Sometimes I think about how many people will go to my funeral.

I don’t think there will be a lot of people there. Most of the people I know that would attend are family and friends. I have a lot of family, but I don’t honestly think that most of them will be around by the time I go. I have a few friends that will probably make it and maybe I’ll have settled down and married someone by then and hopefully she’ll be there, but other than that, I don’t anticipate a huge crowd of distraught people.

I watched the movie Hesher last night and there’s a funeral scene in it. There are maybe 8 people in the entire room during the service. A father and his son, a neighbor, and a handful of nameless grievers. Every time I see a scene like that in a movie, I feel like that’s what my service will look like.

That isn’t to say I think I’m unlikable. I have a decent amount of friends, but given the fact that most of them are online friends, I don’t know how many I’ll keep in touch with until then. I’ve recently made a few “real life” friends, but I don’t think any of them would show up.

My great grandpa died when I was 15 and it’s the first funeral I was old enough to remember vividly. He was absolutely beloved in every sense of the word. Everyone in the family loved him, everyone he knew loved him. He made an impact on every person he met. We all wept together at the loss of this beautiful, beautiful man. It was powerful.

I would love to think I’ll have affected that many people by the time I die, not out of some desire to be some kind of adored figure, just out of a genuine love for helping people out. But the reality is, I don’t do much for other people. I basically stay in my own house most of the time, focused on myself and my dog. That isn’t to say I’m selfish. I’d like to think I’m pretty accommodating to other’s needs and desires and almost pride myself on it, but the scenarios in which I can show that don’t present themselves to me that often because I am so god damn reclusive.

And I don’t know that I want to change it. I feel like I’m supposed to be quiet and keep to myself and not touch many peoples’ lives. I feel like that’s what my life will mostly be. I’ll have a few great friends who I will help and who will help me through hard times and that will be about it.

So I don’t think many people will come to my funeral.



When I was 13 years old, I spent a few days in Brussels, Belgium with my family. My dad had spent a summer there with his aunt and uncle, who were living there at the time, when he was about 15 or 16 and wanted to me to experience the same thing, so he, my mom, a couple of family friends, and my best friend all took a trip to Europe with one of our stops being Brussels.

I grew up in a very rural area. The town I grew up in had a population of less than 2000 people, most of which were white Christians. Accordingly, that was all I was familiar with. I didn’t know much about other religions or other peoples’ beliefs and wasn’t religious myself, but I grew up in a conservative family. My mom and dad are both heavily affected by acts of terrorism in the sense that they react exactly how terrorists would want them to: they get scared. As a kid, some of that inevitably rubbed off on me.

Accordingly, when we went to Brussels, it was one of the biggest culture shocks I’d ever experienced. Not only were people speaking other languages primarily, but we stayed in a Muslim neighborhood. We would hear them praying in the middle of the night. I was fucking terrified. I knew they weren’t terrorists that were going to plan some kind of attack on my family and I in the middle of the night. I was scared for two reasons. One was that it was new to me. New things are always scary for at least a minute. The other reason was I felt that the world at large hated America. I was scared to be American because I didn’t know how someone would react to me being American in a foreign country. Whether it was a result of the fear that comes from terrorism or my 13 year old mind knowing that my country had no place in the war and that the rest of the world was looking at us with judging eyes, I’m not sure, but I was terrified. I was relieved when we left and went back to England.

As I got older, I learned more about the world and became less scared of things I didn’t know. Like I said, new things are always scary, but as I got older I learned that it’s important to be scared of those things until you get to know them. Then they become familiar, you’re not scared anymore, and you’ve learned something. One of those things was Islam.

I wound up learning about it because one of my all time favorite musicians, Cat Stevens, had given up on a life of what was probably agnosticism after a near-drowning experience where he pleaded to whoever is out there and said, “If you can save me, I’ll devote my life to you.” He lived and began studying religion to see which made the most sense to him and landed on Islam. Having someone I admired embrace a religion that I didn’t understand and had grown up almost fearing helped me get over that. I looked into it. I became informed of their beliefs, customs, and realized it’s another religion. It doesn’t preach terrorism or carrying out massacres on Americans. It’s just a religion.

When I learned of the tragedy in Brussels yesterday, I had two thoughts after being fucking devastated that a landmark of my childhood (even if I was terrified of it) had endured something like this. It almost felt closer to home than any attacks on US soil. But anyway. My first thought was how different it will be for me when I go back. Not solely because of the tragedy, but because my perspectives have changed. I’m excited for that. I’m a much more open, accepting, and understanding person now and I know things will be better. My second thought was one of disgust for the inevitable “Muslims are terrorists” backlash that it obviously received. They’re fucking not.

I encourage you to look up and research something you don’t understand. I guarantee that 10 times out of 10, you’ll have an idea of where the people who believe in it are coming from, even if you don’t agree. Understanding is not only much more important, but way more fun than living in fear of things you don’t “get”.

A friend of mine tweeted that we should be focused on uniting in times like this, not pointing the finger at one side and excluding them. Muslims live in Brussels and Muslims very likely died in the attacks. They could use some camaraderie too.


Start Up This Fire (With Hope & Desire)

Alternatively titled “Go to a Bar. Alone. Part II”.

I wasn’t planning on celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m Irish and I’ve celebrated in the past, but I wasn’t really feeling it yesterday. I’ve felt that way about a lot of holidays since I’ve become single. Holidays are based around tradition and though I’m a traditionalist through and through, I get really sad at the thought of honoring a tradition by myself. In the past, I’ve made steaks and vegetables that were soaked in Guinness and herbs all day for my family/significant other. I had no drive to do that for just myself. In fact, I love cooking, but I only really feel in my element or enjoy it if I’m preparing something for someone else. I don’t care nearly as much when it’s just for myself. But none of this is the point of my story.

So I didn’t plan on doing anything. A friend (who I met by going to a bar alone) said he might be having some people over for a fire in his back yard, but he wasn’t sure and would text me to let me know. If I didn’t hear from him, I was just gonna watch Peaky Blinders and hang out at home.

But then he texted. Said people were coming over around 9:30-10:00 and that I was welcome whenever. My social anxiety skyrocketed at the thought of actually doing something with a ton of strangers. The idea was cool and exciting, but once it became a reality, I was terrified. But I ended up meeting him and some of our friends at a bar about an hour and a half before the fire was supposed to start. By the time we got to my friend’s house, a ton of people had already shown up (we were late). I met a ton of new people, including a transgender girl who introduced herself to me almost immediately, since I was the only person she didn’t know.

As the night went on and people got more comfortable, due to a combination of alcohol and just generally warming up to people, she ended up telling me that she was very afraid to talk about being trans in front of me. She said that when I walked in, I had a very confident “tough guy” vibe about me (thanks, leather jacket) and she was kind of intimidated, because she wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it or if I’d accept her. I assured her that I’m not that way at all, have trans friends, and am generally accepting of just about everything. But it still struck me as odd.

I’m not a tough guy and I’m not confident. I definitely put up a persona so that I can function in social situations, but I never intend to come across like a “tough guy”. A couple months ago, my ex and I went out for drinks to just kind of hang out and talk while I was dealing with some personal shit. I told her that I’d been going out a little bit more and wanted her honest opinion on how I came across, so that I knew how to approach other people. She also used the term “intimidating” to describe me. She said I seem like I have my shit together and that it makes me seem uninterested in my surroundings. Not necessarily arrogant and looking down on everyone around me, but self-assured and content with what I already have. Not looking for more.

The difference in how I see myself versus how other people see me is kind of hilarious. I don’t see myself as confident, outgoing, social, or fun to be around. And not in a self-deprecating way, just in a way of knowing what’s going on inside my own head. I’m aware of my insecurities and my weaknesses, but strangers aren’t. Apparently, none of those struggles are outward enough that you can look at me and know I’m really not super comfortable in my own skin.

All in all it was an awesome night and led to new friends and introspective thoughts. In a weird way, I feel more confident knowing that people think I come across as confident.

Start Up This Fire (With Hope & Desire)

Go to a Bar. Alone.

Last night, I wound up going to a bar alone. It’s a spot that I’ve been frequenting, alone, for a few months now. Within the last month, I’ve gotten to a point where people recognize me there. The owners know me by name. Other regulars are excited to see me when I come in.

I went with the expectation to have a couple of beers and head home, but one of my bar-buddies invited me over to another bar with he, his friend, and a couple of girls they had just met. Historically, I would’ve said no. And at first I did. But after my friend’s relentless insisting, I went. It was weird, exciting, and something I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing until recently.

The point to this story is that I moved to this area with no friends nearby. The girl I was with at the time was the only person I knew here and when she and I broke up, I didn’t know anybody. I’ve worked from home for most of the time I’ve lived here and finished my associate’s degree 7 hours away in 2013 with no intentions of going back, so I didn’t have the chance to make friends through work or school like most 23 year olds do. Eventually, despite the fact that I’m not a social person, I was getting lonely and needed some interaction. I decided to go to the cool craft beer bar that I’d visited a handful of times in the last year.

I was terrified to go to a bar alone. I have dealt with social anxiety in the past and didn’t leave my house unless I absolutely had to (for school or work) for a period of about two years. When I was in a relationship, I had a safety net when I left the house. There was someone there who liked me and it didn’t matter what other people thought, cause that person liked me. Without that, I was terrified to do anything I hadn’t done before. But I was more terrified of how dark my thoughts were getting late at night when I hadn’t spoken to a person at all that day, so I forced myself to do it. Months later, I have friends I met at that bar that invite me out to other bars with them like last night, invite me over to their house for Game of Thrones watch-parties, and fires in their back yard. All because I went to a bar alone.

Whether you need more friends or you’re content with the friends you have, go to a bar alone. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. At the very least you’ll walk away with a story, whether it’s about how fucking weird that person was or how cool the stranger at the bar was. You might even find yourself with a group of friends in a city where you don’t know anybody.

Go to a Bar. Alone.


There was a girl I almost loved

She was almost perfect

The things she wanted, the things she didn’t want

They almost aligned as one


And I almost said goodbye once

I almost lost my head

But I talked myself down & gave it another try

And now I almost regret it


I almost lost sight of things

Then I almost kept it together

But I couldn’t anymore, so I said goodbye

And now I almost miss her.