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Tears Dry On Their Own — Amy Winehouse

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All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we knew
And this regret I got accustomed to
Once it was so right
When we were at our height
Waiting for you in the hotel at night

I knew I hadn’t met my match
But every moment we could snatch
I don’t know why I got so attached

It’s my responsibility
You don’t owe nothing to me
But to walk away I have no capacity

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I don’t understand
Why do I stress a man
When there’s so many bigger things at hand

We could’ve never had it all
We had to hit a wall
So this is inevitable withdrawal

Even if I stop wanting you
And perspective pushes true
I’ll be some next man’s other man soon

I cannot play myself again
Should just be my own best friend
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

So we are history
Your shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I wish I could say no regrets
And no emotional debt
‘Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets

So we are history
A shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze
That only lovers see

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
My blue shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry

— Amy Winehouse

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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? – Amy Winehouse

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Tonight you’re mine completely.
You give your love so sweetly.
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes.
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure
or just a moment’s pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Tonight with words unspoken.
And you say that I’m the only one, the only one, yeah.
But will my heart be broken
when the night meets the morning star?

I’d like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now, cause I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Yeah

— Amy Winehouse

The beginning of a new relationship brings many questions to mind, especially when both individuals have to take care of their own needs first.  To love another, one must first love himself.

A Sample of Vintage Pics I Enjoy Collecting

A bit cheesy perhaps, but a good way I thought to share part of my collection of vintage photographs.  I look for antique or vintage photos of male couples, people with their dogs and any other photo with some unique interest.  Enjoy.

“All Conflict Ending in Love” This Time More Answers Than Questions

 

In December, 2007 I blogged about a quote I had just then read from Alan Cohen, “All conflict ends in love.” I wondered at first, “Is this stated as an affirmation?” No, some lofty, spiritual, existential ideal I was willing to bet after dedicating the quote only minimal brain power.

I blogged about Alan Cohen’s quote and honestly, I took the easy way out. I asked my readers for their feedback and insights. You could have heard my “F4” key stick on my keyboard during the day, weeks and months following that post. Silence had fallen across the “blog lands” of WordPress, Blogger, and Yahoo and beyond. Does the concept of love as the end result of conflict seem so impossible to most of us? Or were we all just too burnt out to ponder such a topic in the midst of our hurried and harried holiday season?

Am I too late for Christmas in July then? No matter, I’m ready to share my thoughts on Alan Cohen’s quote, “All conflict ending in love.”

It has been said that “all conflicts are the result of unrealistic, uncommunicated or unmet expectations.” It is well understood by humankind that there are both good and bad means of solving conflict. The bad means of ending conflict includes avoidance, hurt, frustration and unresolved issues. The good means of coming to the end of a conflict enjoys greater trust, love, understanding and a mutually satisfactory resolution.

These are the tools I subscribe to, and those to which I make my best effort to use with the goal as such that “my conflict ends in love”

No harm to anyone involved. No physical or emotional hurt or abuse. This is non-negotiable. If a conflict can’t be discussed, argued or fought without hurt being waged against someone, there are more serious challenges within the relationship that must be addressed right away. Through counseling, a good therapist can get to the core problem causing the need to hurt one another and with the partners, find the tools to confront conflict in a healthy way.

Don’t make threats/ take the relationship off the bargaining table. Remove any old tools that may invoke one to say, “If you don’t do this I’m not going to stay here tonight” or, “If you can’t do this I’m leaving you.” Try to internalize that, individual rights are secondary to the overall health of the partnership. The generally accepted definition of” love” is, “A feeling of strong attachment, induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; especially, devoted attachment to, or tender or passionate affection for, one’s chosen mate or partner in life. “ It has been suggested that a healthy relationship is one where both partners understand that they have essentially given up their individual rights in service of their partner or mate. As with most aspects of a relationship, this only works when both individuals are working under these same assumptions, constantly attempting to out-serve the other.

Don’t bring up the past. In the end and when love is at work, there is no one keeping score of the number of “transgressions” or wrongs against either party in a relationship. It has become quite commonplace for the covert score keeper of this game to hurl harsh words of accusation perhaps even time this verbal onslaught for a date in the future; simply to inflict as much emotional hurt as possible. Many of us have entered into committed relationships and there is a adage that it is best to enter into a relationship with our eyes wide open, and to commit to our partner with our eyes half shut.” Filter each situation or grievance with one’s partner on its own and without pouring upon one’s partner a deluge of accusations, confrontations or criticism.

Don’t attack the underpinning of the relationship. Beginning a confrontation about an overdrawn checking account by prefacing the argument with “you don’t trust me,” or worse yet, “you don’t love me,” inflates a common, every day type of issue and inflates it to a drama which attacks the basis of one’s relationship. It causes a flashpoint and the relationship may be consumed in firestorm of hurtful generalization.

Don’t attempt to build consensus or support from family or friends. A committed relationship provides our protection of our partner. That protection is not effectively demonstrated when one goes out to friends and/or family disclosing what should be the private details of a challenge; details that are for the ears of the partners involved, only. There should be no exception. When one or both partners seek out the support of friends and family they are attempting to create allies. Through careless disclosure and one’s attempt to build support as though the discord were a team sport, any potential support to the other partner in the future may be jeopardized or destroyed. It is possible that one’s sense of betrayal and humiliation may be so strong that the individual no longer feels safe within the friendships or family relationships and becomes isolated.

Find tools that work now: Get to work with your partner, finding the tools to have ready in your “emotional tool belt” that will help ensure that your conflict will end in love; that is, the outcome will be productive and safe. Let go any tools carried forward into adulthood from childhood that no longer are effective. Coping mechanisms that worked as children will most likely be unhealthy and hinder effective resolution of conflict. If one is aware of a tendency to interrupt or talk over one’s partner, employ the use of whatever means necessary to ensure that the partner talking has a safe, uninterrupted span of time to do so. Some therapists still use a “talking stick”; the individual holding the stick has “the floor.” The other person must sit silently and listen until they have the stick. If one partner needs 10 minutes of cool-down time before discussing the issue, make allowances for that.

Don’t exaggerate/polarize: Make every attempt not to use general terms such as “always” or “never,” which are seldom ever accurate and serve only to polarize the conversation. The tendency in any disagreement or argument is to take an extreme position to emphasize one’s point. The result of this, one partner then takes their position to the extreme opposite side, making it much harder to find any sort of middle ground.

Does my relationship with my partner imbibe this entire set of tools perfectly? Certainly not, as we are imperfect humans who with our best effort are attempting to be in a relationship with our partner. Hopefully that relationship has a healthy basis. To many, even to me, the thought or mere suggestion of conflict causes varying degrees of discomfort. From my experience however, I have come to know that if I am prepared with the proper and healthy tools, a situation involving conflict and grievance can result with both partners respecting and loving the other, possibly more than before.

Hello World!

My first blog on Blogger! I am so excited to be able to share my blogs with a whole new audience. I’ve been blogging for almost two years now on my 360 page on Yahoo! as well as to an even larger audience on WordPress.com (http://christophersmark/wordpress.com). My experience blogging has been very positive. I started blogging on Yahoo! after my partner, Christopher created my 360 page as a surprise to me. He did all the initial “setting up” of the page, and added as much of his own creativity as he possibly could. I had been telling him for months how intrigued I was by the concept of blogging. I’ve always been a conscientious one to journal on a daily basis. For my journal, I must have the most luxurious of bound papers and I treat myself to the most expensive pen I can afford. Journaling to me, is a release. It’s a way for me to look back on feelings, experiences and emotions. It’s a valuable way for me to review the lessons I’ve learned, and a chance to discern what I could have done differently in a given situation. When I journal, I write as though no one will ever see those pages but me. Honesty comes forth easily.

Honesty has become a theme in my life. I haven’t always been a person of integrity or honesty. It’s taken me a long time and its been a very difficult journey to get to the point where I am today. My blogs are all about honesty. My honesty. The lessons I am learning in this life, the fears I face, about my willingness for greater spirituality in my life, about my addiction to methamphetamines, my experience with mental illness and much more. There are individuals who may read this and find the level of honesty to which I subscribe well, unbelievable! Unfortunately, I have either run out of chances with them to prove myself, or they are unwilling to let go of the resentments they hold on to so tightly. To them, I shall always be “guilty until proven innocent”. I know the commitment I make each and every day when I first get out of bed; I commit to being rigorously honest in this new day, honest in every thought, word and action. I realize of course that I am human and prone to error, but by making this simple promise each and every day, I have grown into making honesty a habit and part of the under girding of my life.

The sharing of my honesty and my path of personal growth began on Yahoo! I quickly began making “friends” around the globe, all of whom were sharing such valuable feedback regarding my blogs. Eventually, I realized that I was nearing 700 “hits” per day on my 360 page! I yearn for ways to be more creative with my blogs and take my writing more seriously. I began taking a look at my options, and none seemed better than WordPress and now Blogger. Blogging has helped me grow in my writing, as I have even stretched a bit through my first attempts at writing poetry and short stories. Through WordPress and Blogger I have an even greater audience, still from around the world, and still offering that valuable feedback. I look forward to building a following of readers who are perhaps on the same path as I am, or maybe considering making changes in their life. I don’t set out to change anyone with my blogs, but rather show myself for who I really am. I’m no different than you…

Look In The Mirror – A Poem by Christopher Eshenbaugh

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Look in the Mirror

Look in the mirror.
I gaze deeply at the image of me;
A man who is troubled by mental relapse;
“sick-in-the-head” behavior problems,

Caution, code red!

What a deceiving image I see.
Is this reflection really of me?
I look like a man who is strong and keen,
but deep inside, I feel ashamed.
I cannot control the anger built inside of me;
Anger I have for things I should just let be!
Anger even built towards me.

Who is this coming from behind me?
A man who’s reflection joins me.
My partner, my love!
Do you see the monster I call me?
I have hurt you in many ways;
please forgive the words I say.
Forgive me for hitting you
and calling you those trashy names.

I am scared of myself. Can you help me
out?

“I know I love you without a doubt.”
is sung from his beautiful mouth.

I am blessed to be given his love and affection.
I must not destroy this reflection;
the two of us, side by side.

I am reminded that this man stands beside me,
willing to continue, right here at my side.
I must not make this a wild, scary ride.
I will change my reflection starting deep inside.

Copyright 2007

Christopher Eshenbaugh

All Rights Reserved

For The Day… When You Realize You Can’t Stand Your Partner for One More Minute

This Is For The Day…

“We’re talking roots and wings; love that is magnetic enough to hold, yet magnanimous enough to allow for flight.”

~ Charles R. Swindoll ~


This is for the day when you realize you can’t stand your partner one more minute. It’s for the time when everything inside urges you to make a prompt, seemingly permanent retreat.

The statement, “No one ever said a relationship is easy” is an understatement for so many of us with the emotional baggage and set of experiences each of us holds. We must slow down and take care of ourselves during a difficult time with someone we love. We can take inventory of our thoughts and feelings. We can make a contract not to do something impulsive. We can take the relationship “Off of the bargaining table”. We can step back and view our problems with humor.

Somewhere inside each of us is love and a commitment to our partner. This love and commitment are real, no matter how exasperating, bewildering, or undeserving he or she seems to be right now. Say to yourself, “This, too, shall pass,” because believe me, it will. Ask the Universe for humility, patience, and detachment when having challenges in relationships.

Where Is My Light?

 

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It seems as though my Light went out on or about the twenty-first of June, 2005. That was the day that my partner of 11years ended our relationship. From that day forward, and for many days thereafter, I could no longer stomach my life, or even my own existence. I wished I were dead. And with that thought in my head, a dull, constant pain in my heart began in my chest, My Light had gone out.  That bulb blew so hard, that I haven’t found a way to turn it back on again. Everything changed after my Light went out. No more jokes from me, and no more smiles either.  The way I look or the way that I live. I began hating myself so much, that all I wanted was to die. I wanted to be dead, or dying. One of the two. It didn’t matter. And then my wish came true. The first suicide attempt. Botched. The second attempt, failed. An admission to a psychiatric facility for management of my bi polar disorder and rehab for my addiction to crystal meth. I began faking my progress through treatment. I said all the right things that were expected of me by the staff at St. Luke’s.

And then I found out that I was not only HIV+, but in full-blown AIDS. At last, I was at least dying. My Light was really gone now. Everything I knew in my life began to fall apart and fell away from me. I couldn’t grasp anything that mattered to me. I couldn’t go back to the home Joel and I shared for ten years. Our pets were to be split up between us. Our furniture sent to be auctioned off. I would move in with my sister, apply for welfare assistance and hope for the day when I might be able to live independently once again. There was to be outpatient treatment, and twelve step groups. There would be no using of crystal meth, and no consuming of alcohol. I was watched as though I were an escapee from an asylum, someone on the verge of committing some terrible act of harm against society. Without my Light, I began feeling lost, alone, and afraid.

The only echoes of my previous life were those of the hurt, pain and suffering I inflicted upon those I claimed to have loved. There were dances in my head, of lies, deceit, cheating and manipulation. Without my Light, there was no life for me to love or for me to feel was worth living. How could Joel ever forgive me? I beat myself mentally until I felt that I was worthless, almost subhuman.

Then there were small sparks. An apartment. My independence. Welfare and food stamps. Friends to support me emotionally and to help me feel at least somewhat loved. A bigger spark still, I met my present partner, Christopher. Things moved quickly. We stated our love for one another the very first night that we met. He never left after that first night. We decided he would move in. This was my love at first sight experience. A glimmer of light. But not Light.

Something was wrong though with this relationship with Christopher. Our dreamy beginning suddenly turned cold and dark, as his temper flared, outbursts we eventually would call them. Physical harm. Hurtful, hateful words that still sting like a nerve pain. Without Light, life was in chaos. I couldn’t manage my life, Christopher couldn’t manage his, and neither of us could fully support the other. Our lights were shut off by the power company and for nearly three months we lived in darkness until we were evicted from that apartment. We lived in disarray. Whose fault was that? Why even bother to cast blame. Joel turned his Light upon me and I saw the way in which I was living, and it was not the way I have ever lived in the past. I could see it all, but only for a few moments. My ex-partner stretched out his arm and said he’d help me out this one time. This one time only.

A new apartment and a fresh start, but not the best choice. Close to the home I had with my ex-partner, and in my old neighborhood, but not safe. Still, life was not managed well. The car is lost, stolen, towed. Who really knows? We got caught driving it with a suspended registration and no insurance. I had to go before a judge and I still have not yet dealt with the fines. I should be filing for protection under bankruptcy. I can’t manage my money at all. And Christopher will spend it faster than I have ever imagined anyone spending money. My ex-partner remained by my side for a time, with ideas to make life manageable. He helped in many ways. His Light shining on me confused me then. I found myself fantasizing about being back in relationship with him. With every crisis in my life, I called him and was there. Shining some more of his Light so that I can see a little better than before. His shining Light revealed strange pathways of mine that appear when I make choices and decisions. I began to become aware that I wasn’t on the path that I should have been on.  Sadly, my ex-partner has completely severed all ties with Christopher and I, apparently having gotten in touch with some latent resentment and anger, for which he claims he will never be able to come to any form of forgiveness, the forgiveness from before, he says, wasn’t authentic.

Without my own Light, I feel that death is near. Surely without Light, my life shall end. I prepare for my own transition. Memorial service and the entirety of its music is selected, Last Will and Testament complete, disposition of the animals noted, Health Care Power of Attorney chosen. Now why won’t death just come? I’ve got to wait here in the dark? This isn’t even funny. I already feel so lost, alone and afraid. Christopher seems to be getting somewhat better though not really committing to taking his meds or going to therapy.

In my darkness I can’t see. Even my glasses are gone most of the time, worn by Christopher. I find a new area of discomfort in my gut. It’s vile and poisonous and comes through my darkness in the form of mean, hateful, hurtful behavior. Words that I know will cause equal pain and suffering to mine are hurled out against Christopher. And following these waves of anger grew despair and deep depression. A depression so deep that I can’t even move. Nothing looks good to me. I see no positive to my being here or my existence. My body feels as though each day, it is shutting down just a little more. I experience chest pain so severe that I have to stop and catch my breath and to rest until it subsides.

I take many, many pictures of myself. Christopher takes many as well. In these pictures I try to smile, as though I would be filled with Light, but each photo reveals a face that is contorted or in pain with each attempt. I look at these pictures and think to myself, “There is no Light living here”. I begin to edit each picture making each look even more gloomy, and dark.

With each day comes greater waves of anger and loss of self control. “I want Joel” I tell Christopher. “Joel will help me. He’ll rescue me. He always does. Joel is always there for me”. Christopher hears this many times over, and eventually begins to doubt my love for him. He believes it is Joel that I want. And if that’s the case I should go to him. But Joel has moved on. I have not. If I had my Light, maybe I could see my way clear, and move on from Joel. Or is that just an excuse to hang on to something familiar and someone who forgives and gives generously? My Light doesn’t even come on when I’m in the house we once owned together. It’s all so different and it doesn’t feel like my home any longer. All I hear are the echoes of the life we once lived there. Echoes of family gatherings and parties with friends. Of projects and crafts. And of course the things I did there that ruined the Light. Shameful, disrespectful, deceitful acts.

I miss the life that I had when I also had Light. Life was Spiritual. Life had a rhythm and a cadence. Life to me now, has a loud bullying voice that embarrasses me. Which of course I retaliate with my own viciousness that is sure to hurt. This life is filled with loss. The loss of things that was once dear and valued by me. Destroyed by someone who had no regard for their meaning and felt there would be a better use for them as an art project. The actual loss of a pet (Precious) and the impending loss of Cinder. I still grieve the loss of Pepper, Blue and CeCe. All of this is what I believe put out that once beautiful, shining, glorious Light that I had been filled with. Now, I have nothing. My writing this will certainly not please my partner. But it is the truth. I can’t go on living a life without Light. It doesn’t even matter how many days I may have left. Even if it’s just a few days of life yet to be lived, I would choose to have it filled with Light than all of this darkness.

I would like to know the steps I must take to reclaim my Light. How exactly do I get it back? Where do I begin? I wish to laugh again, and make jokes. I want a smile on my face to come naturally. I want to feel the love I have for another, and in turn the love one has for me. I want to turn to my God when I feel my Light begin to dim, to talk things out the way we used to. I want to enjoy the routine of life, and respect the entire world around me. I want to be responsible to the pets in my charge and give them the best care possible. I wish to cry less. I cry so hard that my Soul begins to hurt. And Souls aren’t supposed to hurt. I want my Light to return. It has taken much of my strength to cry out for help. But I did. I welcome feedback and feel assured that help will come. And so will my Light.


 

Why Am I Being So Mean?

I used to describe myself as having an “ascerbic” personality when in reality, I’m just a sarchastic son-of-a-bitch sometimes. I can be sarchastic when I feel as though I’m not being understood or heard, and I can be sarchastic to anyone. But I don’t understand why I’ve been so sarchastic toward Christopher lately. I am being mean toward him. I am saying hurtful things. Words that hurt and that he carries with him for a long time. Words which stop him from doing his art or poetry because I referred to it as “stupid shit”.

This isn’t really me.

So the other night, Joel and I talked about tools that I could have to stop the mean and sarchastic behavior. I know what it feels like – what I feel in my body just as I’m about to feel like saying something mean or sarchastic. It’s a burning in my stomach. When I feel that, I’ll have something I’ll say to give Christopher a sign that we’re going down that dark path. Whatever it is I say, maybe it will be something like, “I need to regroup”, this will then create some very sacred, impenetrable space for me to take like five minutes to use my STAR technique (in one of my earlier blogs). Using STAR, I’ll redirect to a healthy alternative and not be so mean and cruel to a man who deserves so much more from me. It’s amazing how we as humans can so easily hurt the one’s we love. And I love Christopher with all of my heart and soul!

Sharing with you a Valentine’s Gift from Christopher

This is a poem written by my partner Christopher for me and given to me on Valentine’s Day, 2006:

To Thine Own Self Be True

My Husband Mark:

A Dream Come True!

I’m Writing This Just for you.

You’re the bomb,

Now don’t you laugh!

You are the epitome of a perfect half.

Even though we had just 2 dates,

I knew that moment we had walked our fate.

Breathtaking eyes that mesmerize,

My heart beats rhythmically

Echoing your name.

Hoping yours is doing the same.

If heaven exists, then I know this:

You are an angel, heard on high,

Throughout every mountainside,

Let it be known beyond this realm,

That Mark is my man!

Honest and True,

Who woulda’ knew…

That I would live to the day,

When I was able to give my heart away?

So if you see fit,

And we both agree,

There is no other lover to come in between.

We stand by each side together on this ride.

And please, give me the honor;

Cupid has checked his list,

And he encourages this:

Be My Valentine!

You will be in bliss,

As I seal the deal with a kiss!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby XOXO

~Christopher~