The Origin

Is it Zak-a-ree or Zak-a-rye? This all started this last weekend when I was texting my mom and she asked, “So, you know how you came up with Zak Awry (Zachary) and it’s a play on words?” I couldn’t help but smile at my mother’s naiveté and quickly corrected, “No, no, no, it’s Zak-a-rye, not a-ree.” I thought it was just my ex that misunderstood and pronounced it Zak Awww-ree but as it turns out many more people don’t understand the symbolism or the pronunciation behind my name.

So in the famous lyrics of Britney Spears: “it’s Britney…erm… Zak Awry, bitch.”

Believe it or not, and some people actually do, but Awry is not my real last name. You see, it was January 2nd, 2015 and I posted pictures of me in makeup and a dress because some friends and I got bored and drunk New Year’s Eve. I let the girls we were hanging out with do my makeup and gush about how skinny I was in comparison to them and find me a dress. May I just say how flattering that dress looked on me? LEGS FOR DAYS!

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My famous side glance
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I posted the pictures on Facebook so that I could share it with some of my friends, in Spokane, who do drag, because my boyfriend and I were going to be visiting there at the end of the month.  It ended up being a popular post and I had significantly fewer friends, only like 350 maybe, and it was one of my top liked posts at the time. I seemed to be getting a lot of good feedback from it, people seemed to mostly understand that 1. Alcohol was involved and 2. That it was all in good fun.

The next day, my uncle posted this as his status,

“Why would the gay, lesbian, transgender society primp like they do. You want equality then quit wearing high heels put some work boots on and man or woman up. Men dressing like women, and vice versa keep it to yourselves. Do what you want on your own time. I don’t plaster pics of myself so in good taste and equality keep them to yourself.”

It was clearly directed at me, so I simply posted a picture of me in the dress saying, “Love you too, Uncle.” To let him know I received his message loud and clear and I wasn’t going to go back into the closet quietly. I fought too fucking hard for 22 long years against my inner demons to get out of that fucking closet and I sure as hell was not going to go back in for the sake of my uncle’s view of “equality”. I didn’t even bother calling my mom or aunts to tattle on him, his ignorance was proudly displayed on his Facebook for all to see. Besides, I had better things to do than to worry about what my small town uncle thinks.

Unfortunately, I was the first comment on it, so MOST of my aunts and cousins had already seen it and connected the dots between the timing of my posts and his and who his was directed at.  One of my aunts called him out on his shit for his post and mentioned me and I realized I shouldn’t air my dirty laundry on Facebook, so I removed my comment after about an hour. It was too late though, as my family all talked and my uncle kept his post up out of stubbornness the family quickly picked sides, which was mostly my side. I received more and more messages from family members telling me not to listen to what my uncle said and my mom was even pissed at her own brother. I didn’t really care what my uncle thought or said I just wanted to basically say, “Fuck you, tag me the next time you want to subtweet to me.”

At some point, my dad found out, through either myself or my sister, and instead of trying to diffuse my anger he actually only escalated the situation. Although I know my dad loves me and will always have my back no matter what, and will punch a mother fucker in the mouth for talking shit about me, our conversation felt like he was agreeing more with my uncle than with me. I don’t remember the exact conversation but I remember it ended with him scornfully asking me,

“What am I supposed to tell your grandmother when she asks why you were in a dress? Do I tell her you want to be a woman now? Huh? I don’t know what to tell her, know your audience!”

I calmly through gritted teeth told him to tell her the truth; that I was drunk and broke on New Year’s and some girls asked to put makeup and a dress on me and that it was all a farce. I was seething because of what drama some fun pictures were causing me, and although I wanted to rebel and shove my gayness down everyone’s throat, I couldn’t ignore the last thing my dad had said, know your audience. I couldn’t get these words out of my head while I silently scrolled through my newsfeed realizing just how many people I forgot I was friends with: neighbors, friends parents, previous employers, current employer (although they loved me and my gayness), and heaps of family. I had more than a few people I would be ok with seeing a little bit less of my true personality.

That was when I remembered what a kid from high school did with his Myspace (back when that was a thing).  He had two accounts labeled (John Smith, John Smith for family.) and his normal one was set to private so his family members couldn’t see anything he was posting or saying. I thought; BRILLIANT! I’ll just make a second Facebook, but since I couldn’t create my own headliner like Myspace, I would just create a persona for the select group of people.

Now, I just had to come up with my name. I knew I didn’t want to change my first name because when I was younger I hated my name (Zach). I kept begging my parents to let me change my first name for the longest time, to which they’d always said no and guilt me for not appreciating the name I was given. However, one day in middle school, I realized Zach wasn’t my legal name, that it was just a short-hand for my full name and that I could spell that version of my name any. Way. I. Wanted.

To be rebellious I left the H off my name for a few months and spelled it Zac. That was fine for a while until one day before high school I was in the grocery store with my dad while he wrote an order for work, and I asked if he would buy me a travel mug for school. He said: “sure.” After looking through some of the different brands I found kid’s dinnerware in that section from a ‘Zak! Designs’, and after seeing it spelled that way I instantly fell in love with my name and decided that was how I wanted it for the rest of my life. If I couldn’t choose my name, I was going to choose how my name was spelled.

I tried a couple different name variations for an alias: Zakary Divine, Zakary Diamond, Zakari Divine, Zak Aroo. However, nothing seemed to fit or flow so I tried to narrow it down to which version of my first name I would use and decide from there. I thought back to my first serving job where everyone had nicknames for me like Zaktastic, Zak-a-roo, Zakattack, etc., and I remember one of my managers used to say, “Aye Zak-A-Rye?” and I always liked it when he called me Zak-a-rye.

So, I knew I really wanted my first name to be Zak-a-rye but I didn’t know how to spell it. I thought Zakari was close but thought too many people would think I was trying to do a version of Zachary, which I wasn’t. As I tried to think over the next few days and did some light research online I gave up trying because I couldn’t find a spelling and nothing flowed with Zak-a-rye either.  I wished I just had one name to worry about like Cher or Madonna.  That was when it donned on me, who says I needed to follow social customs and have two names? I mean, fuck social norms, am I right? What if I did just my first name but split into two?

I toyed with the idea and I thought how do I split Zak-a-rye up and thought Zak Arye would be a good alternative, and then I could explain the origin if anyone asked how I came up with my name, kind of like Phil Maccock (get it? Like feel my cock).

I sat staring at Arye saying it over and over in my head and finally after a dozen times or so it occurred to me that awry was an actual word. I looked up the definition, “away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course; amiss.” And it was like the clouds parted and the sunshine came blazing through my haze as angels sang. It was everything I wanted: Only my first name, a play on words, and because my second profile was going to be my party, gay, drag, bar, and drunk Facebook, what happens when you combine all those things? Yes, things go..AWRY. Boom.

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This is What Depression Looks Like

This is what depression looks like. I’m not crying, I’m not cutting myself, I’m not suicidal, hell I’m not even drinking myself into a stupor anymore. What I’m saying here is you don’t have to be a cliché to have depression. My depression has expressed itself differently throughout the years and in fact came across an old screenshot an Aunt had sent me after one of my many previous blog posts where I discussed what high school was like for me. She responded with,

“Zak you’re definitely in my thoughts right here and now, what you don’t know is you chase life so gracefully!! On the outside, it’s all good looks, sarcasm, and humor! You don’t sound suicidal but certainly crying for help and understanding! That is something I can do for you. I cannot stand the fact that you were treated that way in English class, I know for a fact karma will hit them hard.”

The English class is another long story I’ll have to tell you later. Her words resonated with me because you don’t know what’s going on inside someone’s head, just what they want you to see. If you ACTUALLY know me then you know the real Zak, the depressed, ass hole, eternal pessimist. But if I keep everyone at arm’s length no one knows who that guy is and as my aunt pointed out I’m all good looks, sarcasm, and humor.

I’m sure I might make it look easy online but I actually had a period 2 weeks ago where I had depressive episodes where I just couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t care about anything. Showering, work, eating, my dog. I just wanted to lay there and not exist anymore.

This was a Snapchat I took when I had to go home from my office because I couldn’t function anymore, I told everyone I was working from home that day to hide the truth that I actually came home and laid in bed until the next morning.

It’s that time of year where seasonal depression springs up but my depressive episodes have never been like this. Previously when I was younger it came out as a control issue, insomnia, cutting, and withdrawing from my friends and family. As I got older, I found Ambien which became my new release. It made me feel so good and happy all the time, when you take it every day and get high, you lose track of your depression.

When I was in my early 20’s I repressed all my feelings and never showed my depression because I would binge drink and meticulously clean my car and my room. I would disassociate from my life for a night or an hour while I mindlessly would clean and I would party on the weekends (who are we kidding? Weekdays too…) with my friends and so when there was any depression it was blamed on the hangover. I’d often suffer from insomnia which is why I chose to drink because it made falling asleep easier.

At one point the mail order pharmacy screwed up my prescription and I went off of my antidepressant cold turkey (not good) and it fucked with head pretty hard. 2 and a half weeks later when I got my 90 pill supply I decide I was going to take all of them washed down with a bottle of vodka. I got as far as laying the pills outs (in piles of 20 because OCD tendencies) and the vodka out. I was writing my suicide letter when my boyfriend at the time came over unexpectedly (he was supposed to be out with friends bowling) and found my spare key and let himself in while I sat quietly pretending to be out. Obviously, he stopped everything and I got weened off all medication once again.

My mid-20s depression was expressed very negatively by me. Everything was shit and that was just life.  It was like I was angry at the world and wanted it to be angry too. Flat tire? Well, might as well because it’s me and my life just fucking sucks. I lost interest in the things I used to love like yoga and running, couldn’t get a good nights rest ever. Withdrew from what friends I had and clung to my new boyfriend pressuring him to fix me and make me happy (although not as direct as that). I continued to drink to try and repress and hide my feelings when I was perpetually let down and I still felt broken. But I maintained my facade continuing to retain my image of calm, cool, and collected.

All my poor ex-boyfriends had to endure so much craziness from me and I’m truly sorry to them. I did warn them I was crazy to be fair though. My Montana ex and I broke up and got back together so many times I lost count and I remember one time, in particular, we were broken up and I got hammered before 11 pm and our friends tried to take me home and I refused to go anywhere but my ex’s house and they showed up with me and he took me in and took care of me every time while I would pass out in his bathroom half naked or in his bed.

Now in my late 20’s my depression is sooo much different. Those sad feelings and suicidal tenancies have turned to indifference and the inability to put forth the effort to even think about killing myself because even that takes too much energy. I just feel continually exhausted all the time and have completely lost my OCD cleaning tendencies and things I once was passionate about.

My cars and room that used to be meticulously maintained and cleaned weekly have now turned to utter chaos and disarray. I have washed my car 3 times in the 2 years I’ve leased it and I’m still living out of a box in my closet because I can’t be bothered with exerting the energy to look for a bureau and try to find someone to help move it and lug it home.

I do things to distract myself like binge-watch Netflix, I try to go to yoga 3 times a week, and I write countless pages for my blog; when I publish maybe a story a week? I don’t feel sad, I don’t feel much of anything. In fact, a friend told me he can sense when I’m in one of my ‘moods’.

He said some days I’m just like Eeyore (which I TOTALLY relate to Eeyore, too!) I feel numb. I blamed it on burnout from working 40 hours and going to school full-time, but now that I’m graduated, I can see now, no matter what lies I tell myself, it’s still depression.  I can pretend to be good looking, sarcastic and poised all I want but regardless, it’s still there hanging over my head like the dark cloud it is.

I’m taking steps to fix my depression, my psychiatrist has me trying a new pill and If you’re following my FB page you might have seen some videos of me actually doing stuff like fixing my toilet tank and taking the glass doors out of my shower. Which these may not be big accomplishments but they’re accomplishments that would not have happened 6 months ago.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please don’t silently suffer.  Nobody wants to take pills every day or be depressed but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there.  There are lots of options so I encourage you to seek help because I know how low- low can feel.

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Know Your Worth Then Add Tax

Hot diggity damn two weeks in a row posting. Somebody just try and stop me! As some of you may have seen from Facebook or Instagram I posted a picture that said, “Always remember, someone’s efforts is a reflection of their interest in you.” Perhaps this isn’t news to you, it sure wasn’t to me, but reading those words two days ago really resonated with me and it was like a light switch was flipped on.

Perhaps it’s because of my current situation. I asked the guy I was sort of ‘seeing’ to go see ‘It’ with me and he told me maybe even though I regularly go see movies I have no interest in with him just to spend time with him and because I know he wanted to see it. So fine, fuck him right?

I ask my old friends with benefits, who’s just a friend now, to go with me and he also said maybe. This has really fucked up my moon theory. So thanks a lot, ass holes (said to those guys, not you, my lovely readers…unless you’re the guys I’m talking about then definitely fuck you). I even resorted to trying to get two fuck bois on Grindr to sit through ‘It’ with me and they both told me maybe too! So fuck your maybes, fuck your indecision, this train has left the station.

Now, use common sense, this isn’t the first and only incidence of this. This is just the straw the broke the camel’s back. The worst part is that this is all psychology. As the Cobra Starship song says, “Treat them like dirt and they’ll stick to the bottom of your shoe” We want what we can’t have and if someone treats you with indifference or as an option it drives us crazy. Don’t hold out hope that if you show them how much they mean to you that they’ll start to treat you the way you deserve to be treated; believe me, I’ve learned from experience. Once an option you’ll always just be an option to them and it’ll hurt you more in the long run than if you recognize the signs and walk away on your terms.

I captioned the post saying:

Remember you shouldn’t have to put all the effort in.
If they cared, they’d call.
If they wanted to see you, they would have accepted your invite.
If they considered your feelings, they’d return your text as soon as they could.
If they gave a shit about you, they would never make you feel like a consolation prize.
If they respected you, they wouldn’t be sleeping with other people.
FACT my dear, he doesn’t love you, he doesn’t want you. You’re just convenient and the only one that answers his calls when he’s lonely.

Let. Him. Go.

Now, maybe that was more of a letter to 21 year old newly out and dating Zak, but I’ve talked to a lot of people on my Facebook (Don’t be afraid to email too! zak@zakawry.com) and many guys I talk to are like me, where when treated as indifferent only made us try harder to get them to like us, so those guys who are indifferent just love the attention so they continually call us for validation and an ego boost. 

To keep us interested and enticed enough they do little things like spread little these breadcrumbs of hope here and there. You don’t hear from him for a couple weeks and then out of the blue, he messages you saying ‘how much he’s missed you and how busy he’s been and how he’d love to see you tonight’ and then you’re right back into the negative cycle feeling like you’re going insane.

I often times lose myself in a new person, I want to fully embrace their passions and be a part of their life and like what they like and hate what they hate (By treating them the way I want to be treated). So I try to like the same things they do so that we have common ground and we have something we could do together and enjoy. Often times, however, I end up focusing more on the person than the ‘common ground’ interests and then get hurt when I’m not getting the returned attention. This never works. I’ve been a people pleaser my whole life and I would constantly put others feelings and joys first even at the expense of my own. STOP IT. You deserve better. 

I hate plugging this shit but it seems to help. Please, please, if you like my blog subscribe up at the top, I don’t have access to your information, I don’t sell your shit (not that I would even know WHO to sell it to), and I don’t spam your account. It’s just an email saying I posted something. Sometimes I don’t post all my stuff to Facebook. Speaking of, go like my facebook page while you’re at it because I’m cute.  xx www.facebook.com/zakawry

The Full Moon Brings All the Boys to the Yard?

Well, well, well….Look’s like I have at least a few fans I wasn’t aware of <3 A few were asking when I was going to give you more writing. I am honestly flattered anyone wants to read my stories because the reason I quit writing as frequently is because I hit a very hard story in my life to talk about from when I was 21 right after having come out and it’s incredibly embarrassing to me and I became incredibly self-conscious of my writing and putting my life on display as an open book. I don’t know who does or doesn’t read my blog and so I started feeling like everyone was secretly judging me. Sure maybe that’s being a little paranoid but I have my reasons. So anyway, that’s why I haven’t really posted anything new. BUT! Back by a few peoples request! I’M BACK…. At least until a cute boy distracts me and I lose interest in writing again.

I really had such a crazy month…and by that I mean I watched WAYYY too much Netflix, didn’t leave my house except when I was forced to (Like to walk my dog), and to go to work. I did take a little mini vacation from my life in there too and ran away to Rehobeth Beach for a night. Yes, I could have probably written new stuff, but I was dealing with some major miscommunication between my roommate and me that took a lot of energy and mental power to try and understand his point of view. It’s like we speak two different languages but we’ve resolved a lot of our issues and things are going well.

During August you may remember a little thing like a solar eclipse happening. That’s when all the trouble with my roommate started. After several disagreements and arguments and fights, we came to a lull and he kind of realized how crazy we were being and according to him I was acting different (I could say the same for about him). He asked me a funny question; he asked if I knew anything about the moon phases. Now, clearly I’m not astronomer, astrologer, or astronaut, so what I’m about to tell you is strictly an observation that could really be happening or my brain might be trying to trick itself into seeing evidence that isn’t there for the sake of a concept to grasp to make sense of this crazy thing we call life.

Now, you need some background info here about some of my beliefs, One of the most hippy-ish things you will hear me say is if you listen to what your body is trying to tell you through yoga or meditation you can fix or eliminate a lot of your negative habits and stresses. If my ex is reading this right now he probably laughed out loud at the thought of me saying something like that. You see, I suffer from depression and so I used to be a very negative person. He tried to help me every way he could but in the end, I couldn’t grasp any of the things he was trying to tell me. I had pretty much given up trying to do the work to get better on my own and relied solely on the prescriptions the doctors kept changing up trying to reduce side effects and elevate the mood levels. Finally, in a desperate last attempt, I got a therapist that I specifically sought out because he is also gay and just gets it. He knew how to talk to and handle the emotional basket case I was just 2 short years ago and when to be stern and when to be compassionate.

So now that you have a bit of the back story, let’s continue, I try to vaguely track my depression cycles so I can bring them up at the next session. So in my tracking, I noticed that around the week before the full moon my moods dip to either lower moods or depression. I noticed it dipped because I felt like people were avoiding me or blowing me off, someone might ‘ghost’ me, which means if you’re messaging with someone and they just all of a sudden quit replying for no reason and leave you hanging. Or maybe I get forgot on an email list for a company happy hour. Something happens that makes me feel rejected or alone and forgotten and whether that’s actually true or just the way I react to the situation that week isn’t quite clear in my observation.

It seems like after going to bed a couple days before a 100% full luminosity moon it just seems like a light switch has been flicked on (pun semi-intended) and everything is better. In fact, it’s like I’m irresistible and then everyone that I couldn’t get to talk to me the week before or whoever disappeared for months on end would choose those days leading up to the full moon to contact me all while my normal friends contact me to hang out and go do things. The week of the full moon seems to be my most active social week of the month.

Is this hard documented evidence? No. Does it happen with the same people all the time? No. It’s merely speculation and keeping half an eye on my depression cycles and noticing when I said obscure things like, “What the hell is *Fill-in-Blank* doing texting me? Must be a full moon..” (Said mockingly…cuz…you know…a full moon brings all the weirdo’s out). But then I actually started checking. First just if I happened to be out at night or thinking how bright it is at night while taking Bosley to the bathroom and looking up and noticing it.

That was when I noticed the coincidences and watching them. I’m in my third month of actually tracking the phases and it’s pretty predictable. What’s not predictable is what person (romantic or otherwise) it will affect or who is going to decide to randomly get back in contact with me. When I see my love interests start to pull away instead of trying harder like I did before, I let them go because I’m like, “Bitch, you’ll be back…they always come back.” (Sometimes it’s because they tell me I need to get checked. But coming back is coming back, why we splitting hairs, Susan?!)

Again, take it for what it is. A personal observation about my life that I may possibly be hallucinating. Does anyone else notice weird things happen with a Full moon? Just me? Maybe I am just finding more meaning in things that aren’t there. I’m just saying that our bodies consist of between 50-65% of water and if the moon can affect things such as high and low tides…come on people connect the dots here…

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Warn Against Coffee!

Friends don’t let friends become coffee addicts. Mine started with recreational use, a cappuccino here, a mocha there. I have always had a borderline drinking problem with green tea, really I think that was the gateway beverage to coffee.

My friends and I started doing it as a way to wake up after an 8 hour work day and we needed to perk up. Pretty soon I started using it in school as a way to stay awake for studying and class and during the day at work. It was always the good stuff, I’d never be one of ‘those’ coffee drinkers that drank the deluded drip coffee at home or god forbid gas station coffee. Nobody ever thinks it’ll happen to them, you know?

Soon I started asking people on dates to coffee to see if we clicked. Eventually, I met my boyfriend, and he was addicted and always insisted I use with him, he’s the first person to show me how to Keurig my coffee for an even quicker fix. We would drink coffee all day, four sometimes five cups in a sitting. He soon started working for Starbucks as a way for us to afford our addiction. I wasn’t happy about him pimping himself out to all those people at Starbucks waiting in lines for him but as soon as that aroma from the coffee hit my nostrils all bets were off and it’s like we forgot the pain of it all, he got a discount from Starbucks so we’d spend even more on coffee because it is the premium stuff for a gas station cappuccino price.

The slide down was steep and quick before I knew it I’d take a quick hit from the Keurig and continue with my day like nothing happened. I wasn’t just enjoying the lattes and cappuccinos, now I was enjoying the drip coffee and I couldn’t afford the premium quality that Starbucks was slinging anymore. I was desperate, I was no longer using for recreation or studying, I was using because I had to, I relied on this stuff, I NEEDED THIS STUFF!

The slide was quick and steep and before I knew it I was that jittery half-awake guy in sweats and a sweaty, stale, and stained t-shirt sucking the last little bit of coffee out of the grounds at the gas station. I could no longer adult around people without a cup of coffee in my system — 2 cups if it was stupid people I had to deal with. My friends were the ones that got me to use and they failed me, they gave me a lifetime pass to this addiction now!

I’ve lost everything because of my coffee addiction.  I lost my job because I was so jacked up on coffee I punched my boss in the face. My boyfriend eventually broke up with me because he couldn’t take the constant state of anxiety I was. My family abandoned me because I couldn’t be around them without some caffeine in my system. And all the friends that got me addicted left me because they still only use occasionally for work or school. Coffee ruins lives. Friends don’t get friends started on coffee. Please don’t let your friends suffer a similar fate. Warn against the use of coffee.