You’re just gonna leave me, so what’s the point?

I’m a sarcastic fellow. A dark fellow. A sad and sickly fellow with a twisted sense of humor that must often be tempered among the sunny masses. The older I get, the more cynical I’ve grown — or devolved. However you look at it. More and more frequently, I tell myself there’s just no point in reaching out to others, again and again and again, just to maintain a friendship that will ultimately prove fatal. After all, I’ve been there, done that too many […]

Hey, Jude

2016 introduced me to not one but two seasons of carlessness — my first bouts without a vehicle since becoming an adult many moons ago. These seasons without wheels humbled me. Most of the world lives without cars, after all. I was still among the 1% wealthiest people, even without a car. Walking to work without a car, I realized how blessed I’ve been over the last decade to have had one. To roam from one coastline to another and […]

A Decade Without Annie

The vortex of my loathing for November stems from this date a decade ago. The day I lost my dog, Annie, to a freak accident. An accident I was convinced was connected to my first bout with pornography and God’s judgment. A decade later, I’ve laxed on the whole God punishing me thing; a decade later, I still miss that dog dearly. I hug and cuddle all these other dogs in Asheville, daily at my job and dog-sitting at people’s […]

I’ve Never Been More Hopeful and Terrified

Last week I “celebrated” the one-year anniversary of my cross-continental road trip’s conclusion. And by “celebrated,” I mean to say I cried multiple times by day’s end. No dramatic gasping wheezing weeping sessions, but I dabbed my eyes throughout the afternoon and evening as I looked back at some images from the road, including that final one of myself gazing over Charlotte’s sparkly skyline. It was “supposed” to be the end of all my wandering. And by “supposed,” I mean to say that […]

My Brother Said He Loves Me

I’ve returned to the addicts group. It’s the first time in five shifts that I’ve reunited with a group, and it’s already made for a smoother integration. For this familiarity to occur with the oldest, previously most intimidating group full of mustaches and patchy beards is a welcome surprise. I’ve teamed back up with 18-year-old Matt, the “bad twin” who also has a set of younger twin siblings. I’m learning more about his journey beyond cocaine and his supportive family, including his latest batch of letters and […]

My Parents Don’t Want Me Anymore

“It’s Jack!” they scream, peering into the pickup. “He came back!” I climb out of the truck. “Actually, my name is Tom. Jack was the other guy.” I reintroduce myself to the seven middle school boys I’d met during my training week with Jack and four fellow trainees. I’ve only just started this job in the Blue Ridge, but because I’ve been hopping around to different groups every other week, it’s already been a long month and a half since […]

What Makes You an Incredible Friend

You’re an incredible friend. You’ve loved me when I’ve often struggled to love myself. You’re an incredible friend. You’ve texted me and called me and otherwise checked on me when I’ve never asked you to do so. Especially when I’ve secretly needed your love but felt too ashamed or needy to ask for it. You’re an incredible friend. You’ve asked me to coffee or concerts and shared in lively lovely conversations with me when the silence of isolation has nearly […]

10 Struggles I’m Thankful For

In this warm season of friends and family and frozen foul that take days to thaw, it’s difficult, often harrowing, to acknowledge life’s less-than-stellar moments and espouse even a somewhat thankful spirit. And yet impossible though the task may seem, finding the song amid the chaos has produced such release and redemption in my life. Hope. Over the last twenty-six years, I’ve weathered some severe struggles. Here are ten of my fiercest in which, eventually, I saw redemption emerge – […]