“Don’t think twice, it’s alright…” -Dylan
I remember waking up on a couch in my basement and being visually assaulted by the cold dusty sunlight of afternoon reflecting a blinding bright white tetrahedral onto concrete floor. How beautiful that moment was. Next I remember the pain setting in. Nausea, dry mouth, raw sinus, weakness in my joints and the utter deficiency of energy. This deficiency ultimately transmuting into desire for another cigarette, a cup of coffee, maybe some fresh air… in that order. A glass of sugar water at some point. Then the notion, my first real thought, “this is a perfectly good way to die.”
During one of the three or four therapy sessions I went to, in order to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, the therapist asked me if I was suicidal. This therapy visit takes place years after waking up on the couch. I had not touched anything harder than a muscle relaxer since before Charleston, since before this blog even. I was no longer in a frame of mind to self injure, at least terminally, I hoped. He asked if I had ever been in that frame of mind. I knew that I had been (on the couch years earlier) but I also knew the follow up question he was going to ask… How did I plan to die?
This is the standard method, or so I have read. A way to tell how serious a person is about suicide is to ask them flat out how they plan to do it. If they have a detailed emotional response to this question it is a signal that things are bad. If they seem at all disinterested or are nonspecific in their description of the act then things are only obliquely bad.
The fact that I knew this method may have colored the sincerity of my answer. I told him that when I was suicidal I planed to “jump off a building or something”. Obviously a disinterested and nontechnical response, i.e. only obliquely worrisome. I realize now that not only was this inaccurate but, for all intensive purposes, a lie I was telling myself.
I had made a real choice as to how I was going to kill myself. Slowly. I would drink, snort, smoke, and fuck my way into perfect oblivion. A manly death, guns-a-blaze. Swallowing down my intrinsic ennui with each shot, burning away my pointless toxic rage with each smoke, diluting my endless misunderstandings with each oxy, to a point when I no longer existed.
The truth was, sitting in that office, two weeks sober and completely unprepared for the hard edges of reality assaulting my fragile mental state, I had killed myself hundreds of time over the past few years.
“Allow me to reintroduce myself…”-HOV
This is all retrospective and distant. At this point in my life (as in right now writing this), over four years removed from my time on suicides couch and nearly two from that fateful therapy session, the person I was then seems impossible to me. That existence seems impossible, but I know that it is not. I know that at any moment I could regress and begin to become some vestige of that former self.
Through all the negative of those years, loss and self destruction, the waste, I gained a real understanding of the variant dimensions human experience can encompass. I have traveled from one end of the spectrum and back again within the span of a decade. Imagine a lifetime, or a collection of lifetimes, a demographic, a state, a country.
I learned that if we refuse to accept the negative aspects of our human condition, our animal nature, the deficiency of our reason and our culture, the impending doom of our death, then we are at their mercy. Living ignorantly beneath the umbrella of self denial whilst the torrent of reality blusters about us. The true maleficence of the modern American, or human being in general, is not their convictions but their ignorance. We are no longer slaves to our needs but rather to our perceptions. The greatest revolution to take place post enlightenment is not one of industry, or technology, or civil equality but of human utility. Which is a combination of these concepts together.
The true accent of liberty has been obscured by materialism, division of rights, competition of interests, and gradations of intellect, because we have surpassed the primal stage of hominid development and now face a struggle of cosmic utility towards the proliferation of the highest order. The opportunity to dismantle the trappings of a cerebellum and limbic system bound and constructed on outmoded principals of necessity, to overcome the encumbrance of social institutions which are tailored towards the limitations of progressive traits.
All of this from a decade in nosedive.
Not truly a decade. Eighteen to twenty eight has been tumultuous but not utterly useless. There have been bright spots. The last two years with Rachael have been the best, healthiest, and most productive of my young life. I am thankful for her everyday. For her support, her intelligence, her willingness to feel. My family has taken a turn for the better. Ten years ago we were something else completely, children, all of us. It is maddening to get to a certain age, the age your parents where when they produced your soft little body, and realize how unprepared you would be in their shoes. All of the youthful angst you held begins to turn into a sort of beleaguered appreciation, true respect, love. They also gave me the three greatest gifts of my life. I honestly cannot fathom life without my siblings who teach me everyday in ways that they cannot possibly yet understand. Because at the age they are now I understood almost nothing. All of this took place in a decade, which for all intensive purposes, I royally fucked up.
I am no longer on that couch. No longer bitter, or at least much less so. I see now, in a way that is terribly difficult to explain, all of that sickness was necessary to lead me to this place. That each step along the way is never a misstep. Nearly thirty and just beginning to live a life, one that I can be proud of. This is where I stand now, who I am. Yet I am still they same boy who almost didn’t make it. My past is littered with squandered opportunities, second chances, wasted time, and questions. My future, I now understand, is in my control.
To make a grand summation, draw my metaphysical metaphorical chaos circle around the totality of the concept, I am no different yet I am never the same. This the ultimate humanistic concept, this duality of existence. At once utterly individual yet part of this gigantic tribe. America as the experiment, molten, quicksilver, amorphous, true. With each trial I become more human, as I learn more civilized. I join by forging my own way.
“Two roads diverging in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood…” – Frost