By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written to you but I think now is the best time to reach out. Three people, two suicides, one overdose and all within two days time.
By now, I’m sure you’re tired of the news, but yet, you and I are not surprised about this. We only come at this from different angles. You and I are on different sides of the table, but yet, at least we can see each other.
There are some unavoidable facts in this world. One of them is you can’t turn the page until the story is over. You can’t move until it’s your turn. Am I right? Isn’t it like what they say? The only way to it is through it. But sometimes, the only way through it is to struggle — so you do what you can. You try to put the pins away but the marks in your veins hold secrets that keep the sickness alive and well. You pull yourself together with whatever you can and say, “Once more into the breach dear friends!” which means once more in the war. You make your way through the casualties and you do what you can to stay alive. But man, whether it’s the forest from the trees or a light at the end of the tunnel—when you’re in it, you’re in it. You can’t see anything. All you can do is endure.
All you can do is breathe.
And sometimes, all we can do is grab something to hold on to—or more personally, all I can do is try and hold on to whatever I can find. I have to do this sometimes to keep myself from flying off the Earth.
This is the ride.
This is the unexpected storm that crept in with one tiny raindrop and turned into a deluge and fell from the sky.
This is the attack. The panic. The thing in us.
This is it.
(Am I right?)
There are times when all I can do is take the blows and cover up; and yet, there are times like now; the storm is gone and the clouds seem to disappear. There are times like now when I can see clearly. I can smell the air. I can taste the wind and feel the upcoming sun as it begins to warm my face.
I know about the pain you’ve spoken of. I know about the discomfort of awkwardness and the frustration of feeling exposed and naked. Or better yet, how about exploited and humiliated?
I know about the feeling that makes you clench every muscle in your body; and I know why you do this too. You squeeze and you clench; you tighten up. You grind your teeth as if the clenching could somehow squeeze away the bouts in your mind. You do this as if the clenching of every muscle could tense up every nerve and squash the ideas in your head. You want to squash the thoughts. You want to stop the emotions but more than anything, you squeeze because you want to purge the memories from your mind.
(I used to do this all the time. I would often hear the sound of breaking glass; as if a rock went through a plate glass window. I’d see things in my mind. Violent things. Horrible things. And yes, frightening things as well. So I’d squeeze myself harder to try and crush them out.)
It would be nice to push a button. It would be nice to flip a switch. It would be nice to take a breath without the ongoing thoughts; but more, it would be nice if the soldiers in our mind would stop carrying us into battles that no longer exist. It would be nice to drop the ax and cut free from the thoughts that linger, like unwanted guests who refuse to leave us alone.
They call this anxiety. I call this the great black hole. I call this despair. I call this the thing that separates us from sanity. I call this the inner turmoil and the irrational thoughts that lead us away from victory and keep us in defeat.
“You can’t say that.”
“Why do you have to write this?”
“Why do you have to talk about it all the time?”
And I agree.
“Nobody wants to read about this shit!”
I agree with you. But this isn’t for “Nobody.”
This is for you.
Do you know what else this is?
This is a voice.
This is a voice for an otherwise speechless commonality that somehow punishes the soul and renders us useless.
I don’t know about you, but me—
I will never be useless.
If it is up to me then it is up to me.
If it is up to me then I will step forward, even when my fears tell me not to.
If it is up to me then I will speak, even when my fears tell me to be quiet.
If it is up to me then it is up to me and thus; I will speak and I will show up; I will hold on for as long as I can. I will talk and I will ask questions. I will not go down.
I will not rest this need of mine to find myself in the warmth of the sun under a clear blue sky.
Stormless and free.
Because if it is up to me to be free then I will be free because I chose to free myself.
And I do.
I’ve heard you talk about the upcoming storms. I’ve heard you talk from the middle of the forest, lost and dark, and I am not saying the path is easy. I am only saying the path is necessary.
You can do this. I know you can.
You might not be able to see me.
So, in the meantime, I’ll just keep talking so you can hear me.
The louder I get, the closer you are. And to be clear; you’re getting warmer, Sunshine.
In fact, you’re burning up because I’m right here.
And I always will be.
So come, let’s get through this maze together.
This way, neither of us will ever be alone again.