Regret

It is a curious thing viewing one’s life through the lens of retrospect. I begin to see decisions that I’ve made and the patterns that make up the habits and myths that once served me well. The twin realizations of mistakes made and the implication of failures left unresolved is enough to overwhelm most anyone. I don’t claim to be anything but ordinary, and I am not immune to the sting of a demon that haunts us all. I hold so much hate for it that I perish the thought of naming it. It’s name is a word that holds pain and self-inflicted misery. That word is “regret”.

It’s not often that I find the time or the ability to indulge in it. It’s a debilitating luxury that many of us fall prey to, and too few of us have the ability to resist. It’s a siren song disguised as simple remembrance. Once it takes hold, it becomes a hypnotic force of attraction, pulling its victim into the jagged shores of misery and self-loathing. People can become marooned on those relentless shores, unable or unaware that the most expedient means of escape is acceptance. It becomes all-encompassing until despair and misery come calling close behind.

I greet despair and misery as one might greet a worthy opponent, with a level of respect and full knowledge of the depth of their ability. They once held me prisoner in a place where the murky waters of depression and hopelessness met, holding my head below the icy, inky blackness. It’s all-encompassing and I know it’s song and it’s acrid stench well enough to recall.

It wasn’t until I shed all pretense of false dignity and implied failure that I was finally able to ask for help. When I did, I found many hands extended in my direction. Some of great strength and breadth, others of a smaller and more focused nature. Each in their own way pulled me out and embraced me, granting me a modicum of their strength and sight beyond my limited vision. What I found I did not like, and what I did not like
I abandoned or destroyed utterly.

Realization of infinite empowerment in the twin realms of manifestation and destruction; that is what was granted to me. In so doing, I have forced the proverbial mirror to turn inward upon itself. The questions that have nipped at my heels as though they were possessed of Cerberus himself once again vie for my attention. “What do I desire”, “what constitutes a ‘well-lived life’”, “will any of this mean anything after I’m gone”, “will anyone remember me”–endlessly, these questions encircle and ensorcel me, enervating me. Were these questions merely inquiries that held neither the weight of guilt nor pain of disappointment, I would consider myself lucky. Imbued with wicked weight and impossible idealism, they are the perfect foil.

I wrestle with my thoughts, unable to rest, unable to breathe deeply. I steal glimpses on occasion; of a life lived more fully, with no sense of pretense, less worry, and no doubts about the path upon which I have tread or the path that calls out in yearning for the press of my stride and the strength of my spirit. Phantoms and echoes pervade my senses as I continue to struggle, the ebon ichor still clinging to my limbs and burning my lungs. Painful reminders of what was and what could have been.

In the bright light of hope and the truth of the eyes granted clarity through retrospect, it fades. I am able to see and sense that the path is not merely singular, one of “destiny”, but one of infinite breadth; the North Star of that wondrous expanse shining brighter still as recognition lays its full force upon me. As my spirits lift, it brightens. It is I, it is my will that points the way. In this knowledge, I am empowered.

I struggle on.

If Only

Let us not be strangers when next we meet; instead I pray we should greet each other as kindred spirits.  Ancient souls inextricably and inexplicably linked together by gossamer threads of existence.

Experiences shared would be our bread, emotion and empathy our wine and aperitifs.  Fortunate indeed would we be if we could pray in our own ways in this temple of the universe, our religion of sharing and professing a deep and abiding love.  To wildly careen into an ecstatic and and effervescent dream with you would give the universe pause.

To what end these desires seek?  To set hearts ablaze, purge despair, and slay anger.  Is it a mission? A directive?  No, merely an imperative bestowed upon us from aeons past.

I weep inwardly, knowing well the depths of my own darkness–knowing that you too possess such a well.  The agony of such a wound, irreparable by any hands untempered, that know nothing of your struggle.

I would know it, if you would but venture beyond yourself.

Grant me sight into that well and know that these hands are tempered in the fires of love, quenched within the depths of compassion.  Breathe with me, and I would make it so.

If only in seeking solace you would come to honor yourself, your struggle, and hold space and love for yourself.  I would have you smile and be heard.  If only you would begin.

If only.

Forget

I want to go somewhere else entirely.  A place where I will forget my own name.  How my face looks.  The sound of another heartbeat.  The feel of skin against my own.

Another day.  Another disappointment.  Another night.  One more heartbreak stacked atop the rest; just bricks slapped atop a layer of pale loneliness.

I want to walk so far and so long that I forget everything.  Let my memories bleed into the desert floor from the soles of my dead feet.  Don’t bother looking for the bones–let the sun bleach them and the coyotes crunch them down to powder.

Make me forget.  Make me invisible.  It’s what was bound to happen anyway.  It was meant to happen; meant to be.  My name was meant to be a warning, an illustration in apocalyptic form of how abjectly fucked you can be.  How it doesn’t matter what I did or how much I tried, it’d always end up the same.  I was going to be the one who could never quite fit.  The metaphorical “square peg”.  Quintissential.

This world was never meant for me.  I was never meant for greatness or great things, only to be someone’s toy.  A broken and pitiful thing, a chalk line drawn only to be washed away.  I can only imagine what others would say.  “Good riddance”.  “About time”.  “What a coward”.

Carve my name in stone.  Then forget about me just like all the rest.

Seeking

Let us not be strangers when next we meet; instead I pray we should greet each other as kindred spirits. Ancient souls inextricably and inexplicably linked together by thin threads of existence. Experiences shared would be our bread, emotion and empathy our wine and aperitifs.

Fortunate indeed would we be if we could pray in our own ways in this temple of the universe, our religion of sharing and professing a deep and abiding love. To wildly careen into an ecstatic and and effervescent dream with you would give the universe pause.

To what ends do these desires seek? To set hearts ablaze, purge despair, and slay anger. Is it a mission? A directive? No, merely an imperative bestowed upon us from aeons past.

I weep inwardly, knowing well the depths of my own darkness–knowing that you too possess such a well. The agony of such a wound, un-mendable by any hands untempered that know nothing of your struggle. I would know it, if you would but venture beyond yourself. Grant me vision into that well and know that these hands are tempered in the fires of love, quenched within the depths of compassion.

Breathe with me, and I would make it so. If only in seeking solace you would come to honor yourself, your struggle, and hold space and love for yourself. I would have you smile and be heard.

If only you would begin. If only.

Adventure and Recovery

Had a bit of a rush of creativity all of a sudden.  I had the thought: “What would a mountain-dwarf say about adventure and hitting rock-bottom?”  I’d imagine the conversation would look something like this.

You think me disturbed, standing here amidst the trees and the plain? You misunderstand me–and my people.

Though we are born of the mountain halls and seek the shelter of rock and stone, the wood and the water are no less joyous to us than they are to you. I am at peace amid the howls of the wind through kingdoms cavernous in much the same way that my heart overflows among the whisper of trees.

I, too, know the peace of sleeping beneath the Shimmer, of the refreshing bite of cold mountain streams beneath the inferno of a Summer’s ray. Long have I scaled and roamed through Father Winter’s cold rage, longer than you have lived.

Foolish indeed, for you to believe that I am somehow separated from my element. Though I am separate from my kin in this, my love for the world writ-large lies unguarded and open for all to gaze upon. If the mountains are the womb from which we are birthed, then the Earth is the body that cries out for want of formation and exploration. If this is true, then truly it would be a crime to lie in passive repose, cruel indeed to the mind that novelty remain undiscovered.

You believe I am mad for leaving the kingdoms of my forebears in search of myself and what wonders lie beyond. I hold naught but pity for you, for being blind to all else that I am and all the more that I might become.

Come with me now, let us be stripped-bare of pity and grief. If it is true that we have hit rock-bottom, then Fortune has smiled upon us and granted us a boon cloaked in pain–for upon this rock we will build the strongest of foundations.

Words

The younger version of me meant every word. Every ounce of anger, every “you’ll be sorry”, every single cry for attention, love, and validation. Some kind of proof that he didn’t “suck” and wasn’t just meant to die.

That terrible air; pregnant with promises never kept and many more never spoken. Proud and true we were, trying simply to be ourselves. “I owe you” never entered into the equation, there is no debt to be paid… not anymore.

I’ve spent my time trying to reconcile with the wrong people, trying in vain to make it all mean something. To make it seem like my suffering wasn’t empty and meaningless.

But in the end, they’re just fuckin’ words.

It’s time to clear the air and leave it all behind. The transition from “I” to “we” to “me” has been painful and more enlightening than anything I’ve ever done.

In not knowing myself for so long, I’ve had to find something to cling to and to “be”. I’d put on different hats for a while and see how they fit, but often they’d lose their appeal as people lost interest. I was never at home or happy with myself, so the whole exercise was moot to begin with… but maybe that wasn’t the point. Maybe the point was validation.

I never gave myself the permission or the ability to be myself. Weird and wonderful and willful. That skin never felt comfortable because it felt vulnerable and that vulnerability terrified me on a level that I couldn’t fully communicate.

But I’m an adult now. I can go back to being “I” again. There’s no more use in remaining stuck in the past, with nothing but skewed memories of the past to keep me. That house was not my home; it was a prison. Twisted, demented, abandoned.

I meant every word when I was there. I don’t live there anymore, and I don’t need to go back there anymore. I can be me without being that version of me.

Save your breath, because I’ve had enough. They were just fuckin’ words.

Discourse and Dis-ease

Discourse and Dis-ease

What does the state of our discourse say about us as a society when we are concerned not with the necessity or efficacy of the expenditure of resources on those with less, but on whether or not it is “right” or “moral”?

At what point did the purpose of any appointed leadership role at any point in history stray from “the greatest good for the greatest number” to maintaining a status quo?

What does the current dysfunction of our government say about our society in the broadest of terms?

In these questions, I begin to ponder what it is to be American– and indeed, what it means to be human. To a further extent, these questions engender a kind of deep, unabiding hatred for systems of control and government that are not conducive to the growth and exploration of the human condition as it exists in its myriad states. Collectively, we are failing to more deeply realize the fundamental flaws of the economic, social, and political system that we hold so dear: that over a billion people are below the poverty line, the availability of clean water and air is becoming a systemic problem, and that our ambitions quickly outstrip our wisdom.

In the instance of atomic energy, we more readily (and more rapidly) built weapons of decimation that during the darkest period of our history were capable of covering the entire face of the Earth in death a hundred times over. Barely half a century removed from such time we still ride on the razor’s edge of madness, our collective wisdom having been snuffed-out by cold calculation, its remains crushed beneath the hardness of our hearts and the jack-booted heels of industry and warfare. The coldest ones among us cast judgement and condemnation from grand ivory towers, content to wager on games of thrones and luck, while not a moment spent in idle contemplation of the vast amounts of death that have been meted-out by the puppets they control. These puppets all guard the fortresses of kings they have never seen or met, and are all trained to murder at the first sign of a threat.

Ensconced within their halls of pale white, the plights of those deemed “beneath” them go unheeded. Indeed, poxes are heaped upon poor wretches whose only crime was to have been born into a life un-gloried by the splendor of abundant resources. Death comes for them frequently, and for many becomes the only escape. Self-destruction through substance abuse, rape, torture, and killing are often the only means for them to feel anything. Their life circumstances are shaped and moulded by corrupt men in aged halls who spend their time and effort glorifying themselves and their chosen vices, building halls of the dead more grand than the homes of the living. Ever do those chosen few spend time asking questions of the stars or working to best each other in violent feuds through which there is no victor but the rich.

It is from here, a place of true seeing and truth-seeking, that we should be able to see the world for what it has truly become: spiritually-bereft and morally-bankrupt. I do not speak of spiritualism in the narrowest definition of the word, nor in the sense of one’s religion; I speak of it in the broadest terms possible. I speak of the indomitable human spirit that perseveres despite hardships, that lives on the rocky, ragged edges of survival and remains long after those who have placed them there have shed their mortal coils. I speak of the purest joy in seeing the first breath of a loved one after a coma, that purest speechlessness that accompanies the birth of one’s children, the deepest sorrow at the passing of our greatest love, the highest emotional peak of achievement, and the darkest depths that defeat may cast us to.

Each of these things is forgotten in the world of measurement we find ourselves living within and slowly becoming one with. We measure the length of life in the number of breaths we take, the amount of material resource with which we may live in excess, and our ability to reach the peaks of popularity amongst our peers. Instead of giving addition to the number of breaths that are taken away in splendor, the gratitude that we might have felt from another had we only given that which we did not require to sustain ourselves, and understanding that the adoration of the vox populi does naught for anything except one’s own ego, we allow ourselves to be moulded and guided on a trail of tears, ultimately to be led to the end of our lives having achieved nothing, helped no one (save ourselves), and remaining in death that which we were born into in the first place: servitude and anonymity.

It is in this, this heightened sense of things, that we must immerse ourselves in the deepest truths we can perceive. We must not only break our own chains, we must also spring the locks of those around us– until the last lock breaks, none of us are truly free. We are embattled, bitter, and exhausted; but we must not give in. Too easily in its ebon embrace would Death take us gladly, and so we must have the strength each day to look it straight in the eye and say “Not today.”

We must find the conviction and the courage within our very souls to continue to tell the whole truth of our varied and different existences to those who would seek our doom, and to embrace even those who would see us destroyed. Confrontations need not occur with violence and conflagrations, but instead can occur through even the slightest jarring from the stasis of their spirit. It is on this battlefield that we must now engage; not with hate, but with love. A deep and abiding love, one that acknowledges not a single truth, but many truths of different circumstances of birth, life, and culture. Upon this battlefield, there are no casualties– save only for the discarded trappings of lives spent in bitter hatred and ignorance.

It is a war of words we must all win, with many battles of spirit and understanding that we all must endure if we are to understand each other and to come out alive and better for it. We need not be moral, right, or just–only just and magnanimous enough to understand that no human truth is The Truth. Only our understanding of each other as it is relayed to us from one another. It is in this place of understanding, love, and tolerance that we must work to build our collective future, lest we find ourselves carelessly and needlessly embracing Death.

This would be the greatest tragedy of all.