Hopefully you came here from my newsletter. In it I promised to give you some practices on how to come more present and find more peace. I lied. Just do drugs and drunk.

KIDDING. I tried all of that. It doesn’t work.

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What spiritual people wear

Having spent many years studying this work in the vain attempt to heal myself which turned out not to be so vain but damn useful, I’m come to experience what it means to be awake.

It sucks. At first. Because then you see all the crap you’ve been doing that’s been holding you back. But then you start to get what you have control over which is one thing and one thing only — your connection to yourself or your unconscious connection to all ‘out there’. …

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The first time I tried to kill myself was during rush hour on a train in Manhattan. Never a good time to kill yourself. The trains are crowded, everyone is grumpy and if you do kill yourself everyone hates you for making them late for dinner.

I was in my late-20s and I’d had (another) fight with my mother. We had a sordid history. She abused me, I hated her, I loved her, I dated men who were her — you know, that old chestnut.

I had been fired from my fourth job in a row. This time it was temp job #43 working for a famous agent to a famous writer who was famously abusive. …

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My mother used to sit in our living room when I was a boy with a towel about her neck. This was right after she had come out of the shower. In her scalp she had put tar shampoo that always smelled like ripe bananas. “Damn body is always peeling somewhere,” she’d say as she crossed her legs, sitting in her bathroom, flipping though the most recent copy of Good Housekeeping or Cosmopolitan.

I sit in my living room as a man with a towel about my neck. This is right after I come out of the shower. In my scalp is an exfoliation shampoo from France that smells very nice and nothing like what my mother used to use. I attributed this to the fact I’m very happily a snob with products and that my ego makes me buy them. I think it has more to do with the shame I feel knowing my scalp is the same as my mothers. I sit, naked, looking at Instagram on my phone, or I listen to Eckert Tolle. I always feel ashamed that I’m naked in front of Eckert Tolle, but I figure if there is anyone who will embrace my tiny middle-aged stomach roll it’s Eckert, a crazy and wise German who dresses like he’s always about to go on safari. …

My mother had what she called her ‘little helpers’ which were, to be honest, the voices she heard in her head. See, my mother was crazy and I don’t mean crazy in like what gets said to me daily (‘Oh, you so crazy, Michael’) but in the sense that she was crazy. Literally. Mentally ill.

Being raised by a mother like that taught me two things: 1) I was going to go crazy all the way and 2) Hide your crazy no matter what. So that’s what I did. I hid the days and nights when I felt I was losing my mind. I didn’t talk about it. To talk about feeling like you’re going crazy would cause people to think of you as ‘less than’ and not capable or, worse, unstable. …

I want to tell you I suffer from depression, but really, how is that the case? If I did I wouldn’t be able to feel the depth of feeling I do. Feel it in other people as I do. Reach out to them and say, “I see you and I know how you feel. I wish I didn’t on some days, I do.” I want to tell you I’ve fought the truth for years, that there is something swimming in my brain, this thing in a boat is what I see, this strange animal that rides the canals of fluid in my brain — a Brain Gremlin, if you will — and this little bugger likes to zap whatever it is in my brain with a cattle prod it carries in it’s tiny, green hands and when it does, well — I’m not well. I’m not happy. I don’t see the purpose in anything and I wonder why I’m alive. Isn’t that crazy? Yes, it is. Isn’t that strange? Yes, it is. Is that my life? …


Michael C. Bryan

Out & About! 🏳️‍🌈 Actor on HBO/writer of many things. Professional Coach. Chat about mental health, my hair on TV/podcasts. Verbal pyrotechnics my speciality.

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