Sunday, October 23, 2011

F**K It

Ive been pretty lost lately. Not geographically, or emotionally (well, perhaps a little bit emotionally). But it's been the kind of lost where you can't find yourself, and the harder you try to, the more you wind away from yourself until you are pretty much a modern day Hansel, or Gretel, except you don't even get the comfort of finding a candy house. Finding a candy house would be magnificent, regardless of the nasty witch that lives inside. If Hansel and Gretel had been smart, they would have simply ignored the stupid ugly wench and kept eating the gumdrops and Hershey's cookies n cream bars. It's not like she could have caught them, anyways, being blind and all. I was only six years old when I made my way from my room to the kitchen, stole about half a bag of candy that was right behind my blind stepdad, back to my room, and ate most of it; snuck BACK into the kitchen and stole my sister, took her to my room and fed her the rest of the candy. Then I went back AGAIN, returned my sister, and got back to my room before she threw up all over my dad. It's not that hard.

But there are no candy houses readily available in my lost world. Just a lot of pain. Like maybe I see what looks like a house of candy behind a wall of thorns, and I reach through the wall, lacerating my arms, but I can't reach it, and instead of walking through the gate that's TWO FEET away from me, I just keep tangling myself up in that hedge of pain, crying with frustration and screaming with rage at the impossibility of my situation. (Just so I don't sound too stupid, the gate next to me is really small. It's obvious, maybe, from the other direction, and of course I could notice it if I was in a good state of mind, but I've been starving for 6 days and all I can see is this house that could satiate my growling, snapping body. That's what the most intelligent person would do.)

The problem with that situation is that eventually, if I don't stop SCREAMING, and just shut up and think, then I'll just try harder and harder, shred myself to pieces and all the while the candy house just fades from view until all I have is a dripping pile of bloody me and a really hopeless situation. I know, because I have actually gotten to that point. And if I would just quiet down and quit trying so hard to get to what I want, I might be reminded of the ultimate time I played this game.

I had spent the summer in Nashville, having a brilliant time. Every day was sun and music. Every Sunday morning, I would stand in this huge choir of people who lost themselves in the brilliance of the lyrics, and I believed that I could actually make this my permanent life. I was convinced that the painful past I was running from had disappeared in the whirl of activity that consumed me. Then I got mono, and my mom came for a visit, and what should have been a good thing turned out to be reality rearing it's hideously ugly head.

And I remember the day when I was beginning to regain an appetite. The caretaker of the house where I was staying had brought me a slice of banana bread. My favorite food in the world. I ate it, ALL of it, and realized I was still hungry. So I went in the kitchen and cut another slice, and the housekeeper found me in there. She launched into a tirade about how I had been sneaking food from the kitchen, and had I not been sick the whole time? and was I simply taking advantage of the kindness of the family who was pouring time and resources into me? And suddenly I just had enough. I couldn't take it anymore. So I lay on the bed, curled up, with my snow cap pulled over my eyes. I froze that way so everyone thought I was sleeping, and when they dispersed to their rooms to sleep, I left the house. I sat in a ball in a pile of snow and just shivered and moaned. I was in that pile of snow for about 3 hours before I walked to a house of some friends and found a spare bed. They didn't even discover I was in the house for about three days, because I just lay there and ceased to exist. And that was the awesome start of my demise.

When I was discovered, the lady of the house stepped in to help. She was a counselor, so she had the certification to be the best support. She asked me about my family. And I just told her whatever I could to get her off my back. I had quit caring at that point. My meaningless confessions included enough truth to express a little of the pain I was feeling, and enough lies to protect me from her prying questions. And then I discovered the power of painkillers, and one night I took a fantastic dose to knock me out of my misery. That night went very slowly. I remember sitting at the computer, trying to look at the screen, but my head wouldn't stay upright no matter how hard I tried. It would roll off to the side. I propped it up on my hand, barely finished checking my mail, and got up to go to bed. Instantly my body swayed and I leaned heavily against a pillar to hold myself upright. I lowered myself to the floor, crawled into bed, and concentrated on drawing shallow breaths into my body and holding in the oxygen.

At that point, I suddenly realized that I didn't value a single thing in my life. The meaningless charades just weren't doing it for me, and I didn't even care. I thought back to everything I'd been trying to achieve my whole life. None of it made sense. Why did I have such meaningless priorities? I groaned in disbelief as I discovered how very little worth I had accomplished. I might as well not have existed at all, ever. At that lowest point in my life, I fell asleep not caring what would come of me through the night, or the next morning.

And that careless attitude stayed with me for a long time. It lasted through my trip home. I still had it when I recklessly held a weapon and threatened my sister with it. It was there when my step dad put his hands on me, and for the first time in my life, I shoved him backwards into a wall and screamed at him until my voice was hoarse. And it kept me from feeling absolute abandon when I ended up at my mom's best friend's house, because I couldn't go home. I just didn't care.

And that's the state I was in when I sat down in a park one day, and outlined a paper for my English class. Sidetracked, I began to write down all the goals, priorities, and plans I had for my life up until that moment. I noted with a little chagrin that there was very little real worth to any of it, and almost all of what I lived for was not really what I wanted. Suddenly I realized that I didn't give a fuck what people thought of me, not anymore, and that I actually couldn't really fix the pain inside, because it was the pain of being alive. I guess I could have solved that, by not being alive, but suicide never really was my thing. So this realization of not caring anymore became a fixed space inside me, and it became my freedom.

There's a book called 'F**k it: the ultimate spiritual way' that describes almost exactly how I felt at that time. The freedom of not caring opened a whole new life to me. I studied a great lot of philosophy in that year, and spent a good deal of time with my English Professor, a man who honestly had next to no attachments and seemed to be very content. From him, I learned that nature is a huge part of me, and spending time in it should be one of very few things that I attached myself to, because nature is everywhere. You can't go anywhere that doesn't have an outside. And even in the city, you can find a patch of grass to lay in and stare and the stars for hours. Nature is one of the most valuable things that humans possess, and it brings about a calming sense of being.

I also learned that all my issues were really pointless. The funny thing about life is that it happens all by itself, and very little of what we do really controls situations. I would spend endless hours worrying about my relationship with my family, and how I responded in situations, and whether I could save up more money, and how to please God. All that resulted in was an obsessive attitude that caused a great deal of stress. Mr. H urged me to take one week and just watch everything happen. Just live, and not control. I doubted him but took him up on it; a week later, I was in his office with a surprised and relaxed smile. All week, life had just happened, and I was none the worse for it. Things were just fine, I wasn't dead, and in fact I was feeling better about life than I had...ever.

The simplicity of that situation is still really hard for me. I learned a lot that year, and most of it has become second nature to me. I sailed through boot camp and all it's tortures, because I just let it happen. I was excited and impulsive through my relationship with Aaron, and I both embraced it, and released it with very little distress. People judged me when my best friend died, because I seemed to be a little callous about it. In reality, I was deeply saddened by the fact that I could no longer spend time with him, I cried about his untimely exit, and then after a short time I let it go and realized that he would have wanted me to keep being happy in life and think of him with happiness, not sadness. He always made me laugh, and so I started laughing in honor of him.

Back to the present. I'm beginning to understand that balance and acceptance and release aren't second nature to me; I still am susceptible to clinginess and overreacting and trying to control situations. But nothing good comes from it. I'm hoping that at least I can realize when I'm letting that nature control me, and that I can take the steps I know I need to let it go. Instead of looking to friends and relationships and things outside me for the answer, I know I need to look inside and let everything go. Noticing the attachments I've made and releasing them. Because the funny thing is that when I attach to something, I inevitably lose it until I release it. It sounds really weird, but by simply not caring, something allows for the flow of balance to ease into a rhythm that makes perfect sense. Not caring doesn't mean loving less; there's a difference between a clingy romanticism, and a presence of solitude that is able to co-exist beautifully with those around it.

So when I realized what was going on, I was able to follow Mr. H's advice once again. I didn't smash my phone, like he always advised, but I did take the battery and put it in my car, and put the empty phone upstairs in my barracks, where it will stay until I'm no longer feeling the urge to text people. I shut down my social networks. I threw away my medications, the ones that block my colors causing me to be unable to relate to people or know what they are really feeling. And then I went into relaxation mode. For me, relaxing is massages and singing, and writing music, and writing poems, and writing about everything, and just sitting outside and staring at my colors, and concentrating on my breathing. Breathing in life, and energy, and exhaling toxins and stress.

And that's where I'm at right now. Tomorrow I'm going to go into work. I'm going to share my value with the world, and the world will appreciate and return the favor by giving me something of value to me. I'm going to take advantage of my free, albeit somewhat sad health care, and I'm going to enjoy the weather that comes in autumn in Florida, the #1 vacation destination in the states. And have fun with the fact that I'm getting paid to sit and read a book. And I'm going to not give a fuck about anyone, or anything, that I have worried over. They will cease to matter, and then I think I'll enjoy them a lot more. If they just cease to be completely, well fuck it. They didn't need to be there anyway. And I'll enjoy the time that I have here.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of letting go. It's something I'm learning to do, as well. Christianity taught me to obsess. Time for me to get past that.

I've missed reading your musings. It sounds as though you've had a fairly rough time this year (understatement much?), so I am extra glad you are still around to share your thoughts with a stranger like me.

Be well.