I don't think I have anything interesting to write today but that's how all of my blog posts start. I haven't felt creative or productive in a few weeks and it's really been killing my motivation. Even if this stays saved locally and never published, it feels good to write a bit for myself right now. I'm smiling as I write this because that's so self-congratulatory for such a simple little act and I really really really want to be condescending to myself, but I will resist the urge! Instead, I will simply be self-deprecating. I have a terrible poem to share but I'll save that for later.
Today, Friday, I had my first drink since last Sunday. It wasn't difficult to make it the 5 days sober. I had a few cravings here and there, in the quiet moments when usually I am either stuck with myself or enjoying the companionship a bottle brings. That might be a bit melodramatic, but it's not mistaken. My drinking, like much of the country, has skyrocketed during the pandemic. I took the month of January off, then I started daily drinking right back where I left off. I noticed it was really bad last week, without a day going by that I didn't have a drink. So, I decided to take the week to myself. It didn't have the desired consequences if I'm being honest. At the start of 2020 I was in the worst place I had ever been in, and alcohol was a big part of that. I stopped drinking that January, and it left me fresh, renewed, and happy for what felt like the first time in a long time. I did the same thing this year and I felt no better than I did in December.
Now, that's a massively privileged statement. I have a loving partner, a satisfying job with good hours, and the pandemic has really cut back my spending so that an AmeriCorps budget isn't difficult. It's impossible to have such a dramatic shift in mood like I did last year because I'm no where near as low. But still, I'm disappointed by the results of my sobriety. I want to be more interested in my hobbies, my career, and my job than I have been. I want to be in better shape. But yet I spend my evenings lounging around when I have so much work to do. I want to point at the slow depressing winter we are just now crawling out of, but I don't think covers the whole situation. I don't know what the whole situation is. Writing about my mental health always helps though, putting these words down is sometimes the only way I can reflect critically on my actions, my behavior, my life. Maybe I'll get on my bike today.
Anyway, here's wonderwall.
I will look up at the sunset and feel nothing.
I will not feel anger over injustice.
I will forget the words to my favorite song.
I will not leave.
I will not laugh.
I will not be sad.
One day I will look at your face and not smile.
On that day I will cease to be me.
Until then, I will hold onto these moments.
Cherishing the happiness,
and everything in between.
Smiling, at the beauty of a sunset.
A new day, a new city, a new state, and a new adventure. Today was the first day I truly got to explore the city I just moved to, Albany, New York. It feels odd to live not in Wisconsin ha. 24 years old and starting over. I've heard people talk about this kind of feeling a lot, a fresh start in someplace new but mostly I'm feeling a bit lonely. I'm not even sure what I want to write about here but as I've done on all new adventures, when I end up by myself, I write. As you can tell it's nothing special but I'm going to use this platform to express myself when I have no one around who I can call a friend. Yet.
Moving during a pandemic is probably a bad idea, and the difficulty has been turned up on the 'making friends part of a new place' aspect. Today though, I find some hope and optimism. I went on a 16~ mile bike ride across the city and along the Hudson River, stopping at my new office and then the abandoned factory a mile down the road. There is probably a metaphor about the dilapidated building in contrast to my new start but that's a little more effort than I want to put into this blog post right now. Regardless of the forced dichotomy, I finished my ride feeling rejuvenated. Throughout the summer I trained with my best friend Michael to ride our bikes 64 miles from Milwaukee to Madison WI in honor of the covid-canceled ShrekFest. Originally, we were going to ride to the festival but instead we decided to ride to the park where it would have been held. We trained rigorously for the first few weeks then I got super lax. While he kept putting on the miles by himself, I never rode over 40 and the one time I did that it damn near killed me. I had always planned on moving before the scheduled 64 mile ride but then this new job in Albany pushed back my start date and I found myself wildly unprepared for a ride I no longer had an excuse to skip. Was I a man of my word or a coward who would succumb to his own laziness? Maybe it was the fear of disappointing myself and all of my friends who I had told about this ride, or maybe it was simply a delusion of grandeur but I got on that bike and mile by mile made my farewell tour of Wisconsin.
10, 20, 30 miles, Michael and I were breezing through towns and laughing the whole way. 40 miles and I was sweating, telling myself that the pain I felt in my legs wasn't real because if I was this tired at mile 40 there was no way I could get to mile 60. At mile 50 Michael was as chipper as ever while I was panting on the side of the road desperate to give my legs a reprieve. Mile 60 came with labored breaths and an absolute disdain for every inch of road that I had left. Finally, mile 64 came and went and with it so did my will to move. I would have been willing to lay in that grass for the next 10 hours but Michael was determined to get a victory beer and how could I not oblige my friend after he dealt with my whining and even me crashing into his back wheel at mile 52.
This was without a doubt my greatest physical accomplishment and I wouldn't have even tried it without my friend there to push me along every step of the way. The reason my training schedule fell apart was not because I didn't have the time to ride, it was because I didn't like to ride alone. I don't really like to do anything alone, even when I spout off about my love for traveling alone, my favorite part about traveling is meeting people along the way. Over the course of this pandemic summer I easily rode over 150 miles and maybe 4 of them I rode alone. I have been worried for a lot of reasons for the last 2 weeks and one of them was the fear my bike would have cobwebs on it sooner rather than later. Without Michael him here to push me, to laugh with, I didn't know if I would get back on my bike but today, I proved that fear to be unsubstantiated. Even with the Skrek-Trek defeated I still have a reason to ride. This may seem like an inconsequential thing to be worried about, but it perfectly reflects so may of my hobbies. Without my friends to support me and to explore with, will I still practice my photography? Will I go to a game store to win a few games of magic? Will I put new miles on my bike? I answered one of these questions for myself today. Winter will be here soon, and I might have to pack my bike away, but until then I'll see you on the road.
-Lucas Wyatt Jackson
Covid-19 is really running a muck in this country. I'm pretty sure I had it the past few weeks, can't say it's been fun.(Author's note: I did some contact tracing and I think I actually caught a bad case of strep throat from a friend) I tried to get tested but my symptoms were not severe enough to warrant testing, which is to say there are so few tests in this state that they have to save them for medical personal and high risk patients. What a boondoggle this whole crisis has been. It really shows our true colors as a people, as a nation permanently connected to the internet. That connection is what allowed us to meme a shortage of toilet paper into existence. One to many popular memes and people swarm the nearest Walmart to buy their entire supply.
I've been handling this pretty well though. I've spent my time perfecting my juggling abilities, working on this website, touching up my resume, and all sorts of unproductive bullshit 90% of the time. I really expected my depression to flare up during this confinement in my home but surprisingly it has stayed away. I guess I'm lucky for the supportive people in my life who keep me occupied without leaving this far to comfy couch. I was hoping this post would write itself, kind of a personal documentation of the crisis that's killing so many people across the world. The funny thing is how little is really happening. What a polar set of emotions we all have right now, anxiety that the world is ending and boredom from trying to stop it the only way we can. Social distancing is manageable, tolerable even, but my god is it boring. Regardless, I'm happy to have my health and happy my family has their health because so many other families in this country have neither. I'd rather be bored than dying. I hope other's head the news and shelter in place. To many stand to lose everything in the upcoming months if we don't hold fast to our commitments.
Till next time friends
What a drug you are. I'm sitting here alone looking back at the good and the bad but you, you're soaking through all of it. I know how I was feeling behind the camera in many of these pictures, angry, anxious, unhappy, all of the emotions one would rather forget and you're there to make me remember the smiles of those in frame. Taking photos of everyone leads to an interesting stroll through memory lane. A lot of lovers, a lot of people who I called friends, just a lot of people. I feel a lot of resentment and anger towards some of them yet viewing the moment where I felt nothing but love or happiness makes everything I was going through feel insignificant. Truly it was insignificant, because here I am years later still breathing, still beating. I wish I could talk with them. In reality I could, it would be easy to do, but burned bridges are hard to walk across. Christ if I use one more superfluous metaphor in this stupid little journal entry I'll delete the whole damn thing. I won't, but it's a nice threat.
Friends and family, lovers and those I've hurt, those who hate me and those who would rather never hear my name again. It all blends within your rose tinted hue. Ironic because I was really into editing in yellow tones in most of these. We all look sun sick because I just couldn't leave the white balance alone ha.
I have to wonder how important you are, what you acomplish. I can feel you nagging me to message people I shouldn't, to rebuild those burned bridges. They burned for a reason. But there you are again, telling me they're not burned at all, in fact they stand strong, simply forgotten. That I could easily walk accross them again.
But you're wrong.
I shouldn't. I know better.
I always feel stumped when trying to write something about myself. It's not that I couldn't vomit some words onto the page about what I believe in, who I trust, the things I like to do and the people I care about. Maybe a picture or two of my dogs and maybe one of myself. But lately I've been doing a lot of self reflection, trying to figure out who I am today. It's easy to get trapped in the labels we have asigned to ourselves yesterday, last week, last year. It would be easy to wave my hand in the air and say "I'm me, nothing more, nothing less." but that reaks of pretention and a lack of understanding about who I am underneath the cool and collected facade that's rarely cool or collected.
What I think I really struggle with is finding the line between authenticty and trying to be authentic to the point where authenticity is lost. What a dumb concept anyways, we are only what we say we are, the actions we take, and the things we create. It's nice knowing no one will read this other than Davis but still putting thoughts out into the world. Guess thats why people like social media. For how much I complain about social media this whole page could easily be condensed and posted on a timeline. Maybe not enough drama but it would fit in all the same.