research says we have unmet psychological needs. Basic needs which pills can’t fix. The need to feel we belong. The need to feel our lives have meaning. The need to feel that people see us and value us. The need to feel like we have a future that makes sense. Experts say we America is the most depressed and anxious country on Earth. The increasing ineffectiveness of pharmaceutical treatments are leading and the exploding number of people reporting symptoms has led some scientists to shift their thinking to these deep, underlying psychological needs. And how we’re so empty, so depleted. 

Verse 3 of Lose Yourself is what’s up. Eminem spits a line like: “and I can't provide the right type of life for my family.” And a few seconds later he flings: “And these times are so hard, and it's gettin' even harder/ Tryna feed and water my seed, plus teeter-totter/ Caught up between bein' a father and a prima donna.”

Woah man preach. 

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