Restless and a bit listless. I tow the party line of dutiful provider and faithful spouse. But as the years move quickly, the rolls take on different meanings, except for a chosen few. The bones grow wary sometimes, and I often find myself longing to bury myself beneath the covers, once again. It gets harder and harder to come up with excuses to paint on a smile of optimism. Instead opting for the words of silence for relief.
I find it very hard to be “inspirational”, these days. Having been separated me from the few I confide in. Leaving me alone with the echoes of my own broken mind. I leave my misery sprinkle about, in words of hardened candor or in the blustery sayings of a bitter old man. But these are nothing more than the honest cries of disappointment and shame.
I wish I could offer some words of peace, if just for myself. But making empty promises are just not my thing. Maybe it would be wise to simply bury my head in the sand. But the before mentioned obligations make that impossible. So I tighten the belt one more notch and preform the task at hand. Turning them into nothing more than chores I no longer look forward too. This in turn heaps even more guilt on this raging brush fire in my soul.
As time follows us, existence and finality follow suit. The person looking back at you in the mirror is the same, but time and scares have left their mark. I’ve learned to accept such things. But for a while I rejected all thoughts of the end. But teetering on the edge of mortality taught me a lesson. That despite my best efforts, time waits for no one.
In 2015 after laying on a hospital bed for seven days, being monitored and pumped full of chemicals to save my life. I grew wiser. I understood that what I had done before than wasn’t enough. That the fear I carried about my own mortality, were nothing more than words pressed into my mind, by the inadequacies that I felt. So something had to change.
That was five years ago, and after a few more hospital visits, I’m still learning. Learning that I don’t know everything. I mean I’ve read all the books, went to all the seminars. Yet it wasn’t until I learned to love and to forgive me, that I learned anything I needed to know. Life’s still a struggle and I have my days. But through self-awareness I am able to focus and live one moment at a time.
It’s 3:40 in the morning, I’ve been up for about an hour. Mostly feeling pressure in my gut, with the occasional heart palpitation. I don’t worry about it too much, it’s just the same old, same old. I figured I’ve been due a few days like this after the last few weeks. I mentioned earlier to a young friend, that I don’t let troubles bother me much as they happen. It’s usually afterwards that the pressure finally settles on me in the form of some physical reaction.
But it is what it is, 21 years after being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, Chronic Depression, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You either accept those fact or bury them away in your prideful mind. Both mindsets will lead you down similar but different paths. I consider my stories the creation of my more logical side. While my poetry is the creation of my more emotional side. Lately my poetic side has taken over, giving me some release from my troubled mind.
As I lay here, I accept the release my words give me. Writing is my meditation. The words flow freely, much easier than they have in years past. I’ve noticed that the more pride I let go of, the more content and accepting my mind gets. So many of us live in this bubble of rules. Believing that “herd mentality” will eventually set us free, well I don’t know about that. While the world lives by a very strict genetic code. There are so many outside forces that twist and pull at each living thing. That life eventually turns into it’s own unique puzzle. Whereby adapting to circumstance is the key to survival.
Not feeling too dandy this morning, I got a headache and my guts are tied in knots. Other than that, I look good. I took a hot shower at my daughter’s and even give myself a nice smooth shave. But even in the shower I could still hear my insides churning. Making it clear what kind of day this is going to have. But what are you gonna do? Give up hide under the covers all day? I don’t know, I tried that shit and it didn’t get me very far. I also tried burying my head in work or in denial, but all that ever gave me was the situation I’m currently in.
Listen, packing it all in may sound like a great idea. But take it from me, all it leaves you with is a rotten feeling. That eventually leads you down a dark path where you take out your fear and frustrations out on others. Thank God I had a young family. If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably be six feet under by now. At times when I didn’t feel like moving, I'd eventually have to force myself up and go to work or at least go to the store for my family. You see deep within me there always was a fire. A fire that quietly told me I would be okay, if I tried.
This year has certainly been a test on the psyche of the world. Especially for those that feed from the trough of misinformation. To be honest my only problems with 2020 have been limiting my travel and a lack of toilet paper. I’m already self-isolating, I don’t like people much, and I much rather be alone. I suppose my point is, “Roll with the Flow”. Life is like a leaf on the wind, being carried where it may. You can believe differently, I don’t mind. But just know, life only takes you as far as you take it.
My life has become a reflective ritual. Sitting under what’s left of the backyard shade, I smell the freshly washed clothes on the line. Nearby a neighbor mows their grass, while the kids down the street yell and ride their bikes. Other than that, every so often a car passes by, all the while the migrating birds sing from the tops of the trees. The sun slowly moves, meaning I got to move my chair again. While the fallen leaves on the ground are a not-so-subtle reminder, winters right around the corner.
Each of these things take on ritualistic duty, that helps keep me sane. Years ago, I wouldn’t have taken so much time to notice such things. But the ghost of my past guide me and nurture my senses to look beyond the next moment and to focus on the here and now. I meditate much like my uncle and my father; by stopping, listening, and observing. While on the trails, I watch for deer tracks, pay attention to how the wind moves across the yard, and notice the smells that cross my senses.
But sometimes my focus is broken. The troubles of the day start to weigh heavy, pulling me towards despair and troubles. So I cherish these few moments when all things seem okay. Giving me focus and stability to go through another day. Reflective ritual is more than just a well-worn path for me. It’s a guidebook to the answers I often seek.
Vulnerability melts into the darkness, avoiding light and sound. Leaving your eyes blind to the truth. Leaving your ears mute to the sound. The body says a lot about how you truly feel. The discomforts and pains so often tie directly into the environment in which you live. At the moment I feel discomfort and pain. From the surface, everything should be good. Still there is a gnawing centered deep within my soul.
Persistent headaches and constant sense of dissatisfaction, plague my mind. Rather it’s one thing or twenty, who the hell knows. Certainly not me. I often feel like a canvas that simply wishes to be left alone. Life battles us from three fronts spiritual, physical, and mental. I suppose in a way all three of these are lacking some satisfaction. Laced with my usual tendencies for fear, dread, and longing.
Maybe Dad was right and I should push all these things to the side and just work myself to death. But so much of me is just self-analytical, the result of too many visits to the Community Mental Health Center. But the gist of this is the fog that often plagues us, even after so long on the journey. Wishing to some degree I could turn off the noises I express through art. But these words are but a reflection of what I see and feel around me. A catalog of these difficult times. Where reality and madness exist side by side.
Within my dreams, fear and unrest manifest themselves into palpable realities. Drawing me ever deeper into the storms of worry and dread. Ignoring such things will only lead you down dark unhealthy paths, of self-destruction and pain. After nearly 21 years of recognizing and working to face my self-abuse. I still find myself faced with the unfortunate truth, that these ingrained tendencies never magically go away.
The best option I have found is to face down the fear. Not in a competitive way, but rather by listening, giving the fear a voice. By telling that inner child that it is okay to feel that way. Maybe I live in some alternate reality, where forgiveness begins from within. But for me, no matter how many times I hear someone else offering me away out. It eventually falls away, like autumn leaves in a howling wind.
So I face my truth, I face my shortcomings; and with that in mind I try and make things better. I wish I could wrap my arms around this hurting world. Where fear, hatred, and divisiveness reign supreme. But I cannot, I am just one man. But I can touch that individual next to me and they in turn can do the same. Living your truth is a much stronger testament, than forcing it down someone’s throat.
I finally got a day off from my taxi service, yet here I am wide awake at 5 in the morning. Apparently, I can’t win for losing at this sleeping game. Anyway, I been feeling a little extra tense these last few days. Not so much any situation with myself. But more or less worried about other people and their situations. I mean, you can’t help but feel for the people in your life going through bad things. Being a totally unprofessional therapist, people do seem to take comfort in talking to me. But I often find it hard to shake off the emotions I feel them place upon me. I suppose I skipped that class in Psych 101.
I will admit I have been internalizing some of the shit going on around me. I know some of you may find that hard to believe, but I do. Lately this has been leading me down a path of poor choices in a number of areas. From impulsive buying to poor dietary choices. I suppose it’s just the same old “song and dance”. But it’s a familiar tune we all love to play.
So for now I’ll just lay here, my mind racing and my stomach churning. Because at the moment this is my reality, my confession. But probably just as soon as I turn off the app, I’ll be at rest. Knowing I made my confession to a world that’s just as screwed up as me. Lord knows, I ain’t no superman or a guru high on a hill. I’m just me, listening, confessing my sins, and apparently not impressing anyone. But for the honest person, isn’t that all you ever want to be?
For the last few days, I’ve had me a good case of the mulligrubs. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a real word that can either mean foul mood or uncomfortable stomach. In my case it means both, my belly’s uncomfortable and I’m in a foul mood. But I take these things as they come, right now I got a heating pad on my belly and an ice pack on my head. I am such a pathetic site. But pride left me along with my libido, a long time ago. So I don’t worry about such things anymore, I mean I do carry a diaper bag after all.
Pride is such a funny thing; I suppose it’s not much different than the plumage of a peacock or antlers on a deer. It’s a source of gravitas, a way of standing out from the rest. In my own life I always knew I was witty and observant. But I was also very much aware that I lacked the right plumage. And while I’ve gotten through life fairly well, in the back of my mind there was always that sense never measuring up. A sense that has led me down a path of many destructive behaviors.
But I’m sure none of you know what I’m talking about. I mean you guys driving around in your shiny new F-150’s. And you gals clinging to your last shining moments of youth. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to be judgmental. It’s just that most all of us clang to some attribute that makes us special. I ask that you forgive my mulligrubness, at least for now. The key is to not let the ghosts of doubt, rob you of our comfort. Clear your mind, allow yourself a little forgiveness. Change what you can and be at peace with the rest.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.