Social media has ways of reminding us about the anniversaries from our past. The social media gods remind us of what happened on this day, last year and the years before. These are the old posts that make you say, “Oh yeah,” and reminds us of where we were and who we were with.
This can be both a blessing or a curse, depending on the memory or the connections we have to them. Perhaps the memory is a good one. Or, maybe the post on your social feed is a memory of someone you no longer speak with. It is also quite possible that the post could be of a friend that passed away or a family member that doesn’t come around anymore.
I have my share of memories. Some of them are good and some are remnants of an uncomfortable time. Some of my memories remind me of some of my personal and professional mistakes.
I have a memory of me being part of an initiative that was televised on the news. This just came up yesterday. This alone is a good memory. I was part of something big. I was part of something that changed my life. However, the memory from the year before this one is not a good memory at all.
I was sitting in a police precinct around this time a few years back. I was part of an operation designed to help people get off of heroin. My name was showcased on the local news with NBC’s Pat Battle.
Every so often, someone from my past will pop up on my feed. And they’re gone now. They’ve either passed away or went back to an old way of living. It’s sad.
I have been asked about the harder parts of living both drug and alcohol free. Of course, there is the obvious, which has become simple to me now. I don’t drink. I don’t take any mind altering substances. And there are occasions where I think about using but the idea is quickly doused by the reality that this is something I do not do.
I hardly take cold medicine. I have not taken any recreational drugs for any reason. And dig this, no, it wasn’t easy at first. It was a long road before I was comfortable with this life.
I suppose this was hard for me. Except, harder than anything else are the people I knew that never stayed around. The hardest part were the friends that didn’t stay the path, or died. One of my old memories came up with an old poem of mine.
I wrote about a friend…
It’s funny how the news comes up.
It’s strange how the world overlaps
Know what I mean?
Tiny white horses traveled through membrane
Their gentle hooves kicked up the sand
And then moved through the hourglass in your mind.
We used to do this together
We used to use this to disconnect the spine
From the central command station called our mind
and slowly nod,
as if the sand
shut down the machine.
You were all too misunderstood.
Your lies and tragedies
Your pain and your promise
rationalized by marks on your arm
to excuse the actions
and solve the desires of a life, uninspired.
Your committee of better judgment was set aside:
to welcome the temporary fix
to motion the switchman
to detach the signals
ease the mind
and swivel you down into what we called
a beautiful nod.
We used to do this together,
to exchange the tension
into something we like to call . . . .
I know you loved the portholes
and the slow crawl
that dangled life
almost like the drool from your bottom lip
I know you loved the reaction
you loved the feel of something soft,
opposite from gravity,
I know because we used to do this together
But the magic lied to you.
It lied to us both.
The hooves from the white horse
Dug in deep
to satisfy the pin prick in your arm
And now . . .
White horse moved through the membrane
Your final lie
is what led you to your last tragedy.
I heard they found you with the needle in your arm . . .
You left me a message
You said you had something to tell me.
I guess whatever it was will have to wait
because wherever you are now
It’s a place I can’t follow . . .
I think memories like this are hard for me. I think remembering the losses are painful, yet, I suppose they are necessary. Maybe I need them because they remind me of who I am (or was). They remind me of the love I have for my old friends and new friends and of the life I live today because heavy or not, my gravity is no longer a threat to me.
I don’t look back at my past so much anymore. This is not because I have regrets or hard feelings. I don’t look back on my mistakes or the regrets.
I don’t look back at the resentments because the truth is my past was only temporary. So is the present.
Besides, I don’t need a map to my past. I’ve already been there. Instead, give me a map to the future. I might not know where I’m going but at least I won’t go back to where I’ve been.
I’m really sorry I missed your call that time. I know you wanted to ask me something. But I guess I’ll have to wait to find out because where you are now is not someplace I can follow.
Sleep well, my friend…