The Armstrong Family Circus

published and designed by Wiseacre Design Studio

Maineville • Ohio • USA

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This is how the end begins

Monday January 16th 2012

by Paul Armstrong

Moving forward, looking back


And this is how the end begins, a small amount of change at a time. A quiet unraveling. A soft and steady suffocation. And then it's hard to breath. Things come unbound. An empty well that draws no water. You look back as you move forward, and there it all lies, telling the story of now and how you're here and ahead is dark, but you keep moving.


With strong mechanical programs I move forward in the habit that what I feel will be taken away; sucked up by someone else, or reprimanded. Be a man. Step up to the plate. This is end and it's happening. I cycle through. A beach ball. A command "Are you sure you want to still want to a responsible adult? Click Ok To Continue"


  1. Don't be emotional. Process the information. Funnel it through the appropriate tubes of reaction. Turn down the volume. You want to scream. You need to scream. Imagine screaming. Deafening. Crying. It won't stop. Just nod and don't be emotional or you'll never return.
  2. Say thoughtful words. Take your time. Make it clear. Do it right. Stuff that burbling pain into a corner and cover it with a lid and how it stops boiling. Imagine uttering a vile string of profanity. Make Jesus blush. He'll never forgive me. I don't deserve it. It's all made up. Maybe. It can't hurt to believe. Life hurts already. I'm undeserving and horrible. Don't curse. Say the right words or Jesus will punish you.
  3. Don't take sides. No one is perfect. Forgive everyone. Love everyone. There is a reason for everything. I don't know all the facts. I hate everyone, but I hate myself too; more so. It's all equal. It balances out. Imagine taking a side. People will hate me. I'll be alone. I like alone. I can be lazy. I can stop doing. I need someone to touch me. I'm unlovable. Don't take sides, it leads to isolation.
  4. Never stop doing. Be productive. Be productive. Be productive. Don't look back you'll turn to stone. Jesus is watching everything, so be careful. Be careful. I want to punch this brick wall. Imagine punching the brick wall. The blood on the knuckles. The subtle blank euphoria. The pain will come. Be careful with great skill. Never stop or it will all be taken away.
  5. Ignore all of the above. They are lies. 
  6. Repeat.

I know my lies like a script. It's spinning uncontrollably. There is an end approaching, the beginning of something else. There are things I don't want to face. Things I cannot stop. Habit is my rescue. It's all I know to do. 





Comments for "This is how the end begins"

You are brilliant and beautiful. You and your family are loved dearly by every last one of us Cuddlahs. I'm so grateful that I know you & Sonia. I'm so sorry that you're in such pain and there aren't any words to make it better. But please know that we are here for you if there's ever anything we can do.

love from Seattle,
Katie & lowercase

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