Those chilled or are they warm last moments. Last moments sought after so many final straws untended. You’ve seen too many make that choice, infinite silence, the eternal blank, or so you’ve come to believe. Correct or not, you’ll never know until the switch is flipped.
This perpetual process of getting up again and again and again. The words stay down would be a hug were they in your nature. This day in the supermarket, you inside the glass shell, watching faces smiling, a middle-age woman and young man happy to unexpectedly see each other hug and laugh. You turn your cart quickly into an aisle, trembling, fighting back tears, in your glass shell. Invisible.
Has it finally happened? Are you, after all these years finally (Could it be, thankfully? Survival is exhausting) collapsing into pieces, dust to dust?
And then, out of the corner of your eye, a sign in produce reading, Ripe Ass Avocados. You look at the sign. Ripe Hass Avocados, not Ripe Ass Avocados. You begin to laugh. You are smiling and laughing. You share the misread story with a few customers in the checkout line. People, cashier and bagger, laughing.
Back home, putting away the groceries, better now, you pause. Think. Saved by a sign. This time.
Final straws. They’re everywhere.
It’s been many years since I’ve had a good relationship with August. We just don’t get along. I never wronged August, least I can’t remember if I did, but I must’ve. After all, August contains some of the biggest wounds of this man’s life. Shot on August 24th, mother commits suicide on August 12, and the biggest wound of all, my father dies on August 16 when he is 55 and I’m 15.
Now don’t be whipping out any sympathy violins for me, that’s not the point here. I am alive and well and happy and testimony that things can be survived and grown from and while wounds leave their marks and shapes, they don’t mean to stop your life, ‘less you hand’m more control then they deserve. Life happens to us whether we like it our not, it’s how we manage it that makes the difference, our living breathing relationship with it – that’s the point.
Suicide’s anything but fuckin’ painless and the same goes for getting shot and your father dyin’ when you’re fifteen’ll fuck your world up too. But you know what? Sunsets are beautiful and the same goes for sunrises. Friendships and family are precious and Springsteen songs make my heart soar and the sound of children laughing will lighten the heaviest heart and have you seen the flowers blooming lately?
Old wounds don’t stop life. Old pains don’t slam doors. Old scars don’t close your eyes or shut your ears. Open wide your soul and breathe. Lift your hearts up by the fuckin’ bootstraps if you have to. Open your eyes and ears, love people, love life. There’s life gifts in front of you and there’s life gifts ‘round the bend. You might not see’m now, but they’re just ‘round the bend. I know it’s scary, but don’t let it frighten you.
We all got our Augusts. You got yours and I got mine. You keep living now – and I’ll be seein’ you ‘round the bend.
Coming back to life one day at a time; that is my lot these days and I am quite pleased with it. Starting somewhere in late 2006, early 2007, if memory serves, I’ve been taking a bit of a pummeling from certain quarters, culminating in a set of circumstances that sent me plunging into the depths of depression for quite some time now.
I think things are beginning to change. In the last month or two I’ve been betrayed by few folks, two in particular: one was a surprise, one was not. The thing is, these acts really angered me, in large part because both people knew they were kicking me when I was already down. Only cowards do that.
Like all of you, I’ve met some cowards in my time. Not too long ago I had a guy make up all kinds of, well, crap about me, but he never had the courage to tell me too my face, or address things in person. Another coward. Then, recently, the two just referenced. Who are they? I will never name them. Why? Because their names aren’t worth the expenditure of ink. Frankly, it would be an insult to the ink.
This morning I went for a walk, a rarity for me these days given that getting out of the house is not easy. But during the walk I remembered reading about leopards when I was a boy. I remember reading that they are most dangerous when wounded, that they will fight to the death.
I have a lot of respect for leopards.
Thank God for mirrors, they remind me I am still here. When you are struggling with depression and your body has been jumped by the flu, it is easy to believe that you are alone in the world and, if you are not careful, doubt that you even exist in the first place. My fight with the flu is approaching two weeks. My struggle with depression has been going on somewhat longer. How long, I am not exactly sure. What is its cause? I would say loss and the recognition of betrayal.
In a memoir I am working on there is a line the begins, “Loss wields a merciless scythe…” And so it does. It happens to us all and is sometimes, too many times, generated from unexpected quarters. But it is part of life, not the end of life. If you find yourself in a battle with depression, it may feel like everything is gone. It is not. Look in a mirror, you are still here. And that, my dear reader, is a good thing. You may not think so or feel so at the moment, but hang in there, it is true, the world is better off with you in it.
Thank God for mirrors, they remind me I am still here. And that is a good thing.