Honesty Hour

Guilty Conscious



Reflection is important.
That sounds so ridiculously obvious, I’m sure.
In fact, probably a lot of what I’m about to say is obvious, but it hasn’t always been for me.

There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with self reflection. For most of my life I did it the wrong way.

As long as I can remember, I have always been hyper aware of my “self”. I don’t believe I’ve ever been too egotistical, narcissistic, or overly confident or anything, but I’m always reflecting on myself. That being said, I’m sure there are some people out there that would ascribe some of these attributes to me. Perhaps rightfully so based on my interactions with them, but I know deep down they are mostly untrue. If I had shown any of these characteristics it was surely out of insecurity or an attempt to hide my flaws. I’m confident making that claim, as most of my awareness has been hyper focused on the negative attributes of myself and almost zero directed towards the positive.

For most of my life, guilt has been my most treasured annoyance. I have written about it here excessively, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the debilitating nature of my guilt held me back from some pretty amazing things: Relationships, career opportunities, everyday life, etc.

I was constantly aware of my past sins and unable to forgive myself. There was a running tab of all the horrible shit I had done playing through my head 24/7 -weighing me down each and every day.

Want an example?
In second grade I scammed a fourth grader named Tyson out of a foil Blastoise Pokemon card by convincing him that the less evolved squirtle was “cuter” and therefore more valuable to him. I knew the monetary value of both cards as I had a magazine that listed the current trading prices and he did not. If you know anything about pokemon cards, you know just how maniacal I had acted. He didn’t know that a Squirtle was one of the most common cards (non valuable) and that the foiled Blastoise was deemed a “rare” card (valuable). I took advantage of his ignorance and have felt guilty ever since.

I use that as a pretty “cute” example of my guilt, but it’s not when I think about it. It’s a perfect example of how unhealthy my guilt had become. I carried that with me my entire life. In high school, Tyson’s mother passed away and my immediate reaction was immense guilt over a Pokemon card. As illogical and ridiculous as it is, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Oh no, I screwed him over a Blastoise and his mom died.” I know these are unrelated and would never ever register as comparable, but that was my honest reaction. I held onto my sleight against him without ever rectifying the situation allowing my guilt to build and build.

I have struggled with depression most of my waking life and a big part of that was feeling guilty about things I had done. I never once thought of a happy memory. I just associated my past with the negatives and would solely focus on those experiences. I would get so down on myself for my past behavior, that I wouldn’t exist in the moment. Because I was too busy wallowing in the past I failed to make corrections in the present which naturally doomed the future. I was aware at how the circle perpetuated itself, yet I couldn’t seem to forgive myself enough to change it.

I have since made some enormous changes in my life, my attitude, and my relationship with the past. In talking with so many patient people in my life, I was able to get to a point where I could start forgiving myself a little bit. I still hold on to a lot of things, but I hold onto them because I’m not done with them yet. If I look back at something I don’t like, I make sure I don’t repeat those behaviors in the future. I actively strive to become better as a friend, brother, significant other, and person alive in this day and age. The things I still hold onto, I haven’t figured out a way to adjust, but I’m confident I will.

I am still hyper aware of my flaws and shortcomings, but I promise I’m working on them. I’m not sure I’ll ever be “done” becoming the person I think I should be, but I enjoy that thought. Who I am right now is a much better person than I was just one year ago. I hope that I look back in a year and acknowledge the strides I’ve made this coming year, but recognize some more of the things I’m still holding onto.

I think I may finally be to a point where I’ve got this whole self reflection thing down to a healthy and manageable way.

Reflect on past behaviors/situations.
Identify what is immoral, unwanted, or cringeworthy. 
Accept that it was me.
Either make amends, or forgive myself.
Make adjustments immediately.
Be aware of the adjustments and practice them until it’s my nature.

Move forward a better human.




Matthew Forgives (himself)

"Long Time No See"



I rarely feel strongly moved by anything. I could be in the presence of some great art, or witness an alleged “awesome moment”, and still feel very blasé about it. I’m constantly looking for the next thing and tend to hate when moments linger.

This week I was moved. I saw something truly beautiful. And amazing. And awesome. And just fucking good.

It all starts with a girl named Sam.
Sam and I met on tinder.
Don’t give me that look, it’s 2017 and the world is weird as shit and this is just how some people meet these days. Whatever.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I despise first dates. People having the whole “getting to know you” conversation always feels like some strange recital everyone has studied for their entire lives. The conversation is usually well practiced, uninspiring, redundant and boring beyond belief. “My name is Matt, I’m originally from a small town in Washington, I do this, I hate this, I sort of want to blow my head off as I’m speaking, I’m judging your drink order and I really just want to go home and read.”

Generally speaking, dating can seem a little cold and robotic. It’s as if everyone is running on autopilot, while presenting a curated self, while also trying to decide if there’s a connection to other person’s masked personality. It’s weird.

Sam and I briefly touched base on a few of the usual topics one would cover on a first date, but mostly just skipped right passed all the boring shit. It was nice. We left the typical “date night” bar we met at and ended up getting drunk at some Star Wars bar in Hollywood with her friends. I don’t know that I would ever go hang out with a date’s friends, but Sam is different.

The thing about Sam, is that she has a giant personality.
Right when one meets her, one can tell she is charming, incredibly beautiful and funny as hell. Within moments, one could tell she is a complete badass, has a world class wit and speaks with a rare bluntness you hardly see in my generation. She reveals herself, and cuts through the bullshit. I was immediately convinced that I wanted to hang out with her all the time.

On one of the earlier dates, Sam brought up the subject of family. Now, in similar situations in the past this topic has often been the worst of ‘em. I don’t mean to sound like an asshole, but I just don’t know if recalling one’s normal ass family doing normal ass things is riveting conversation to tell to a borderline stranger for an hour and a half.

Sam’s family story is different, though.

Sam was born on the east coast, moved to Orange County with her Mother when she was younger, and she didn’t know her father. She had two pictures of him growing up – One was blurry. She did, however, find him on Facebook and found out he lived an hour ish away. She told me flat out that she had always felt like something was missing, and she suspected that not knowing him was a huge reason for that. She then told me that he had other children: a boy, and two twin girls. She just kind of casually mentioned it. Like, “Yeah, I have a brother and two sisters who have no idea I exist.” She opened up their Facebook profiles and showed me the resemblance and was kind of like, “Isn’t that weird?!”.

Fuck me, I wanted to meddle so bad. Of course it was weird! You can contact them right now! What’re you waiting for?!

I asked a bunch of questions and joked that I wanted to message her brother. I was partially serious because I wanted her to know them... or them to know her? I kept thinking of how fucking awesome this girl is and that these people sort of deserved to know they have this person as a sister. And by this point I was already convinced that Sam deserved everything she wanted out of life. I didn’t message her brother. Though she was fairly casual about it, it seemed like one of the more inappropriate things I could have done. The conversation eventually turned and the night carried on, but the whole issue never really left my mind.

Weeks later, Sam was enjoying one of her favorite meals from one her favorite establishments: Snow Crab legs and wings from Hooters. A waitress she was friendly with had just gotten off work as Sam was finishing up her feast, so they started talking and drinking. While drinking with the hooters waitress, the topic of her family came up again. The Hooters waitress convinced her to write a message to her brother on Facebook. I can’t remember the exact details, but it was probably something like: “Hey, I’m not sure if you know about me, but I’m your half-sister. Hello!”

I think it was possibly the Hooters waitress who was the one who hit the send button. Regardless, Sam messaged her brother.

She met up with me shortly after this happened. Slightly buzzed and completely nervous, she told me what had happened and was convinced she had made a mistake. He hadn’t read the message yet, and she was sort of freaking out. I kept telling her that because they weren’t “Facebook friends” it was sitting in the “other” inbox that no one really checks, but it’s only a matter of time. She sent him a friend request in hopes of him getting the message quicker.

Her brother eventually accepted the request and read the message.

She was right, he didn’t know she existed.

After a few messages, they exchanged numbers and started texting and speaking on the phone. Her brother told his sisters, and I’m not sure how, but I can only imagine asked his dad something like, “UHHHH.... what’s with all of this?”. Regardless, you could tell he was handling it well, and Sam was excited. Like, really fucking excited. She told me she didn’t like hanging up when they would speak and that she thought maybe she finally had something she wanted her whole life: contact with her brother. It was no longer a casual topic she brought up. It was meaningful, real, and almost tangible.

After finding out her brother knew, her Dad finally reached out to Sam with the intention of meeting up.
They set a time and place.
She wanted this her entire life.

Again, she was nervous as hell. She would go back and fourth with anxiety and hope. She didn’t want to be let down, but hoped so badly this would be positive. The closer the meeting got, the more she cracked jokes and the more she got pretty worried.

“What if he doesn’t like me?”
“What am I supposed to wear to meet my biological father?

“This is so weird!”

On the agreed upon day, at a hipster café in Los Feliz, Sam met with her father.

In a very Sam-like move, she sensed the awkwardness as she walking up so when she reached him she quipped, “Long time no see!”. He laughed. They had a good conversation and though I’m not sure of what was said at the table, she was super happy and he wanted to see her again. I’m told it was “cute”. He informed her that his niece was getting married soon and a bunch of family were in town and there just so happened to be a family BBQ planned the following weekend. So, a father invited his daughter he didn’t know to a family BBQ where she would meet her sisters and extended family. She wouldn’t be meeting her brother at the get together, as he lived in another state, but would be back for the wedding the following week.

The night before the party, Sam asked me, “What are you going to wear to meet my Dad?” I had just assumed she would want to build a relationship with everyone before introducing them to me because we hadn’t talked about it. I was taken a back, but very excited. I started wondering, “Shit, what am I going to wear to meet her biological father?” What the hell does one wear to meet their girlfriend’s family who just found out she exists? ***

When I went to pick up Sam the next day, she aggressively couldn’t decide what to wear. She was, in her words, “freaking out!” Completely understandable, but everything she tried on seemed great to me. I was convinced she could have worn her usual outfit of an oversized band tee and black jeans, and everyone would have complemented her. Some people can just pull off anything. It’s annoying. Eventually she found an outfit she “sort of” liked and we left. She was immediately nervous. Like, wouldn’t-stop-talking-feeling-nauseous-wanting-me-to-pull-over type of nervous. It took 1.5 hours to get there, and as soon as we got off the freeway, she did in fact “freak out”. She started balling. She was nauseous to the point of needing air and asking me to slow down. She half- jokingly asked me to turn around and drive back. She apologized for crying a million times, ignoring me when I said “It’s completely OK! You don’t have to apologize.” I didn’t know how to console her, other than keep saying, “Everything’s going to be OK. They will all like you.”

When we parked at the address she took five minutes to cry, then took a few deep breaths, cleaned herself up, and we got out of the car. We walked to the front door which had a sign on it that read, “Come in, we’re all out back!”. Sam didn’t see the sign until after she rang the doorbell. We both laughed when she said “Oh shoot, I’ve already screwed it up!”. Her Aunts and uncles, her cousins, her grandmother, her sisters, her father, and her father’s girlfriend weren’t out back like the sign had said. They were right inside, seemingly waiting for Sam to arrive. They opened the door and an onslaught of handshakes, hugs and nice-to-meet-you’s came her way. She immediately started cracking jokes and exhibiting her wit, humor and confidence, all of which deescalated the initial awkwardness in seconds. You would never have been able to tell that moments prior she was about to throw up from nerves, crying uncontrollably and constantly “freaking out.”

Right away, I could tell everyone was so fucking nice -It was incredible. Within minutes of arriving it felt like Sam was part of the family. It just worked. She had just met most of these people, and it was as if they had known each other their entire lives. I have never seen anything like it, and I highly doubt I ever will again. I would randomly look over at Sam who was sitting next to her sisters while having a beer with her dad, and catch them all smiling and laughing with each other. It was inspiring. It was moving.

The day was filled with beautiful, incredible, and amazing moments. Like, one of her sisters gave her a matching necklace and it may have been the most adorable thing on the planet. I had never seen Sam happier. Hell, I’ve never seen anyone happier. They all seemed to like me, too. Or maybe they were just politely laughing at my dumb jokes. In situations like that, I can come off as either friendly or annoyingly friendly depending on everyone’s mood. I usually become that guy at the party who tries to make sure everyone else is having a good time. Regardless, they loved Sam. The day was about her, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. Her cousin, the one getting married, invited her to the wedding the following week. It was pretty adorable on all accounts. Plus, she could meet her brother at the wedding.

All in all, we were only there for a few short hours. We had a party to get to that Sam had gotten tickets for before all this started happening. She just casually looked at me and said, “Oh dang, we should get going to that other thing?” It was kind of strange leaving. Even though we had just met them all, and it was a huge day, it was more of a “I’ll see ya guys soon!” type of good-bye. Everyone hugged and it was great, but it was really... normal.

Then we got to the car.

She looked at me and I could tell she was starting to reflect on the day. She immediately started crying. Way harder than before. I have never seen someone cry so hard from joy. Instead of apologizing for crying, she would proclaim how happy she was, how much she had wanted this, and how much she loved everyone.

“You have no idea how happy I am, Matt!”

I didn’t.
But, I sort of teared up myself seeing her.

Hearing someone I care about so much say that while crying tears of joy... I don’t know. It just got to me. It was beautiful and I was moved. Somehow, just witnessing one of the biggest days in Sam’s life might of been one of the biggest days in my life. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was profoundly moved.

The next weekend Sam was to meet her brother. Again she was nervous and excited, but had much more confidence after the first family gathering. That being said, she really wanted to meet her brother. He was the one she had initially reached out to, and more importantly he was the one that initially recognized her existence and accepted her. He was special to her, and it was another big deal. They finally met at the wedding rehearsal and it was the same situation as before: She was scared (yet no one could tell), immediately charmed everyone, was hilarious, and made it seem as if they had been friends for some time.

That’s the thing about Sam, she has a great personality. The same way I could tell I wanted to hang around her, they could too. She’s an amazing human being who can handle any situation. I’ve witnessed this woman help people out every chance she can get. She deeply cares about those she loves and would stand up for a friend against the world. She’ll make you laugh any time of the day, and you can count on her to tell you the truth when no one else will. She’s a fighter, she’s generous, and she deserves to know this new family just as much as they deserve to know her. I’m just happy I got to witness something beautiful.


-Matthew Reflects






*** Turns out I hadn’t done laundry and only had a dark T-shirt and black jeans to wear and no one seemed to care. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, wear that.

Here, Then No Where



What is that makes one’s consciousness dream of fucking off this planet? Is there an evolutionary reason for it?

I truly don’t understand the root cause. Is it the realization that life, in the end, is sort of meaningless? Is it the quitter’s ultimate “Fuck it”? Is it the romanticizing of others’ demise? Is it lack of purpose?

I think for me it’s a desire for the ultimate numbness.

You see, when I have nothing going on, no motivation, no drive, no “purpose”, or when I’m in a routine that doesn’t benefit, satisfy, or engage me in any way I will feel a need to shut my brain down. On any given night I will walk into my apartment and immediately find a way to quiet my inner monologue. Silence the demons, if you will.

Turn the TV on.
Check my phone.
Listen to a podcast.
Fucking anything that will grant me alleviation and distraction from the fact that I have one life and I might be wasting it. But shit, I’m not even sure what a good way to spend one’s life is. I try hard not to, but I have nihilistic tendencies that sincerely fuck with my well-being.

Though I literally want to live forever, I would describe myself as “impatient”. That might not seem relevant, but if you take into account that we are merely insignificant specs on the cosmic scale, what’s the fucking point of existing in the first place? Not that I subscribe to this thinking, but if we exist only to die, why wait? Though I don't want to, and I think it's a horrible idea, I struggle with that argument. And people wonder “why?” when I openly talk about my desire to get a vasectomy. I can hardly justify my own existence, how could I ever father another sentient being capable of such thoughts and dilemmas?

And you know what? I’m a hypocrite. I’m only saying this because I’m not content with my current standing and that everything I’ve tried to do to change it has proved fruitless.

{Just for the record: I do NOT want to die. Seriously. I don't want to get a bunch of e-mails or phone calls.}

If you’ve read some of my entries (or if you hang out with me in person) there’s a good chance you’ve heard me refer to myself as “a miserable cunt”. I say this for both comedic effect and because I believe it to be true.

Often it feels like I’m wasting my god damned time.

I’ve felt purpose at times in the past, and what a great numbing device it was. I am deeply jealous of anyone who currently feels they have a purpose. On the other hand, I’m annoyed when people seem content with shitty purpose.

A job they actually hate.
Their precious "identity".
Or any calling of any sorts that currently seems ridiculous to me.
Which of course is an absurd position to take because what the fuck do I know? Maybe that purpose is warranted. Shit, I can’t really knock it if I got none.

I guess what bugs me, is that people fail to realize they’re just filling the space of their existence with whatever brand of time-filler that numbs them best. But then again, maybe that’s the point of life?

I think I go back and forth on being happy/content and proud to be a member of the greatest species on this planet, and irrationally annoyed when we fail to realize that this life is temporary, meaningless, and probably shit.

I am full of both Love and Hate.
Good and Evil.
I am rational at times, and completely irrational at others.
I’m a walking talking hypocrite and I’m here to tell you all about it.

I don’t want to die.

Ironically, the only thing that leads me to believe that life might be pointless is that it ends. It’s the great tragedy of existence. I want to live forever, but that’s impossible. You’re here, alive and joking with friends, falling in love, having deep conversation about the current state of the world and then in a blink of the eye you’re not. I understand the desire for there to be an afterlife, but there’s not an ounce of me that believes in it. You’re here, then you die. Cheers.

I guess I don’t hate when people fill their time or numb themselves to the reality that death is coming and there’s not a hope in God that can stop it... I’m just fucking jealous of it. I’m being petty because I want that. I don’t want to think the way I do. I want to experience everything, even all this pointless filler, yet I constantly think about all this shit.

I’ve experienced “purpose” in the past through various means, so why the fuck do I dwell on things that lead me to be such a sad-sack?

For fuck’s sake, I’m a self-made miserable cunt. But at times, aren’t we all?

Maybe it’s just stress, depression, discontent, (insert anything I’m feeling right now), that makes me dwell on such horrible realities. Real they may be, but they’re just as pointless as any other time filler, and a god awful way to spend one’s time here.

OK, that’s enough. I’m clearly still working shit out in my skull, so let me leave you with a little light at the end of the tunnel:

I’ve got plans. I’m working hard. I envision a life for myself that is both full and happy, and just because I can’t see it clearly right now doesn’t mean I don't think it will happen. Just because I wrote this entirely self-indulgent and depressive piece doesn’t mean I think life is pointless. It’s the only thing we got. I love it even through the hardest of times. Though I both accept and struggle with the end, I’m confident I will find what comfortably numbs me and bides my time before I go charging into the oblivion.

Hope is a hell of a drug, but one worth embracing.

Until then, I’m going to go read –shut this shit down for a while.


-Matthew Numbs

Layers of an Asshole



Bit of a depressive rant today. Strap in.

Most of the relationships in my life are at least somewhat superficial. I wonder if everyone feels like this? I feel as though even the closest people to me know very little of substance. I occasionally reveal bits of my soul, usually through jokes, but I hardly use language to express key parts of myself. Parts I despise, yet desperately want someone to acknowledge.

Which is ridiculous, because I constantly push the people away who get too close.

I push people away that I fear can alter who I am. I don’t like being affected by another human being, which is why my trust lies with a select few. I don’t want anyone to have the power to rip out my heart and shit in the cavity where it came from. I am afraid of being powerless at the hands of another. I’ve been there in the past and I’ve completely pulled back. I’ve hardened. Become jaded. Very few have that ability now.

That sounds a tad dramatic, yeah? Well... it's not gonna get any better today.

I’m not entirely convinced I should be loved.

I’ve been so fucking introspective all my life that it’s caused me to know exactly who I am. Who I am is not the character I reveal to the world. I, am the narrator within my skull that knows all of my positive and negative attributes. I know my hopes, dreams, fears, my regrets, secrets and my demons. And I am 100 percent honest with myself. The version of me that you get is, in some way, a liar. And I most likely think you’re a liar too.

“How's it going?”

I’ve gotten so good at lying to cover up my flaws and real emotions that I can recognize when others do it. It appears everyone is just meandering through life telling each other lies. I see it. I may not see you just as you may not see me, but I see your lies and that’s a start. I can read you.

I recently noticed a friend changing the way they interact with me. The vocabulary has changed. So has eye contact, mood, topics of conversation, physical interactions and other subtleties that appear obvious. I can only speculate as to why the change has occurred, and I have my theories, but it’s beyond strange to observe it as it’s happening. It puts me in a familiar yet weird predicament. If I am to ask honestly what’s going on, I would incidentally reveal to them a part of me I don’t want them to know. For some reason, which makes zero sense, I don’t want them to know I’ve noticed a change and therefore care. I don’t want to show my hand that I can tell they’re lying. I don’t want them to know they have the ability to make me feel vulnerable which would subsequently allow the whole chest cavity shitting situation.

So, what do I do? Act like a healthy human being, ask what prompted a change and accept what may come? -or- Be a fucking coward, harden and reject these feeling of sleight and pretend I don’t give a fuck until it actually becomes true?

You know which one I’m choosing.

And I despise myself for that. I feel so guilty. It’s lonely.

It’s not just friends. I’ve never revealed my inner self with anyone romantically. And I desperately want to. But, every time I feel like there is a possibility to do so I fuck up, or get let down, or find any reason not to. The truly pitiful thing is that I sometimes judge people who fall in love with the version I allow them to see. I create and internal struggle. If I reveal myself, then the charade is gone forever. But I’m not that interesting, I’m not nearly as funny, most of the time I want to be alone and at half the time I can be a real asshole. The charade is how I fit in. So, the question is: Is it worth letting someone, even momentarily, see that inner version of me?

I see me constantly, and I’m not sure it’s worth it.

The version you know is much more bearable to be around. I assure you. This one in my head is self aware and yet self deprecating to a degree that could only be described as "obnoxious".




-Matthew Hides

"Precious Cargo"

In a small country town, in an old-folks home on one of the few "major" highways, there are two small conjoining rooms that are of significance to me. Walking through the door numbered 108 with a name tag that reads “Opal Mitchell”, past the bathroom, one would see a couch, a recliner, a big window, boxes of photographs, a few folding chairs, a table with snacks and sudoku puzzle books on it, a kitchenette with a counter, a small coffee pot, fridge, some cabinets and microwave. But most importantly, one would see people. These people would be my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my siblings, my father, my mother... essentially a revolving door of a very large and incredibly close family.

If one continued and walked through the door at the back far right corner of the room, one would find the second room to be a mirrored layout of the first –same kitchenette and floorplan. In this second room, one would see bouquets of flowers, an electric recliner, five more chairs (a healthy mix of wicker, wood, and those metal folding ones), a walker, a wheelchair, books, photo albums, a slideshow photo frame featuring images of a very large family, a photo of my brother’s wedding on the cabinet, a photo of a couple from the past, a hand painted sign that proclaims “Jesus is the only way”, and most notably, one would see a bed where my grandmother, the matriarch of my giant family, is dying.

I am fortunate enough to have been able to fly home and say “Goodbye”. It was heart wrenching, hilarious, sad, beautiful, stressful, peaceful, and incredible. I was taking notes all week, trying to remember everything so that I could breakdown anything that was happening later. I’ve never been one for verbally communicating feelings and I am notoriously bad at processing emotions in the moment.

Ask anyone who knows me.

I am now writing this from the Seattle airport where I am leaving the state, heading back home to LA. It was hard trying to find a time to leave, but I need to get back.

Most of the time I spent with my grandma was passed by watching her sleep. She was lying down, and her heart was beating fast and her chest showed every beat. She was growing weaker and weaker, and more and more uncomfortable... that’s the way it goes towards the end. By the time I left, she wasn’t responding anymore, and it appeared she was getting very close to the end. I need to get back, but it could be days of her sleeping.

When I first arrived, she was definitely responding. One of the first things she did was praise Jesus for healing her Parkinson’s for the end stretch. She really hated Parkinson’s, and had been suffering from the nastier aspects of the disease for some time. To my family’s relief, she found extraordinary comfort in the fact that the shaking was muted. She told me that my cousin, Bailey, had read her a passage from the bible that gave her immense peace. She often wanted it read out loud to her. I almost did, but started to choke up and just said I’m bad at reading out loud. This is true.

The passage read:
“Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these 
quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sickbeds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.

Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness. “

She often said that message humbled her. She said she was at first upset and not fully accepting the reality of the situation, but this passage gave her immense strength and acceptance. These words brought her so so much peace. It was beautiful beyond words.

Now, my personal beliefs contradict every single thing that is helping my Grandmother. She even made me a liar. She made me promise that I would “come to Jesus”, which is conflicting and kind of funny. On one hand, I blatantly lied to a dying and beloved figure in my life when I said “I promise.” On the other hand, I’m not going to let a dying and beloved figure in my life down on her literal death bed just because I’m a stubborn ass. Even in that moment, where it is so painfully obvious that the right thing to do is to just agree, I still hated lying. But I loved my Grandmother more. And it was kind of hilarious. I mean, that is a comically massive guilt trip for the situation. I laughed later.

I have to admit, though, I am so relieved (and almost jealous) that she found this intense comfort within her faith. What gave her so much courage to face death, was that she fully believed she is moving towards heaven. For she will soon be reunited with her husband, parents, family, friends, and anyone else she knows who is waiting for her in paradise. She even got her hair done “to look good for Vern” (her husband who died in the early '80s before I was born). The strength and grace this faith has afforded her has completely blown me away. I cannot stress that enough.

God bless religion in moments like these.

Pandora was constantly playing what sounded like a playlist curated for her death, but apparently wasn’t. It was a very religious compilation, where most of the songs were referencing "going home", which she found incredibly comforting. I kept thinking it’s eerie that someone assembled it, but I guess it makes sense. Or maybe it was a station?

“There’s power in the blood of the lamb...”

No one paid for the premium service, which annoyed the hell out of me at first. I kept asking, but for some reason it wasn’t a priority. What was she going to buy? Why interrupt the peace the music is giving for some asshat trying to sell a Dodge pick-up? Any time this harrowing playlist was broken with an ad, it became so "every day" feeling. After a while, it became humorous and my aunt’s took turns turning down the volume every time an ad played. We all cracked a smile every time it happened.

“Please upgrade to Pandora Plus, no ads, unlimited...”

<update: someone paid for the premium service> 

The amount of family and love around her has been incredibly beautiful and inspiring. I’ve been trying to find the words for the overwhelming sense of love, and I can’t. Her kids (and kid-in-laws) have done an amazing job making sure she knows she is loved. Her grandkids and great grandkids have come in droves to let her know how much they loved her. Her kids make her as comfortable as possible and stay by her side 24/7. Before she stopped communicating, they prayed with her, prayed for her, read her stories, told her tales, reminisced, and made it completely beautiful and warm. She, in turn, let everyone know exactly how much she loved them; immensely. She was sharp and quick witted, too. She often traded quips with my father and uncles.

The imagery of my mother, aunts and uncles caring for my grandmother will be burned into my memory forever. It is the most powerful example of love I have ever seen.

“Grace and Peace to you from God our Father...” Grace and Peace. Fitting.

When she entered hospice, they took away all medication other than pain management. She wasn’t able to stomach any food or water, so they had to stop any intake of that as well. Technically, she could have anything she wanted but didn’t want to prolong the inevitable or spend that time in any more discomfort. She was allowed ice chips and liked them when her mouth became dry. She even slyly convinced someone to give her frozen Pepsi chips, which was amusing. Huckleberry flavored chap stick was also regularly applied, to her content. She found joy in the little things on her death bed, cracked jokes constantly, let her family know they were loved, and faced the next stage with courage and confidence. As things got more and more painful, she admitted she would like to go before the First of the new month. That ignited some tears.

I feel horrible for leaving before the end, but I am.
“She is no longer responding.” I told myself.
But I’m honestly already regretting leaving.
I want to be surrounded by my family and that amazing love when it happens.
I wish I could offer any comfort I could to my mother and siblings when the time comes. I just hope everyone knows the decision to leave was hard.

I have a lot more to write about “Grandma Opie”, but I can’t bear to reminisce in this airport. I’m already fighting back tears as it is.

After she passes and I have time to process, I will share a fond memory... or a thousand.

She is a wonderful human who created an amazing family that I am infinitely thankful for. I will miss her very much.


-Matthew Leaves

Coffee Stained Teeth


I woke up late. I slowly crawled out of bed and crept into my kitchen to figure out my life. I mean, make coffee.
My garbage is quickly being filled with used coffee grounds in piles of bitter mud that I will most certainly add to today. And the next day.

And the next.

My coffee addiction might be out of control, but I’ll figure that out at a later date.

My morning routine thrives because of the consumption of that hot black goodness. It gives me a moment to reflect before the day starts. The process in which I consume the drink is almost sacred to me.

When I was young my parents consumed the beverage daily. Every morning the scent of a fresh pot would fill the house and usher in a youth full of fond familiarity. The scent of coffee, though, is misleading to a child. For me, it smelled delicious and amazing and I associated it with positive aspects in my life. Reality struck when I tasted it for the first time.

It’s fucking bitter.
Children don’t like bitter things, I reckon.

So why did I keep drinking it? How does one go from repulsion to infatuation? Is my love of coffee based entirely on social constructs that convinced me to develop a taste for it?

America has an interesting relationship with coffee. Rejecting taxation on tea (and the UK in general), mixed with crop failure and convenience gave rise to a culture that consumed more and more coffee. It became American. I wonder if we just convinced ourselves it was great, then dominated the world, and now everyone else is falling in line.

Coffee is great. Say it.
Now believe it.

I’m using coffee as a shitty way to introduce what I really want to talk about: I wanted to write something to address the lies I’ve told this week.

With the guidance of the sacred beverage I’m sipping, the period of reflection that goes along with it and the guilt of a formerly religious person, I must confess my sins: I have lied this week.

I don’t enjoy lying one bit.

When I was young I would lie to get my way or to get out of a tricky situation solely for selfish reasons.
Hold the judgement.
We all did.

A lot of people still do.

However, the older I get the more disgusting I find this. I see adults doing it all the time and it freaks me out. I try to refrain. Sure, I still lie, but these days it seems like I’m mostly lying for others’ benefit. I benefit as well, obviously, but I feel like the main goal is to ease others'. But maybe I’m just lying to myself. Am I that naive? I'm not that great of a person.

You be the judge. This week:

I lied that a cat scratched me years ago and that’s how I got the scar on my stomach. I’ve told a few people this. It is a lie. The truth doesn’t necessarily breed any ground breaking conversation and will only make people feel uncomfortable around me. I’m not necessarily embarrassed by the truth, no one can use it against me, but it seems to skew the night. So I lied. And now I feel uncomfortable. Social Norms.

I lied and said that I was working to get out of hanging out with people. This is a common lie and it seems selfish, and I’m sure it is, but I can be a moody prick sometimes and no one deserves to be around that. I don’t think it adds value to others’ lives when I’m in those moods. I’m not one for holding my tongue, and I’ve learned it’s best to just hide away and read. Preservation.

I’ve successfully held the truth back about my feelings for multiple people this week. Constantly not wanting to go any further in personal relationships is either a selfish or selfless venture. I can’t tell yet; the jury is still out. You see, I’m a recovering romantic with a tendency to be overly passionate. I’m impulsive with feelings and I often put them out my mind the second the person they’re directed at is out of sight. This doesn’t seem to be fair to anyone so I remain King Casual, Lord of all Douchebags. This title benefits everyone in the long run. Convenience.

The point is: I’ve lied this week.
I don’t enjoy it.
Convenience, preservation, social norms or any other justification I give for telling a lie doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a lie. Not to be too dramatic, but it feels like each lie starts to eat away at my soul. It gets easier. It starts to taste good. The easier lying becomes the more aware of it I feel I have to be. I have to take note, feel the guilt, and change my behavior so that I don’t continue lying in the future. Sure, I didn’t tell any “big” lies and I’m not out here manipulating others, but what’s the point of putting so much value in honesty if I’m hypocrite at the end of the day?

And I truly value honesty. But god, I would have so few friends were I honest at all times. What does that mean? What does that say about me, about my relationships, about society? Why can’t we all be honest? Why do we worry about others’ feelings so much and why do we get so offended when people think differently about us? It seems so childish. So trivial. So sensitive. It’s detrimental to progress.

My coffee is cold now. I need to make more.

Until next time,

-Matthew Lies

Fleshy Vessels


I haven’t written anything in a bit.

I’ve regressed.
I’m not doing “well”.
My routine has failed me -Or maybe it was me who failed my routine?

I’m either drinking too much or thinking too much. Both are equally debilitating.

If I sit down to write something, I have to confront myself and be honest about what’s going on. Sometimes that’s fucking hard when there’s a bottle of fun liquid that helps me forget whatever it is I’m struggling with.
I don’t necessarily think the booze is addictive, but running away from reality definitely is.
So dramatic.

I’m not even drinking that much; I’m just using it wrong. I will drink often enough to temporarily forget my blues and pass the time until the next sunrise, genuinely hoping that tomorrow will magically be different. Like a coward.

I know, obviously that’s not how this works.

I’ve got to grow the fuck up, take responsibility for any negativity, be a fucking man and handle my shit. I’m often far too good at dissociating. Ask anyone who’s ever tried to get a hold of me.

What am I running from? What am I trying so hard to tune out?

I don’t even know. Maybe I’m just generally not fulfilled? I’m not sure, but from what I can gather I have multiple conflicting desires or processes.

  • I’m simultaneously lonely and wanting to be left the fuck alone.
  • I’m both ambitious and able to check the fuck out for a chunks at a time.
  • I am incredibly caring of others and at other times incredibly selfish.

The truth is, I’m not sure what’s next for me. It could go either way.

It feels like I’m on some strange journey trying to find a trail that leads to some life path that guides my way... but I could just be stumbling deeper into the forest of the unknown.
So fucking dramatic.

What do I do next?

My gut tells me I need to get back on a routine that is obsessively healthy and rigorous to live as joyful and as long as possible.

I woke up with a note I wrote on my phone when I was drunk that read:

“This fleshy vessel can be poisoned or prolonged through health and wellness. Neither way has been proved to be better, and in the end it doesn’t really matter, right? So don’t judge others for their poor habits. In fact, fuck you for thinking you know better.”

My drunk self was literally writing to the part of me that is obsessive about routines and health and all that other boring shit.

I don’t know who is right, yet.

I do know that I’m going to write more. A lot of stuff has happened since I last posted here, I’ve got shit to talk about.

Until then,

-Matthew Wonders

I Saw Love


What a strange weekend!

Shit, maybe it wasn’t that strange at all? Actually, yeah... Now that I think about it everything that transpired was an incredibly mundane and normal thing to have happened, I guess.
So why did it feel so alien to me?

What happened?
Well, one of my best friends on this entire planet, Tony, got married!

I had only met his new wife, Steph, once before the wedding and maybe that’s why it felt so strange to me. I can’t be sure. I felt like it was all so quick and spontaneous since I was a thousand miles away the entire duration of their relationship. Plus, a common thing in my life is being absolute shit at keeping in touch with everyone. I feel like a huge asshole at times. I blame social media. I see everyone’s faces so much that I feel like I don’t have to call. Sorry, everyone.

Obviously it wasn’t rushed for Tony and Steph, they planned an entire wedding for fuck’s sake... but I rolled into town and two days later I was standing beside him at the altar watching his soul merge with hers. Or whatever. I know that’s dramatic, but it did feel pretty fucking magical! I just didn’t know anything about the relationship and then I got to discover it so quickly and strongly. I was overwhelmed. I was caught off guard and I cried. A lot.

I didn’t know what to expect.

I knew he was incredibly happy, and I knew she was lovely from the second I met her, but loads of people are lovely! I felt guilty that all I knew about his wife was that she was incredibly pleasant to be around. I feel guilty about absolutely everything in life, so that’s not abnormal, but I was still in awe that someone I was so close with was doing this massive thing with someone who was essentially a stranger to me. By no means was I skeptical, though. I know Tony and I know how his brain works. He’s an incredibly smart and caring person who over analyzes everything but follows his heart. He can be a perfectionist to an annoying extent, but he thinks everything through and he knows exactly what he wants.
He is, also, the best person I know.

To be honest, I still don’t know a TON about Steph. She was busy planning a wedding, then getting married, then off to her honeymoon.
But, holy shit!! I’m confident that if anyone met her and spent even a small amount of time with her they would get a very clear picture of who she is.

It’s pretty freaky, actually. Maybe it was that she knew stuff about me and was very open to showing herself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s just an incredible and confident person who can reveal herself to anyone she chooses to. An absolutely genuine person. A genuinely good person, at that!

My first impression of Steph being “lovely” is a gross understatement. I don’t even know how to describe her without sounding like I’m lying. No one should be that rad right away.

(Insert an unending list of positive attributes here)

She’s a teacher, which makes a lot of sense. I gather that she is the type of person that will inspire little shit head kids to be better people. I’m sure her students will grow to thank her for shaping their world view an endless number of times though out her life and career.

Fuck, I should thank her! She inspired me to be a kinder person within fifteen minutes.

The wedding itself was great. These two amazing people got married and everyone I talked to seemed to agree that there was some strange energy in the air. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I’m sure there is a logical explanation, but it sure as hell felt like some bizarre-magic-love-dust to me. It felt like everyone in attendance was having a shared psychedelic experience where we got to witness some strange electrified moment where you could literally feel the love of two other people.

It freaked me out.
It was powerful and I loved it.

Talking with some of the other groomsmen, I think it freaked them out too. I know a bunch of us cried like children. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can say that I’m definitely not someone who cries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge pussy... I just never cry and I was balling like a fucking child. I’m having a hard time figuring out why I was able to be vulnerable enough to cry so much, and I think I was just overwhelmed with whatever was happening.

I was insanely proud of my friend.
I was ecstatic these two amazing people were so happy.
I felt lucky I was able to witness whatever was going on.
I was just floored by the amount of love exhibited the entire weekend.
And honestly, I think I realized a lot about myself just by being in the presence of all the amazing people that I hadn’t seen in so long.

I witnessed true love. It was inspiring. It was beautiful.

I know that sounds corny, but fuck you.

Maybe you had to be there?

-Matthew Cries

'Til Death



I’m currently on an airplane traveling back home to Washington for the first of two weddings I’m in next month.

I should be writing a speech or two right about now, but I can’t focus on that yet.

I am focused on marriage, though. I’m fascinated by it. I’ve been surrounded by the idea of it, and I’ve been watching how different people experience marriage.

In fact, my dear friends just got engaged last night and I’m super fucking happy for them! It seems like most people I know are on track to be or are already married. Weddings are loads of fun, and celebrating love is something I can definitely get on board with. I’m a big fan of love. Love hard, yo!

All I can think about is how fucking weird marriage is as a concept.
It’s 2016 and the majority of marriages fail. It doesn’t seem to be that “permanent” anymore. It’s like a marriage is no longer expected to be “forever”. Obviously it’s expected to be forever for the two involved, but I see people getting married all the time, and occasionally one of my first thoughts is, “They’ll get divorced.”
But of course you can’t say that. That’s horrible.
But statistics don’t really lie...

Divorce is pretty fucking common. I’m on the plane and I’m too much of a cheap ass to buy the Internet, but I think the statistics are something like close to 70% of marriages fail. Don’t quote me on that, but I do know it has risen significantly from the “half of all marriages end in divorce” stat I grew up hearing.

And on top of that, the “sacredness” of marriage is becoming more and more rare. I know plenty of people who have fucked around on their spouse. Plus, there are sites like “Ashley Madison” where married people fuck around on each other which confuses me on a whole other level.

If you choose to get married, why fuck around? I’m not judging, just super confused on the whole thing. I just don’t understand the why the fuck you would stay married if you’re fucking around?

I wonder if anyone has ever come across their spouse’s profile on one of those sites? It’s has to happen. I wonder how the fuck that conversation goes? I recently came across a girl I am sort-of-kind-of-not-really-dating (shut up, I know how that sounds) on tinder and I felt like shit about that! It put me in a funk. I don’t want to be the one to “have the conversation” for a bunch of reasons I don’t need to get into, but it still felt weird. It just felt silly and embarrassing. I would rather be with that person than on tinder, but whatever.. It was weird and it felt ridiculous. I hate my generation. I can only imagine that tiny feeling of awkwardness that I experienced amplified by a billion to create a truly horrible situation with those couples on cheating sites. Must be awful for all parties involved. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it.

Change subject in 3....2....1

“Why else is marriage weird, Matt?”

I’m so glad you asked my opinion!


I’ll never be comfortable with that. It’s so bizarre that we celebrate love by getting the government involved.

So why do people get married these days?

I’m guessing it’s because everyone thinks that’s the normal thing to do.
And it IS the normal thing to do.
It’s a great, big, scary commitment to another person (and the government) that everyone does because of some outdated non-sense beliefs and practices that has existed for so fucking long. Old practices like that don’t die easily.

I’m not even against marriage, despite the above ramblings. I would love to have a monogamous partner for a lifetime. That sounds like a connection I would benefit greatly from. I’ve read a bunch of philosophy shit about why people have partners and it’s insanely fascinating how we desire such a deep connection with another soul. It’s fucking beautiful by all accounts. The intricacies of finding a “soul mate” make life exciting.

But how many people find their “soul mate”?

Aren’t most marriages just people who were dating at a certain point in their lives and felt enough societal pressures to make them feel like they had to make that a legally binding contract?

Am I off base here? Is it just me that notices this shit?

It could be that most marriages I grew up around seemed a bit... weird. I think some of the older generations stuck together for tradition, and the ones before them stuck together for appearance. It’s as if these marriages are a life of trying to not piss each other off and just getting by as best as possible. It seems exhausting and hard. Obviously not everyone's marriages are like that, but it is noteworthy. Maybe I’m way off base and that’s just what marriage becomes? God, I hope not. I know I don’t want that.


Fuck, now I’m rambling.

I just know that when I see a married couple (from an older generation) that seems genuinely into each other, and appear to value each others’ honest opinions, I get super fucking excited. It’s a breath of fresh air. It gives me hope! That kind of life-long partnership that I crave exists and I am a witness! (Sup, Schroder’s?)

I’m not being cynical.

Fuck, maybe I am?

You ever notice how many questions I ask in these posts? No one answers them. It’s just me publicly asking questions. Like a fucking crazy person.

This is not the blog I meant to write, but I started drinking on the plane because I turned into a giant pussy about flying two years ago and now I'm drunk.
Maybe I’ll write a more thought provoking post on this later.


It’s weird.
It’s really really bizarre that the government is involved. It can be the most beautiful thing on the planet.
Most of time it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.
It terrifies me completely.
But goddamn, when it’s beautiful it’s got to be worth it.

At the end of the day, I am on board with any occasion where we can celebrate love.

Congrats to the happy couple(s).

-Matthew Drunkenly Contemplates


*A previous version of this post included subjects that was asked to be removed by the people I was talking about. While I may disagree with this decision, I did edit it out. I'm not a fan of censoring myself, obviously, but this was an exception. I'm sorry. Always sorry.


Invisible Monsters


I don’t want to bum anyone out, but this one isn’t going to be fun.

Through out my life I have struggled with clinical depression.

It’s almost obnoxious to even write that out. I’m rolling my eyes while releasing an audible, “ugh”, just to so you don’t have to.

It’s so fucking trendy to have a mental disorder these days.

When did that happen, anyways?

Bear with me.

My depression is something I tend to hide. Up until now I’ve only shared this information with a handful of people that I thought might benefit from knowing about it. I’ve had a few friends in the past where I notice that they are exhibiting the usual signs and who seem to be in real pain and act as if they are unable to talk about it.
So I talk.
Sometimes it seems to really help.
I think most people attempt to hide it, but if you’ve ever been there yourself, you can tell when other people are in pain.

Let me be clear: I don’t like bringing this up to just anyone. I still struggle with talking about it because it makes me feel weak. It makes me feel powerless. It makes me feel like I’m complaining about something that is just in my head, which is fucking embarrassing.

And yes, that is the right word for it.

The only reason I ever do talk about it to anyone, is because it’s lonely being in your head and feeling like no one understands the pain that you may not even understand yourself. And when I see someone like that, I feel like they should know they’re not alone and there are ways to deal with it.

Depression is a bitch. It’s debilitating, it’s absurd, it’s definitely abnormal, and it’s confusing as fuck.
It’s hell.

It’s not hell in the sense that the world is crumbling around you. In fact, you might not even have any “real” problems yet it feels like the world is resting upon your chest. Complaining about an invisible pain that no one else can see or verify while you don’t have any obvious problems is a really weird situation to be in. You feel like a jackass asking anyone for help, because why would you need help, everything appears to be good? What can they help you with anyways? How could they even help if you asked them?

To be honest, that’s something I have struggled with a lot. I have felt like a whiny little asshole even mentioning my depression to people who haven’t struggled themselves. It’s because in the back of my head I still feel guilty for feeling sad. Right now I am thinking about all the reasons why I should never be sad and why it might seem silly to even write this. I compare myself to people with “real” problems and I try to just push it away. I tell myself the pain isn’t real and that it’s only in my head and I constantly think that no one gives a shit about this silly little thing when so many have visible problems to worry about.

I know, that’s not the healthiest way of thinking about it. But it’s kind of how we treat it, right?

I mean unless you’re an asshole writing a blog post about your depression, for most people it seems easier to not draw attention to themselves and their debilitating lows so they can quietly figure it out.
That’s what I usually do.

Like I said, it’s embarrassing.

The catch?
Depression is real and it fucking blows.

We all know that one friend who seems to love being sad, right? There’s always that one obnoxious cunt that always has something to complain about and who self sabotages every possible way of making themselves happy and/or picking themselves up out of the infinite rut that they’ve dug themselves into.

(Hi, My name is Matt. Nice to meet you.)

It’s hard to feel sorry for those people. They do it to themselves, right? They just love being sad.

Let me tell you a secret: They don’t.

Their brains are screwy and they’re in pain and probably don’t know how to deal with it. They don’t love being sad at all. They hate it.

It’s a nightmare that doesn’t end when you wake up. It’s a constant awareness of the fact that you’re very down while nothing “real” seems to be wrong. It feels like you’re horribly alone. It feels like no one in the world can understand the constant pain because you don’t understand it yourself. Your heart will slow down then speed up all while it feels like a giant weight is resting on your chest. The demons are within and the brain lacks the ability to keep ‘em at bay. It’s dark. It’s confusing. It’s scary.

Depressed people don’t kill themselves because they love being sad. They don’t even kill themselves because they are sad!
They kill themselves because feeling alone and helpless is worse than being sad. They kill themselves because their brains are tricking them into thinking that it won’t ever end.

And guess what? A lot of people struggling with depression kill themselves.

I know I’ve thought about it. Countless times.

I’ve even lost people to suicide so I’ve seen the trauma it causes to everyone close to that person.
It’s selfish, it’s cowardly, It’s ridiculous and it’s fucking weak.

And yet I’ve thought about it. Countless times.

I flirted with the idea for most of my youth. I even half-assed attempted it a few times. In times of deep depression, I have lived recklessly in a conscious effort to boost the likelihood of my own demise.
I knew better than that, yet a constant pain kept bringing me back to the idea that this was a way out. It was the same imaginary pain that no one could see and that I couldn’t entirely explain.

Multiple times I talked myself off the metaphorical ledge because I couldn’t fathom the amount of hurt that I would have caused my dad. Don’t get me wrong, it would destroy a lot of people and it would have caused a lot of pain, but my dad was the hardest person to think about. I would fantasize about the aftermath and how the rest of the world would eventually move on, but I could never get over the idea of causing my old man any amount of pain.
Shit, I still can’t.

It’s embarrassing to admit any of this, and like I said, it’s incredibly difficult to explain... but that’s the reality.

When you’re depressed, it’s hard to remember what not being depressed is like. You feel trapped. You feel an incredible amount of sadness that seems like it will go on forever. You see other people being happy and you can’t seem to figure out how to get what they have. Smiles become little reminders that something is off and that you’re alone. You begin to think there is no point beyond pain because there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s fucking dark.

It’s all a lie though.

The pain is real, there is something wrong, and you can fix it.
Because that’s what depression really is.
It’s a real problem within the brain that is treatable and manageable.
It’s not made up, and it’s not someone seeking attention. It’s a disorder where the brain is acting abnormally and lying to your consciousness telling you all that dark shit. It’s something you can see and it’s something you can fix. It’s in your head only in the sense that your brain isn’t operating correctly. But that isn’t you, is it? The brain is just another body part separated from our consciousness. We can fix body parts.

I know, because I had to ask for help.
And that's the hardest thing I’ve done.

I never wanted to ask anyone for help because I truly didn’t understand that it was a “real” problem. I didn’t want to feel powerless and I didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that I had a mental disorder. But, I was alone and I was in a dark place. I scared myself and I figured I should at least try something new.

And it worked.

I may have a screwy fucking brain that lies to me at times, but at least now I know what the lie is. I sought out help and figured out what I was dealing with. More importantly, I learned how to help myself. I have found so many ways to exorcise my demons, and I have learned how to handle myself in ways that mostly prevent them from coming back. It won’t completely die, but when I do feel depression coming on, I’ve learned how to battle it.

That’s something I wish I knew when I was younger. I wish someone had come up to me and let me know I wasn’t alone and that there are many different ways of dealing with it. Fuck, I just wish someone told me it was real. It’s fucking scary being a kid and hating life when everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves. It’s even more terrifying when you feel alone and confused about how everyone else seems to be fine.

Even if they’re not.
I think a lot of people are struggling and they aren’t talking about it.

I’m writing this because I’ve talked to a few people recently who have expressed similar thoughts. No one talks about this shit! No one. It’s a real problem when stuff like this is so hush-hush in society. People kill themselves all the time because they don’t want to burden others with their pain by seeking help or talking about it. They hold it in, don’t seek help, and let it build until they do something drastic. It’s heartbreaking because it’s so fucking preventable.

I’m opening up a lot on this blog, probably more than most people would like... but this is the only one that I hope other people open up about as well.

If you are struggling with depression, find some fucking help. Talk to someone, go to a doctor, Google what to do, get some exercise, make some goals for yourself, e-mail me, do whatever you can do to realize it’s temporary and that you’re not alone. That sounds so fucking cliché, but it’s true. Whatever you’re dealing with is real and there are ways to help yourself and get better. It’s embarrassing, but so is being sad. Try getting help.

And if you know someone struggling with depression, just talk to them. For fuck’s sake, just talk to them. Even if you don’t understand what they’re going through, just talk to them. If they can’t explain it or don’t want to talk, make them get help another way, because they are suffering and they are alone and their brains are telling them there’s no way out and that does scary shit to people.

There are plenty of ways I was able to get a handle on my depression. Anti-depressants aren’t always the answer and I’m definitely not an advocate for any prescription medications. I have used them, I will most likely use them in the future, and I know plenty of people who use them all the time. I’ve had countless conversations about all the different medications with many people who have similarly struggled with depression like me. One thing that I have found, that many others have as well, is that the medications are not all the same. Whatever works for me may not work for you at all. The first medication I was ever on made me feel like dog shit and made me go to darker places. It was terrifying. I felt like if the powerful drugs couldn’t help, I was fucked. It wasn’t true. This is important to remember when trying to curb depression. Just because one thing doesn’t work right away, don’t give up... something will.

For me personally, I’m aware that sometimes I may need to be on medication. I hate being a slave to the pills so I do things in my life to actively avoid needing them. I haven’t taken them in a long time, but I still have them.
I still get embarrassed when someone finds my bottle of pills and asks, “What’s this for?”

It’s OK to be embarrassed.

It’s OK to need help.

It’s OK.

Life is short. Stick around.


I've Had Too Much To Think


I don't feel like writing today.

I don’t feel like doing anything productive, actually.

I feel like drinking.

For a guy who has been clinging on to self-discipline for the last few months, I sure am fantasizing about being completely out of control and drunk.

Becoming heavily intoxicated is really fucking stupid when you think about it. You lose your inhibitions, it kills brain cells, you make mistakes, you do stupid things and you feel like dog shit the next day. It's all because at end of the day, you’re essentially just poisoning yourself.

I kind of want all of that.

I’m stressed.
I’m uncertain.
I’m nervous and I never get nervous.

I’ve been holding on to the idea that I should feel the whole range of emotions, good or bad, without the numbing filter of booze. Now I’m wondering where the fuck I got that idea from?

This is so typical.
This is my go-to. Something starts to get a little hard and I want to just tune out. If I get too bored, I want to tune out.

The easiest way that I've found to tune out and shut my brain up for the last X amount of years has been drinking alcohol in abundance. Booze has always been a kind friend willing to help me forget about my problems, entertain me, or when I need to, help me avoid reality all together. It is, for sure, my drug of choice.

I’m what you would call a “seasoned drinker”. Up until a few months ago, I was wondering if I was fucked from alcohol dependence. A decade of acting like life is a sad party where booze is a necessity to make it all seem a bit more tolerable was starting to freak me out. At different stages of my life it’s freaked a lot of other people out too. I’m not an alcoholic, but I definitely have a problem with moderation. This is sort of news to me. I mean, obviously I was experiencing it and I was the one pouring the delicious poison down my face hole, but I never stopped to realize how much more I would consume than others. OK, if I’m being completely honest, I think I always realized it but I never accepted it until recently.

Turns out I’m sort of lucky, It’s been incredibly easy to not drink excessively. I’m not actually dependent on it. Once I fully realized that I tended to get out of control I just decided I couldn’t do that anymore. Shit, I got willpower.

I decided I would still partake in social situations, so that I don’t miss out on a huge part of this society, I just wasn’t going to self medicate anymore. This newfound way of life has been great. It’s made me realize some of my faults, it’s opened some doors, allowed me to be in control, and it’s stated me on a path of experimenting with self-discipline. As someone who has a problem with moderation, this has been pretty fucking positive.

I started testing myself in other areas as well. I have always had issues with falling asleep, getting enough sleep, waking up, etc. so I decided I wanted to fix that. Now I go to bed at 11 and wake up at 5:30 every day just to prove I can.
I follow an insane diet that would have seemed ludicrous three months ago.
I have a strict workout routine that could easily be described as “obnoxious”.
I do a bunch of other shit that requires discipline, but I don’t need to get into it here... you get the point.

Shit, am I changing too much?
Is this just another example of me being horrible with moderation? Whatever.

Whether all of these new strict routines stem from my problem with moderation or not, I’ve found huge benefits from being in control of every aspect of my life.

But right I want to pour some Jack down my throat and lose my shit.

My brain has been racing for days.
I’ve had too much to think.

I’m stressed.
I’m uncertain.
I’m fucking nervous and I hate being nervous.

I can’t tell if drinking heavily is ever a good idea?
I could argue that it would definitely help me loosen up and take a much-needed break from worrying about shit.
I could also argue that it’s logically a stupid thing to do and that tomorrow I may have the same worries.

So it comes down to control. Is relinquishing control for a night a good idea? Am I too controlling of everything in my life right now? Or, is this some weird subconscious desire to give in and be self-destructive for a night?

I don’t know.
This is all still new to me.

“Just take a drink, pussy!”

Ah, there’s that voice again.


-Matthew Stresses

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


The desire to pack up and leave LA is strong.

I have been quietly debating on what I want to be doing and where I want to be doing it for a while now.

It’s no secret that I feel "unfulfilled” with my current situation. I think most people my age feel that way. We have insane ambitions and talents that exceed the previous generations. That’s how this world seems to work from what I can gather. Each generation wants more and more and they make better and better shit because of it. It’s progress based around this weird, but completely natural, selfish desire to be the best.
It’s just weird because my generation was told that we could do whatever we want in life and that we are all the best while ignoring the fact that we most likely aren’t. Not everyone can be the best. That’s not how math works.
Yet, we were coddled.
For Christ’s sake, participation awards started with us. We were over nurtured and we were sold on the idea that if we went to college and worked hard, all of our dreams would come true.

It’s a little childish to even think that way now. It’s just not the case. Young people are more educated than the previous generations and there are fewer and fewer jobs. Too many people with dreams, not enough environments to make those dreams a reality. Most people work “filler jobs” just to survive. When you have a degree and a lifetime of being told that you’re the best and that all your dreams will come true, you can only work so hard serving food for minimum wage and some measly tips. Making barely enough to survive while working in a restaurant and getting yelled at for a hard 8 hours by ungrateful customers can really make you question, “Is this is all worth it?”

(Side note: Treat the people serving you better. If someone fucks up your order, don’t make a scene. Don’t act like it’s a mortal wound. Don’t raise your voice. Lose the fucking attitude and politely let them know about the situation and it will be resolved. Oh, and leave a tip!)

I’m not trashing being a server, by the way. I just assume that unless your dream is to advance in that restaurant, working there isn't ideal. It's a hard job and you have to put up with a lot of peoples' shit. So what’s the point of wasting time there? What’s the point of working hard at a job that you probably hate when hardly anyone appreciates it? There is none that I can see. In most cases it seems like it’s the only option. It’s like you have to kill time and make what little money you can just to survive until one day you may or may not be able to get lucky enough to find yourself in a situation that allows you to do what you feel you were meant to do. It’s a horribly depressing position to be in. I’ve been there.

Hell, I sort of am.

I mean, I use a camera for a living, so it’s in the ballpark of what I want to do, but it sure isn’t that rewarding yet.

(And to all the people who have a strong support system that allows you to avoid all of these tiring experiences, fuck you.
I'm just kidding.
But at least acknowledge how fucking lucky you really are. Also, treat the people serving you better. For some reason it seems like y’all are the worst at this.)

Getting a gig here in LA really comes down to who you know. I hate it. The whole system is so weird. You have to network and literally sell yourself every chance you can get. I know how to do it, I might even be good at it, but goddamn I fucking hate networking. I’m over it. I have no desire to go out and meet people and have these boring conversations whilst pretending I don’t want something from whoever I’ve latched on to. It makes my skin crawl. I truly despise it.

“You gotta play the game, Matt!”
Why? So I can get another job taking photos that ends up selling a product I may or may not even agree with? Is that an honorable or honest way to make a living? Is that what I’m on this planet to do? Am I supposed to be another replaceable cog in the machine that just constantly sells bullshit?

“Yeah, but if you play the game, eventually you can get to a point where they will come to you. Then you can be all smug and pretentious and choose the companies that you believe in!”
That’s one way to go about it. It just seems so fucking soul crushing until you get there.

Also, what if this is it? What if by some freak accident I die next week and my greatest accomplishments are selling non-sense for rich people?
What will people say?

If they were being truly honest, it would have to be something like: “Matt sure lived a short and unfulfilling life.”

God, that’s bleak.

Of all the people I know, I would say about 5-10 are truly living their dreams. The ones that come to mind are insanely lucky. Like, INSANELY lucky. It’s incredibly inspiring. They have bad days (we all do), and maybe sometimes they take their position in this world for granted (we all do), but mostly they are fulfilled.

I’m not even sure what my dreams are anymore? It’s a weird feeling.

I try my best to stay in the moment. I’ve come to realize that worrying about the future just wrecks the present, which really doesn’t help anything. I’ve wasted countless days of my life worrying about things that are out of my control. Things that haven’t happened yet, things that could happen, even things that probably won’t, but might happen. It’s not healthy.

So, I give it my best shot to live in the moment. It’s just incredibly hard to be accepting of a shit job if you feel like you're your wasting time. It’s unbelievably hard to stay Zen when you feel you have more to offer.

So, what if I just bailed?
What if I put my money where my mouth is and quit playing this disgusting game?
I could get a storage unit, or sell all my shit and just take off.
I could travel all of the 48 states in the continental US. I could go searching for whatever it is that makes me feel fulfilled. I could meet more people than I could ever dream of; People that won’t want anything from me and I wouldn’t want anything from them. I could take polls and do my own research to see what makes people happy.

I like to use the saying, “Recording Life”, when talking about what I do. But, that's not really true, is it? Most of the work I do is composed shots with the purpose of selling a product. Or, I shoot models and actors whose job is to literally pretend to be doing something else. That's not life.

What if I just quit doing that and actually started Recording Life?
Would I just travel the country searching for something until I run out of money? Then what, would I be fucked? Would I have to be a grown man who moves back into his parent’s house?
Or, is there any money to be made doing that? Maybe I could get sponsors and make rewarding content for them on the road?
Well, that seems farfetched. I imagine someone with some a mount of fame could probably convince people to sponsor an endeavor like that. Who knows.

But wait, does money really even matter?
If I go broke and end up at my parent’s house, is that really a failure?
For most people ,I’m sure it is, but I can’t stop thinking: What if I find something out there that will benefit me beyond any monetary compensation?

I don’t even know if this is all just a fantasy or if I would really have the balls to do it, but it’s all I can think about right now.

Like I said, the desire to leave is strong.

I’ve even started planning how I would go about it..

I figure I could just sleep in my car or a tent.
I would pack light and wash where I could.

I could stay with friends in the cities where I have some.
I would document the entire thing by making videos every day while writing about the people I meet, the places I go, and the things I learn.
It would be my own personal adventure that I could share with anyone who cares to tune in.

I get really excited when I think about it. Almost like I might actually do it.

I just honestly can’t figure out if this desire is present because I’m trying to run from or towards something.


-Matthew Wonders

Human Shadows


You ever notice that when you’re dwelling on something for a while, it keeps popping up all around you? You start seeing examples of that exact thing, or conversations end up going in that direction. It’s like the universe is telling you to deal with it.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the impressions we leave on the people that we come in to contact with. I’ve had two random conversations about it that I didn’t bring up. And then I found that one song, Dearly Departed, by that Shakey Graves fella. I know, I’m not that fucking hip to the current trends of music. People have been telling me to listen to him for years. Whatever, I finally did this week and that song seems terrifyingly similar to the exact idea.
(I’ll link it at the bottom.)

This life can be summed up as a life-long progression of different experiences. Obviously everything can be considered an experience, but certain things hold more weight than others. When we look back, we look at past moments where something significant happened. Good or bad.

We don’t seem to focus on the mundane or ordinary moments.
I highly doubt anyone is thinking about what they had for lunch in 2006 on August 8
th. So, for this let’s focus on the important ones. Specifically, the ones where other people affect our lives... Those experiences that hold so much weight, that they shape our present and future. The ones that leave a mark, or where there is residue, or there is a shadow of the person that you experienced it with.

There is something left over.

It’s pretty fascinating what shapes our lives to create the person we are today. From what I can gather, we alter our behavior based on the experiences we have had. That’s how you learn, right? As a child you touch a stove and burn the shit out of your hand and you learn not to do that ever again. You will remember for the rest of your life that stove=pain. You may not even remember the time you burned your hand, but you will always remember that lesson. That’s pretty fucking bizarre to me.

What’s even more bizarre to me is how we affect each other.

If someone hurts you to the core, it’s highly likely that you will associate that person with pain. It’s not just that person, though. That association can happen when you meet someone similar to the original wrongdoer or pain-causer. Maybe they look like them, speak like them, are interested in similar things, smell like them, or whatever the case... there is a shadow of that original pain. You can be looking at an entirely different person, with different hopes, dreams, morals, and life experiences; yet, a ghost of the one who wronged you lurks in your mind. It affects you. It can drastically alter how you treat that person.

Is this fair?
Can we help it?
I’m not sure yet.
But I think it’s worth trying.

I think recognizing that they are different is important. Each of us appears to be an individual. Sure, there are some mass amounts of people that seem like clones of whoever the current trendy celebrity is, but I would wager my life that deep down we are all highly unique.

I’ve seen people be complete assholes to another person just because they remind them of someone else. Hell, I’ve done it. For a hot minute in college I associated every sorority girl I ever met with the first few shitty dumb ones I interacted with. I acted superior to them. I thought I was superior to them. I just assumed I was soooo fucking smart in comparison. Ironically, that attitude of being a dick played very well for me. Being a dick got me laid quite a bit back then. It was confusing. I always assumed I was the “nice guy”. I remember seeing all the assholes get the girls in high school and wonder how the fuck anyone could fall for that?

I can remember the day it worked for me. There was this gorgeous girl who just seemed like an airhead. She was hanging around some of my friends and I just started being a cunt for no reason. I would make fun of her, not directly to her face, but right in front of her and everyone else. Once she realized what was going on, she started trying to convince me I was wrong about her. She made it her mission to convince me that she wasn’t what I thought she was. She wanted to prove herself to me. Next thing I know, things were progressing in a strange fashion. I didn’t stick to my guns of calling this beautiful girl an idiot after she seemed hell bent on convincing me that she was not. I accidentally figured out how people can fall for that awful shit. My mind was blown.

We hooked up that night.
I know, I’m not proud of myself.

I look back on that part of my life now, and I’m horrified. I have altered my behavior accordingly. I have changed so much that the idea of doing that to someone is so far from what I would ever want to be doing. It goes against my own morality.
Being cruel to people isn’t my jam.
In that aspect, I have grown up.

But I WAS an asshole. I hurt a lot of people in those years. I left a lot of negative imprints on others and that I wish I hadn’t. Maybe there is a string of people avoiding long-haired, smug, purple-pant-wearing, douche bags who rant about non-sense for the rest of their lives.

(Yeah, I had purple pants. I JUST said that I was an asshole, OK?)

I’d like to pretend there aren’t too many, but I’m guessing there are a few people where a ghost of me still haunts them to this day.
Actually, I know there are.
I’ve even tried reaching out in an attempt to make amends, or at the very least apologize for being such a cock-nugget.

I haven’t had much luck.

So what do we do about this? People grow. I'm not whatever ghost they are still holding on to anymore. Contrary to popular belief, people change ALL the fucking time. People aren’t like the stove. The stove will always be capable of burning the fuck out of you. It’s constant. But people can, and often do, grow.

And before you even think it, I know that some people don’t grow fast enough. I know that some people are dicks. I know this. But they all have the potential to change, and most will.

So is it fair to hold on to these ghosts? Do they help us much? Is it fair to look at a new person with all their individual experiences and only see the shadow of someone else?
I don’t think so.

But, I can see why. I can also see how hard it is to exorcise that ghost from our head, especially if the pain was particularly traumatic.

I just hope we can all be a bit more open with new people. I think remembering that we are all different and unique, is A) Beautiful and B) Super fucking important.

I am not someone else, just as you are unique to your own experiences and life progression.


Besides, having ghosts around is never a good thing.


-Matthew Ponders


Dearly Departed

A Therapist Would Call Me "Guarded".


Disclaimer: I’ve noticed some people from my past are annoyed that I’m asking anyone to read this blog by sharing it around. The only people I have specifically asked to read this are people I look up to and would benefit from getting their specific opinion and feedback. They are people I trust enough to be honest with me, call me out on my shit, and be critical when I need it. I don’t like this culture of confirmation bias and I don't need that in my life. I’m not drawing attention to myself. I’m not bragging. I’m just doing something I want to do, that does not affect you in any way.

So let me be clear: You don’t have to read anymore.
If you don’t give a shit, and you don’t want to know/care what I have to say, stop reading now.

I’ve been asked multiple times to sort of justify why I’m writing at all.
First of all: What does it matter to you? No, seriously, why? Why does anything I do, that has no effect on your life, matter to you in the slightest? This whole concept is lost on me. I could go on for pages and pages about how it makes no sense to give a fuck about what other people are doing if it doesn’t affect you at all, but I won’t... today.

Why am I writing? I think I have some interesting things to say because I look at the world differently from you, just as you do from everyone else you know. We all have interesting things to say. I don’t think it’s arrogant to get my thoughts out and make them public.
If you, The Omnipresent Reader, doesn’t like the fact that I’m writing anything about myself or my life, just stop reading. This one’s a little personal. It’s all about me.

I don’t like opening up to people.

It’s been a huge problem in every relationship I’ve ever had.
It seems to be getting worse the older I get.
It’s debilitating and it holds me back from the greatest things in life. It makes me miserably lonely at times, and it’s just fucking stupid.

That’s a huge reason why I started this self-indulgent blog.
If I write about my life, it allows me to convey certain things I wouldn’t usually put out there.
This is, by all accounts, me letting people in.
Writing these is an exercise at getting my honest thoughts out... It’s an attempt at becoming more vulnerable. I’m offering myself through these words. I want to be able to grow as a person. I want to get better. For god sake, I want to be able to open up!

Even as I wrote that, in the back of my head, a not-so-subtle voice just poked me in the back of my eyeballs and said, “You fucking pussy!”

(Thanks Childhood.)

The truth is, there are a lot of reasons I don’t trust other people. Almost all of them are foolish and not worth holding on to, but I do anyways.


Yesterday I woke up to an old friend posting a snarky comment on one of the billion social media platforms I have.
(I have multiple accounts with various names, hiding various things from various people... Guarded? Nahhhhh)
It was a post of an innocent joke that I made at my brother’s expense.
The comment was about something so completely ridiculous and nowhere near their business, and really out of character. (I think?) It insinuated that I was attempting to maliciously hurt him to draw attention to myself.
That fucked me up.
The entire day I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

First of all, anyone who knows my brother or me would know that this would never in a million years be offensive.

We have a great relationship. We are so fucking similar in all the best ways, and very different it all the non-important ones. This makes for great conversations. I look to him for advice, guidance, and most importantly, laughter. He’s fucking hilarious.

We will debate all the time, but it’s (almost) always intelligently done and respectful. If he presents a better idea that makes more logical sense, I will change my mind. He does the same. Or, if we do disagree, we don’t get butthurt about it.

That’s how people are supposed to communicate, btw. If someone presents facts and can back it up, adjust your views accordingly. Debating facts with beliefs is just fucking silly. Stop being such a team player to the losing team of non-sense. If someone proves you wrong, don’t cling to your incorrect original idea just because your ego can’t stand being wrong. That’s childish.

But I digress,

My brother is a goofball.
I am a goofball.
We joke around, a lot. We make fun of each other all the fucking time. It’s healthy. We don’t protect our egos like they are something to be valued.
(Spoiler: no one’s ego is)
So when a friend sort of insinuated that I was doing a shitty thing for sharing a dumb joke, I got upset. I started second-guessing my self. For a brief moment I
thought, “Am I a huge asshole for this?”... But then I realized it was obviously a fucking joke and should be treated as such.

This person knows me well. They know my brother well. We all grew up together. So what the fuck was the problem? When did making salty/snarky comments become an acceptable thing to do? What benefit does it have? And why was it this person doing it? It didn’t make sense to me. It kinda hurt.

So why am I still rambling about a comment on social media the next day? Because the way it fucked with me, helps lead into the reasons why I’m so shit at opening up to people.

It’s a perfect example that shows the roots of some of my issues.

I don’t truly trust many people.
Maybe five.
And even them, I still guard a lot.
I have a lot of friends that I genuinely love and will talk endlessly to about all sorts of things, but I always reserve a lot of important shit.

I protect certain things about myself and it doesn’t help me at all. It’s actually debilitating. Letting friends in and letting them help is a great benefit of the human experience that I don’t often take advantage of.

I don’t want to be viewed as vulnerable. I don’t want to be pitied. I don’t want to appear weak in any way. I don’t want to let people in, because when you let someone in, you give them the ability to rip your fucking heart out.
And sometimes, they do.

Any time I have ever been hurt by someone that I trusted, I put walls up. I shut down the flow of any personal information immediately. They will, for the rest of our lives, not have the chance to hurt me again. Even if I forgive them, and move past it, I am hugely reserved in sharing certain information. This isn’t something I like about myself. I have rarely been able to successfully forgive someone completely.

This is a problem. It’s a self defense mechanism, so it’s understandable and I can tell where it comes from, but it’s a real problem.

There are only a handful of instances where I have been betrayed by someone close, and then was able to move past it. It has never once been me attempting to move past it. I don’t seek to forgive. Their actions can change my mind, however.

Once, when I was in seventh grade I had two friends steal money out of my P.E. locker. I knew it was these two people immediately. It was my first thought. Followed shortly by series of thoughts that would set the groundwork for developing my future insecurities. Those thoughts were: Why the fuck would they steal from me? Do friends really do this to each other? Are they actually my friends?

I asked them immediately and nervously and they said it wasn’t them. They even tried over compensating by pretending to help me find out who did it. It was at school, so we even went to the principal together. They were, and still are, horrible liars.

This is a clear moment in my memory. I can remember details so vividly about this negative interaction that it sort of scares me. I can re-live this by closing my eyes and picturing my self as a child going through this with intense clarity. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. As I’m writing this, I can feel that horrible feeling. It’s loneliness. It’s anger. It’s sadness. It’s betrayal.

This was the defining incident that taught me two very cold, but necessary life lessons:

1. People will hurt you, so be careful who you give that ability.
2. People you trust can take advantage of you, so be careful who you trust.

Anyways, the school never found out who did it. I knew they did it, but I was too much of a coward to press the issue any further. My pain told me that just pretending it’s cool was better. So, my friends got away with it. I just quietly "let it go"

(I didn't let it go.)

Many years later in college, I told them one drunken night that I knew it was them. I can’t remember how it came up, but I remember thinking it would be funny and light-hearted. They looked at each other nervously. Like they were caught, or maybe even for a split-second looked at each other and internally debating on whether or not to keep lying? I could have just been paranoid.
My stomach started fluttering. My little “ha-ha” moment got serious on accident. They both came clean and apologized. For some reason, with my voice trembling from an unnecessary adrenaline rush from being incredibly nervous, I just spilled out, “Yeah that’s where a lot of my trust issues started haha!”

It was wildly uncomfortable, to say the least.

One of those friends I trust today. We have great conversations. I gain a lot from having him in my life. I learn a lot. I am thankful he is around. I have a lot of love and respect for him.

But it wasn’t me who sought out to forgive him. It was his actions, his character, and his honesty. I value that in people.
A lot.

The other friend, however, I don’t allow myself to trust very much. This isn’t necessarily an isolated occurrence to this person specifically, either. I do the same with 99.9% of all people in my life. He's not a bad person by any means, but I have walked in on him talking shit behind my back multiple times through out my life. That shit sucks. I’m sure I even did the same when we were younger to some how get back at him. Mature. There are, strangely, a lot of friends from high school that I’ve caught doing that as adults –not that long ago.

I’m not sure if it’s just that we all grew up together so there is a lot of weird history that you would expect from knowing someone for so long, or if it’s weird childish gossip-y tendencies that are somehow still acceptable amongst this group. To be honest, they may have grown out of it by now. I haven’t been around much the last few years. I know I was still doing shitty things three years ago that I would never dream of doing today. People change. People grow. That’s how life works.

Whatever the case, these things didn’t help much for my growing insecurities and trust issues at the time. I don’t hate any of them for doing any of these things. I don’t even really mind, much. In fact, I’m still (relatively) close to these people. I would consider them good, life-long friends. I just don’t really trust them. I’ve been burned too many times. Again, maybe it’s the product of knowing people for so long. Who knows?

I just know that I prefer the whole, “If you have a problem with me, have a conversation with me and let’s figure it out” type of situations. They seem to preserve trust better, and be a more honest/healthy way to go about these tricky situations.

Any one of the five people I trust would call me on my shit. That’s a HUGE reason why I trust them. If they have a problem with my actions (or me), they will let me know. That shows that they care about me. I need people around who are able to help me grow. If I’m doing something wrong, I trust that these people will be there for me and tell me what I’m doing is wrong.

So, I need to open up more to friends. I have a lot of amazing friends that I love to death. It’s strange when thinking how little some of them know about me. It’s not their fault, by any means. It’s mine. I will rant and talk about anything, but I never give much information that’s crucial to me.

I’m working on it.



Isn’t this too long already? I think blogs are supposed to be shorter than this.
I don’t really read many blogs. I’m trying to now, and most of them seem to be shorter.

Maybe I should just skip this section?
Yeah, that’s not cowardly.
This part is the real reason I wanted to write this post. But it’s fucking difficult! Every thing in my body screams, “Don’t share this! What do you stand to gain from sharing any of this?” And that voice in my head is still calling me a Pussy.

I want to be open to Love.

I have claimed to be “broken” many times, through various parts of my life.
I have shut down the possibility of letting a potential partner in, and at times, I don’t know how to reverse it.

I have been called:
Distant, emotionally unavailable, cold, bitter, angry, depressing, wild, untrustworthy, distracted, negative, uncaring, etc.

All of which have been true at one point or another.

This is a close second to what I despise most about myself.

I fancy myself a caring guy. I’m relatively happy. I try to become better every day. I make conscious efforts to be a good friend and be kind to anyone I come in contact with. I smile at people. I talk to strangers.

I’m obviously a really good/amazing/perfect guy... Maybe one of the best that has ever existed.


Fuckin' Christ, can I avoid relationships like the plague.

The few times I have been in love, I have been called (usually in order): Romantic, caring, kind, loving, obsessive, complicated, jealous, angry, vindictive, competitive, cruel, etc.

This is the thing I despise most about myself.

I have given my heart away a few times.
Each time I fall ridiculously in love. I become obsessed. There is an intense physical feeling of joy. Dopamine, Serotonin, and all that other good shit starts pumping through my brain causing these amazing happy feelings. Every time I see, smell, or hear them, I get a fix. I become addicted. I become dependent on that feeling. It’s the greatest goddamn feeling in the world. Better than any drug I’ve ever done. Better than any amount of money. It’s even better than any other form of love I have ever experienced thus far.

“You fucking pussy!”

However, each time I have been hurt by someone in some small way (where I could have easily had a conversation about it and attempted to resolve it), I keep my mouth shut. Instead, I do the same thing that I did when my two friends stole money from me in middle school. I just pretend it will blow over. I pretend it’s easier to not start an argument.

In my experience, if I let someone know that I’ve been hurt, they try and deny it and it starts an argument. There is a break down in communication and feelings come out and it just gets ugly.

So, instead of doing the correct/healthy thing, I put the walls up. Slowly and incrementally, I build the walls around me and leave my partner out in the cold. The problem with that is that I always seem to leave my heart outside those walls in the protection of the one I love.
Rookie mistake.
What happens in a codependent relationship when one person shuts the other out, while the other one starts to get revenge by stabbing at that heart with comments and poking at their insecurities?
It turns into a fucking emotional blood bath.

I know what you’re thinking, “You’re not doing love right, Matt.”

I shouldn’t put the walls up, right? I should be more trusting, right? I shouldn't treat it like a competition, right?

Yeah. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, asshole.

Obviously all the relationships I’ve been in have ended. I haven’t been in many, and none have ended well.

I become devastated.
That supply of all those happy chemicals in my brain is depleted and intense grief fills my entire being.
I go through withdrawals.
I shut down.
I can’t function.
I can’t leave bed.
I act like a whiny little bitch.
I become incredibly vulnerable and it’s the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.

I swear, I fucking hate admitting that.

Every serious relationship I’ve been in has ended the same way. The break up is brutal and I become reduced to this ghostly, non-productive, unrecognizable, whiny little bitch version of myself that I wish didn’t exist. No matter how hard I close my eyes and pretend that part of me doesn’t exist, it does. I can’t avoid that. That fucking terrifies me.

It cripples me.

It doesn’t allow me to let people in and it shuts out the possibility of experiencing the greatest thing in life; Love.

Worst of all, it’s hurt people I genuinely care about.

There has been a few times in the not so distant past where I thought I would be able to get over this and work through it, but ended up not being able to. It’s not fair. It's incredibly uncool. It weighs on my conscience heavily.
I’m terribly sorry.

I feel horrible.
You didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.

I’m just.. I’m just so fucking sorry.

I’m working on it.




I know that got a little depressing there for a few seconds (the whole time). I don’t want to bum anyone out that does in fact read this post, but this blog is me trying to work on this stuff.

I am working on these problems. I understand what’s happening now and therefore I can prevent myself from building any more walls.


Being honest is incredibly beneficial to me –Both by being unapologetically honest to others, and having them be the same to me.
Honesty prevents the walls.

And for the walls already in place?
Writing about all of this is my attempt at dealing with these ridiculous issues and taking those walls down brick by brick.

This is me letting people in.
This is me, being vulnerable.
This is me, recording my life.
And you knowing this about me is not information I would normally offer up. Until right now.

There’s hope! Everywhere I look there is hope! There is so much fucking Love in this world. Some times it’s overwhelming to think about. I, like you, have a lot to
offer to other people. Let’s have a conversation. Let’s get to know each other. Let’s add more Love, because it’s the greatest fucking thing on the planet.


-Matthew Loves



P .S.
If I wrote about you and you are upset with me, please don’t be, but if you are, just know that these aren’t things I’m saying in a vindictive, malicious or cruel way.

These are things that I’ve mulled over many times and attempted to deliver in the most honest way that I can think of. If you want to talk about it, give me a call, shoot me an e-mail, send a raven, do whatever... just get a hold of me. I’m available.

(Though I’m notoriously horrible at texting.)

Your Beliefs Are Not Above Criticism


I’m going to try my best here to not piss off anyone.

The other day I found myself having a rare night of nothing to do. I had a shoot planned, but since it’s LA and people here are flaky as shit, it was cancelled last minute. I was a little upset so I figured I’d go for a walk to clear my head.
I ended up at a trendy bar about a mile away from my apartment. I was in a grumpy mood (surprise!), but I wanted to go talk to people and shake off whatever funk I was in.

After about 30 minutes of me drinking water at the bar (party), a small group of very good-looking hipsters walked in. The place was fairly empty and they struck up conversation. There was this adorable little teeny tiny short girl (is that condescending?) who kept trying to talk to me one-on-one at awkward times. The group would be talking about one topic and then she would turn to me and ask me a completely unrelated question at very strange moments. Like, that moment right after I would say something to one person and right before they started to respond. She informed me she had some social issues, which I usually think is bullshit, but this seemed to explain a lot of things.

The questions weren’t bad or anything, in fact quite good... just poorly timed. After hearing a few of my responses to questions about psychedelics and things about meditation, her eyes started to light up. She seemed to be into whatever I was saying, hanging on to every word. I have to admit, I like when other people like hearing me talk. I’m kind of an asshole like that.

(See: This blog)

She asked me for my phone number, which was peculiarly timed as well. Plus, I don’t like giving my number out to strangers. I’m also the worst person in the world at saying “No.” So, I let her enter her number and call herself from my phone. Whatever.

Almost immediately after, she asked me about energy sources or crystals or whatever the current LA hippie bullshit is currently trending. I checked out. Immediately. I kept thinking, “Ah, fuck, what have I gotten myself into?” I tried to pretend to be interested, but it was like the air left the room. I just don’t give a shit. She could sense it. Everyone could sense it.

Sensing my lack of interest must have made her feel like she had to convince me it was all real... right then and there. In My adult life, no one’s ever done that before. Usually after I say out loud, “I don’t believe in that kind of stuff”, they just let it go. She informed me that it’s real, she’s a shaman, and there was a simple form of energy ball that she could show me right there to prove that it is in fact real.


I entertained her and let her show me -Mostly because I didn’t know what to do. It seemed too awkward to say no.

She had me hold my hands in front of my chest, palms facing each other, and slowly start pulling them apart and back together. Imagine me pushing together an invisible Nerf ball and then gently letting it return to it’s natural shape. After about thirty seconds she said, “Do you feel the heat on your finger tips?”

I fucking panicked.

No, of course I don’t feel the imaginary heat.
If this were in any way remotely real, one could measure the heat source easily with the simplest of tests.
I just started thinking about how I could prove this to be bullshit.
You could put a common thermometer on my fingertips before I started playing with fake Nerf ball, and then right after and measure that goddamn difference.

“I don’t think so?” I said. I’m a coward.

She seemed let down. Like her ancient shamanic powers had failed her. We tried again with the same results. I finally said, “Listen, I don’t believe in any of this stuff so maybe it just doesn’t work on me.” She explained that it should and that if I try more it will work.

In the name of science, I wasn’t going to let this go on any longer. I let her know that I truly don’t believe in this stuff and I was going to pass on trying it again. She asked what I believe in and I responded honestly:
“Mostly things that can be scientifically proven.”

(Awkward pause)

“I mean, there are probably loads of things science hasn’t discovered that we are unable to understand or sense, but until we can justly understand it, I just choose to stick with the known.”
This upset her.

She had this look of disappointment on her face that was as if I just pulled my pants down and shit on her shamanic cloak.

(BTW, She wasn’t wearing a cloak, but if she didn’t have one at home then SHE’S NOT A FUCKING SHAMAN!)

She started arguing with me about her beliefs and going on about how science can’t explain everything, and that her things are real. It was eerily reminiscent of when my very berry religious extended family was failing to understand how I could just not believe in the Christian god. I remember being looked at as if I was a fucking idiot for choosing to not believe. It was beyond their comprehension.

She promised the world would be better if everyone realized their true power. I agreed.

When I wasn’t convinced of her beliefs, she became upset. After she specifically asked what I believed in and I answered, she became upset. When pressured to explain why, and I responded with a healthy dose of skepticism and criticism, she became upset. (Do you see a pattern here?) I wasn’t poking fun of her; I was showing the holes I had poked within my head. I do this often. And not just with these trendy LA hipster shamans, with every major religion as well.

People get really really upset when other people don’t believe what they believe.

We all have different ways of deciding what the truth is. Some of us look for truth in reality and tangible facts; others search for it in love and energy. Most people (in America) look for the truth in old books written by flawed people.

My point is: It doesn’t matter.

Whatever turns you on, that’s OK.
But don’t force those beliefs on anyone else. Don’t get offended when someone pokes holes in your belief system, especially if they are doing it without malicious intentions. Don’t become angry when they don’t believe in your “miracles”. And if you ask someone a question and they answer honestly, don’t get offended. You walked into that.

One last thing:

A person believing in other things doesn’t have to fuck your day up so much. Just chill. Have a sense of humor. Realize life is short, and it’s not a big deal that we don't all share the same paranoia of death. And if someone criticizes your faith, try and keep in mind that they are just another person with whom you have way more in common with than you may think.

Be kind.


Matthew Burns (in Hell)

Being Pretentions Hasn't Paid My Bills


I don’t know what I’m doing these days. Things seem off.
All I can think about is if I’m fulfilled or not.

If being fulfilled is paying the bills by doing what you love, what do I love? Well, in short, I love photography. But, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

People in Los Angeles love to talk about their profession. Sometimes that’s all you end up talking about with new people. It’s dull. Maybe I moved here at a time in my life where that’s what is on everyone’s mind, or maybe it is really this region specifically. Regardless, it’s frustrating.

Let’s say I meet someone new, the whole situation (99.9% of the time) will unfold like this:

New person will introduce himself or herself, or vice versa.
The normal greetings and responses will happen, and then, BOOM!
“So, what do you do?”
When I answer, without fail, the follow up is always, “What kind of photography?”.

Ah, Christ!
I get fucking anxious.

Here we go again.
I always reply, “Everything.” -which is never enough. The conversation always stays on topic. “Well, like what? What do you like to shoot?”

Fast-forward to about two minutes in and I’m dancing around the fact that I’m a pretentious cunt, but I rarely get to be one for a living.
I’m hearing myself rehash the exact same conversation I have had many times over. I’m ready to blow my fucking head off.

I get bored. How are they not? How is this not the most boring conversation anyone has ever had in the history of language? Aren’t they as bored as I am? Why don’t we talk about something new? Something else.. anything else. AM I THE ONLY PERSON SICK OF HAVING THIS SAME FUCKING CONVERSATION?

I get it, though. Most people like what they do. It’s an easy conversation. I suppose it’s interesting to learn things about new people, and profession is a safe bet. It's a socially acceptable topic that guides the conversation in a familiar arena. But if I’m bored of hearing myself, aren’t they bored of explaining to me what they do? Because of course I have to ask... other wise I’m the asshole.

The truth: Most of the photos I shoot aren’t gratifying, fulfilling, thought provoking or beneficial to anyone or anything. Well, they definitely help a client promote themselves or their products... but I’m most likely contributing to the over saturation of imagery and content that exists in our world. Content that is essentially meaningless.

Am I a Kardashian?

I understand I have no grounds to complain, but I will, for my name is Matthew Complains, of the house Unsatisfied, first of his name.

I love making things that matter. I love creating things that have a purpose, or speak upon real issues. I love conveying my ideas and what I would like the world to be through the lens of my camera. It is my most powerful voice, and my trade. But, most of the photos I take (maybe 99%) are filler content. They are made for the purpose of gaining a buck, and they serve their purpose... but they aren’t real. In fact, marketing in 2016 is essentially palatable imagery (video, stills, graphics, text, whatever) that people can relate to. It’s moved entirely to content creation with the goal of trying to get consumers to think they need whatever the product may be. It is massively successful and shows no signs of slowing down.

(Insert your Ad Here)

They may look pretty (objectively), they may look original (highly unlikely), they may even be saying something ("buy this thing"), but they are never beneficial to the overall human condition.
The kicker: I’m good at that! My creativity allows me to take the concepts and ideas a company or an individual may have and turn that into imagery that successfully conveys their message. Which, again, is always somewhere along the lines of: “Buy this thing.”

I get it... I feel your collective "Ugh's". When it comes to creating things: I’m idealistic, pretentious, and slowly approaching bitter.

So what do I want to say? Will people give a shit? Are my ideas as meaningful as I so arrogantly think they are? Do I actually offer anything of substance?

I think so.
So why don’t I do that?

I could list a billion reasons for why I shouldn’t, but it can be summed up very easily: Fear.

If I put my heart and soul into creating something, there’s a real world chance that upon looking at it, people will think “This. Is. Shit.”

Am I ready for that?

P.S. I don’t mean I want to quit doing what I do for an income.
Despite the bitching above, I am thrilled I get to use my camera for a living.
I’m good at it.
I just haven’t made things that are meaningful to me personally in a very long time.
It weighs on my soul.

But please,

Keep hiring me.

-Matthew Complains

Get It Together, Bitch.


I’m sitting in my studio apartment in a trendy neighborhood in Los Angeles.
It’s a mess.
I make my bed every morning, but I make excuses for the rest of it. I lie to myself, “This spot is temporary, so it doesn’t make sense to buy furniture or storage for all this shit.”

It’s been over a year.
It doesn’t feel temporary.

Sometimes I put things off.
OK, a lot of times.
I’m not sure why I am able to focus, get after it and work hard at most things and not others. I recognize my problems and I can name my flaws, yet sometimes I just observe them. Instead of stomping them out, making changes, or being proactive, I just watch them stay stagnant.

But in most ways I’m trying. I think?

After years of living like an alcoholic writer who eats dog shit all day slowly turning into a fat-fuck, I decided to get back into shape.
Cut out booze (except for celebrations), started eating how humans are supposed to eat (not an American in 2016 with all this filler bullshit), and I started working out.

Within 4 months I lost 30lbs, regained strength and have achieved a fitness level that is eerily similar to my 19-year old college athlete days. Sure, I’m a little busted up from various injuries and countless stupid fights through out my teenage years.

-Arthritis in my right hand.
-Knees both shot to hell.
-Shoulder a little stiff.

And, I have had to alter a lot of things to strengthen and better myself despite these ailments. I know that there may be physical limitations, but I am constantly trying to better myself in order to push those limitations so that I can mitigate the effect they have on my life.

It feels good.

I quit smoking cigarettes after nearly a decade.
Why’d I start?
Because everyone was doing it and I thought it was cool. Whether it’s subconscious or not, that’s why everyone starts. Any other reason one may give is horse shit, I promise you. I can’t think of one honest or good reason why anyone would start smoking other than looking cool.

Why’d I quit?
Because it finally hit home.
I will 100% die from these fucking cool-guy-sticks if I don’t stop.
And not a clean death either! It’s a disgusting death full of brutal pain and rotting cells within the lungs and as the cancer outwardly moves and consumes enough of the soul, the body, mind, and heart all finally stop. It stopped feeling cool, so I quit.

It feels good.

I meditate a lot. One thing I do that seems to make people uncomfortable, is try and figure out how my body will age. I attempt to approach it realistically and pragmatically, and figure out how my physical body will decay as time goes on. It freaks me out, but it puts things in to perspective. I change behaviors because of it. I would rather live healthier and longer, so I make adjustments accordingly. For example:

If I live to be 80, my hand will have limited mobility. The arthritis will worsen and it will hurt (badly, from what I hear.) My knees will most likely be problematic unless I can figure out real solutions for the bothersome tendons. I hope, I won’t get cancer form all the stupid shit that I have done, but realistically it’s a possibility. Because of this, I try and alter all of my current habits to pro long the inevitable. There are steps I won’t get into, that radically reduce the possibility of cancer.

I want to live, not just long, but well.

It feels good.

So, why can’t I keep my fucking room clean?
I know that having a clean environment will reduce stress; it will help me be more disciplined and allow me to focus on more important things in life. There’s literally no down side.
For a guy who seems to be obsessed with bettering himself, I sure am a hypocrite.
So why are there clothes all over my floor? I don’t even own that many clothes. Black Levis, black shirts, black socks, black, black, black...
I need more color. Whatever.
Something so trivial and easy such as cleaning up my pseudo-goth attire should be a breeze. But nevertheless, every time I walk into my apartment, shit everywhere.

It doesn’t feel good.

There are a lot more “serious” things in my life that don’t feel good.

Maybe I’ll get into those some time in another blog, but for now just take the moody clothes on my floor as a metaphor.


I have work to do.