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"Carnival" is a veeeery special song to me. I usually write about things that happen recently in my life, so it was odd when I wrote about a much older period of my life long after I'd made peace with it.

Strangely, what brought the memories back up was studying Robert Schumann's 21 piece piano solo "Carnaval."Suddenly, I found myself musing over this list of inconceivable events that happened during a chaotic year I had in Malibu, CA. It was like watching an old motion picture reel, glitching jaggedly from one liquored scene to the next, flashing over the jaws of a joke or the jaws of a beast - you could barely tell. Every time this mysterious part of my life comes up in conversation, people are shocked and hooked to the plot like it's a movie. Sure... it was very entertaining - dark, gluttonous, filled with adventure and conflict; demons, angels, and anti-heroes in the murky shadows of loveless, drug-infested Los Angeles... but it was real. I have trouble reminding myself that it was real because it sounds so fictitious.

"Carnival" is a reflection of the people I knew that year and how it truly felt to be a NPC (non-playable-character) in their twisted storylines. These toxic actors tirelessly pretended they were my friends, and were very busy convincing me that no one else would be. They would put me in dangerous situations just to pull me out of them. If I was worried or concerned about something, I was gaslit into believing what I saw was only an illusion. So I should trust them - they're older, more experienced, wiser; they were "watching over me." They whispered falsities in my ear, they did anything they could to both inspire and crush me, to keep me on their team and away from another's. The fact that I wasn't easily indoctrinated made them pull at my limbs even harder. They were master puppeteers hunting empathetic souls who would give them attention, whom they could sink their teeth into and steal a little youth.  They wanted a gap filled, a sense of validation, a wounded child to be humored; another person they could teach to perform for love and attention, just like they did. Everyone wanted distractions - terrified of authenticity. They liked personal projects - finding someone to take down with them so they didn't feel so alone. Which meant they infused their poison whenever they saw fit.

2015 was a sick fantasy, an explicit carnival, but one I was chosen to live - one that I grew a lot from, very quickly. It feels like eons ago but still plays an essential role as to how I behave today. I'm eternally grateful for the ride.

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