Thru a couple of English classes last semester, I uncovered a real knack for writing poetry. Here's my most recent one called "Speak For Me," which I red live at an Open Mic about a week ago. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as i enjoyed writing this!


"Speak For Me"

Before:


Bright Lights,

Change Frantically.

Air tainted,

Compacted in a small space,

Scents of sweat, smoke and beer,

Defined the occasion.

Bodies propelled,

Off pairs of hands,

Hair flails,

Screams sail,

As the music,

Rendered temporary deafness,

And unimaginable bliss.


Words can’t describe,

The array of emotions,

That soared through your body.

But as your eyes closed,

I knew you were sinking,

Into the music.


SLAM! SNAP!


After:

Bright Lights,

Change Frantically.

Air tainted, by the taste of blood,

Compacted in a small space.

Scents of sweat, smoke and beer,

Defined the occasion.

Bodies propelled forward,

Past pairs of hands,

Hair flails

Screams sail,

As impact of a steel tipped boot,

Rendered you speechless.

Your jaw now, completely, broken.

Words can’t describe,

The array of emotions,

That soared through your body.

But with your eyes closed,

I knew you were sinking,

Below the floor.


Unconscious.


While the culprit ran away,

Your jaw was broken in two places,

Only to be held in place,

By the skin surrounding it.


Now,

You’ve lost nearly ten pounds in a week because you can’t eat solids.

You’ve spent six days in the trauma ICU & you still can’t speak because your mouth is wired shut.

You’ve had medicine pumped into your body daily.

You’ve got four metal plates screwed into your jaw.

You’ll be bed-ridden for several weeks.

And the hospital just slapped $30,000 - worth of medical bills onto you.


I gave you $10 dollars,

Because I was mortified,

That you got round housed,

In the face,

By a fucking pseudo tough guy,

Who targets people at shows -

To make himself feel like a man.

But I also felt connected to you,

Even though we live on different coasts of the same country.

Somehow. Pain is universal, a static, inevitable constant in our journey thru life.

One that makes us stronger and weaker.

Simultaneously.

Now you still can’t speak,

Emily Jane Hoffman.

But if you could ask me to share your story,

I would gladly,

Speak for you.

- Ian Ernest

On January 21st 2017, Emily J. Hoffman was round-house kicked by a man wearing steel-tipped boots at a Code Orange show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Due to the impact she suffered, her jaw was shattered in two places and was almost entirely detached from her jaw. While she’s still in the process of recovering she still requires financial assistance to cover her medical bills.

All the events in this poem are real, and I personally donated $10 for Emily’s recovery.

If you’d like to help Emily financially or read more about her story check out these links:

An article by Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2017/01/30/Woman-suffers-shattered-jaw-in-Code-Orange-moshpit/stories/201701300143

Emily’s Go Fund Me Page:

https://www.gofundme.com/3b5g5ew

Move your blog to Nouw - now you can import your old blog - click here!

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"This Is About You, It's Not About Me"

This is one of my novel's signature lines, it's also an essential theme, and it explains the main reason why i'm writing a book based on my depression/anxiety. If you're confused by that line, I'm sorry. But there's a point to all of this.

In my sophomore year of college my life was a mess. At the time I was a chemistry major, and I despised it. The math was too complicated, the workload was overwhelming, and finishing the work felt like going to war.

I was depressed and there were a lot of things that went into this.

1) College was the first time in my life that I really came close to "failing." In each of my first three semesters of college i'd gotten a "D" in one class. My first semester was extremely rough because on top of nearly failing calculus I had to drop learning Japanese (that's another story).

After that semester I had my scholarship reduced and I felt like I had to prove to a lot of people (my professors parents and myself) that I could rebound from that. My advisor also put on a bit more pressure (with good intentions) on me in the spring when he told me that my calculus grades concerned him. At that time, I felt like I could handle it. And even though I nearly failed another semester of calculus, I was still confident that I could keep going.

Things went downhill fast my sophomore year.

2) It was hard to find friends. My freshman year I lived on a co-ed floor for science majors which was great in theory but I never really seemed to fit in with them. They were nice people but I always felt like I was tagging along with them, especially to dinner. I really felt out of place with my suite mates, and I think a lot of that was due to me being really insecure and not being confident with myself. I never really asserted who I was to them and that's one of the few things about my early years at college I regret.

3) I felt stupid. Being a chemistry major my sophomore year seemed to constantly insult my intelligence. That's unraveling, and it didn't help that I was surrounded by other kids in class who "just got it." I wanted to be like them, and I always compared myself to them. While I was taking organic chemistry there were times where I was hopelessly confused, and I never bothered to ask my professor questions because I was scared of him. I didn't help that i was so quiet and kind of stubborn.

During the lab sessions he'd occasionally walk around to each group to check on our progress (we worked in groups for Organic Chemistry). However, most of the time; he'd just stand on the podium in the front of the room. To his credit, he definitely knew his stuff, and he was a nice guy. But my professor was also the head of the Chem department and I had to impress him.

I put myself in a situation where i'd be figuring things out on my own, and it eventually became daunting and frustrating. I spent hours doing work, and because of that I was constantly sleep deprived and quickly ran out of gas.

4) I fell behind and catching up was overwhelming. I got sick one weekend at the beginning of the semester which forced me to skip all my classes one Monday. Because of this I had to make-up my weekly Monday lab with my intimidating professor. I called him that morning (because i had him for both lecture and lab) to let him know that I was missing class b/c I was sick. He talked in this very professional tone which was really intimidating & I was already very stressed because I had to call him. (I probably could've emailed him but I wanted to make sure he got the memo early.) This set off a chain of events which led me to falling behind.

The next week I was shocked to find out that I was having an orgo test the next week this really unsettled me & I quickly decided that I wanted to "get out".

5) I didn't care enough about myself. Throughout all this turmoil and stress I boxed myself in. I never realized that there were issues that I brought to college with me. I had self-esteem issues, trust issues, and was going through a mini-identity crisis. I was also learning how to live on my own for the first time and still holding on to a high school crush. My roommate sophomore was great but all of these things never really allowed me to be completely comfortable with him, and I somehow put my blame on him for not being the "perfect roommate" I envisioned. But he was not the reason I was depressed.

Everything sucked, I was a mess and I was tired of letting things get to me and being unhappy. So I decided to finally fix myself.

I first quelled my depression with music. It became an emotional outlet for me where I could simply released myself and just sink into the music. Being a musician and doing something I loved really helped me out. It was a launching pad really, from there I started seeing a therapist to address the litany of issues that I had. My time with a therapist helped me talk about my problems, it also helped me "find myself" as I managed to get through my identity crisis. I also managed to find an amazing group of friends who I enjoyed being around. They made me feel comfortable and they also helped me branch out. I became more confident and more ambitious and being a songwriter eventually led me to writing this book. Even though i'm still in the planning stages it's really been therapeutic for me. It's helped me realize my artistic ability and i've done a lot of reflection which has really helped me understand myself. How I think, How I react to things etc.

My book "This Is About You," is based on parts of my life but it's not for me. It's geared to people who suffer from mental illnesses particularly depression and anxiety. That's why "This Is About You, It's Not About Me" is so important, i might not necessarily need help but there are people who do. If you do i'd recommend you read this book (when it's finished of course). I hope that readers take what i've learned and gauge how it fits into their own lives. After all, my ultimately goal is help people through a (hopefully) engaging and relatable story.

Don't get me wrong. Depression sucks, in fact I still have bad days, and there are some days where I don't want to do anything. If you suffer from depression I urge you to seek the help you deserve, and to talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Asking for help is ok, and if you have depression; I clearly understand parts of what you must feel (But I might not understand everything because I'm not you). And, while things may stink; don't accept it. Change it!

Sorry this was so long. I'll be updating the "This Is About You" section with my updates as I write! (The cover is running, shout to Sparkes on Wattpad.com for the awesome cover!) 

I'm also planning to start a YouTube channel & i'll talk about this post in more depth. 

Thanks For Reading! 

- Ian

If you need help here's some resources for you:

National Suicide Hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255

National Alliance for Mental Illnesses (NAMI) http://www.nami.org/

Here's a list of suicide hotlines geared towards people in the US by state:

http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

Here's a list of international suicide hotlines geared by country:

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

If you don't know where to start here's an article from healthline.com:

http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/help-for-depression#Overview1

If you'd like to read a couple of books dealing with & about depression I recommend these:

It's A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Ascher

Unstuck: by James S. Gordon, MD.


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My sleeping schedule was always a bit out of whack.

In High School, I supposed to be in bed by eleven (Which wasn't strictly enforced by my parents) but, on most nights I'd turn off the lights and listen to music in the dark. There was something peaceful about that, and I often used this time to find new bands to melt my ears.

(Try listening to Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins in the dark. The experience is UNREAL!)

Sometimes one of my parents would come in my room to "check" if I was sleeping. In most cases i'd quickly turn my body towards the wall, to make it "look" like I was sleeping. But in hindsight, I guess this actually worked because I wouldn't stay up that long afterwards.

If you told me that I might've had insomnia all the way back in high school, I wouldn't have believed you. Clearly, I shouldn't have been so naive.

College just wrecks your sleeping schedule (if you've been there, you know). Whether it's homework, parties, hanging out with roommates, or your obnoxious neighbors; there is literally no time other than the weekends to get a good night's sleep.

If you haven't guessed already i'm a night owl, and I have an unfortunate distinction amongst my close friends. I'm "The guy who can sleep anywhere, and it's not even a competition. Now this claim is partially true: I spent the last third of my junior year sleeping on my couch over my bed. I easily fall asleep in the car, and if i'm lying in bed watching videos on YouTube. Forget it! In fact there was one time where I was out stone cold (sleeping) on my couch while my roommates were having a party in the next room.

In my experience my insomnia is astronomically worse when I sleep in my own bed. So much so, that my average bedtime over the previous Christmas break was around 3a.m; and there were multiple occasions where I've stayed up to see the sunrise. At home, I slept on a pho-leather Ikea sofa bed-thingy; and quickly found out that it was not comfortable. Because of that, I decided to sleep in the guest bedroom which had an actual bed. My results were a bit better but not astronomically.

Now i'm a weird person in that I like sleeping, but I also like having time in the morning AND staying up late. If push comes to shove, i'd sacrifice waking up early to add a couple of snoozes. But, here's the thing: I feel like a slob waking up late because I feel like i've just wasted half my day sleeping. In fact, it's significantly easier for me to sleep during the day than it is at night. And, I am convinced that my body sleeps like I live on the American West Coast; which is a struggle when you live on the opposite end of the country with a 3+ hour time difference. And before you say anything, I have tired sleeping early but it fails more times than it works. Believe Me.

That clearly explains why a sleep like a rock.

If you have insomnia, I understand the struggle to an extent (but I only write that b/c I haven't been clinically diagnosed). But I have trouble going to sleep, staying asleep and I'm ALWAYS tired. (I think that's enough right?). I'm never completely comfortable in bed, which makes me toss and turn, and it might take me hours to sleep if i'm not completely tired. To make matters worse, I hate sleeping with someone because I'm afraid i'll keep them up because I snore. My roommate sophomore year even too a quick video of me talking in my sleep, and would always comment that "you were snoring last night." Then i'd feel like crap. I'm sure you know as well as I do that not being able to fall asleep is boarderline torture.

Maybe I should like actually go to a doctor huh? Because I get it, Insomnia sucks.

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Hi! If you're reading this thanks for stopping by! Here's just a little bit about me.

(It'll be short I promise!)

I'm a musician by heart, and I started playing the guitar when I was twelve after my mom got me a guitar for Christmas. My first couple months playing were really slow and my acoustic spent more time in it's case than in my hand. One day I randomly decided to learn a couple songs, so i watched Dave Talbot on Youtube and he taught me "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) by Green Day. [Massive GD fan by the way!] After a couple weeks I learned some more songs by just playing chords. From there, I took guitar lessons for nearly five years and I eventually decided to study music by my sophomore year of college.

My decision to study music was hard to make and it was a radical lifestyle change for me. I started off as a chemistry major in college and spent three semester in that program. It was probably the worst eighteen months of my life, and I quickly ended up hating chemistry. (If you want to hear more about how my life fell apart and rebounded check on the section on my book "This Is About You.") I reasoned that I should do something that I love, and not subjugate myself to do something just so I could be financially stable. In short that's why i decided to change my life, and become as musician.

I'm quite young but i've already done a lot with my life. If all else, I hope the stories, experiences, and insights I share will inspire you to take risks and get the most out of your life. You only live once (YOLO! =D) and I believe that as people, we should take advantage of our time. Find something you love, stick with it and, leave no stone unturned (or as many as you can flip over!)

Thanks For Reading!

- IAN ERNEST

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