Answer the Question – The Day I Woke Up

In answer to the question, I will admit that this is a tough one for me to tackle. However, in answer to the question, I believe it is necessary to tell the world what I was thinking and that somehow, I was confused by an internal narrative that misled me to believe that something about me was off or defective.

For some reason, I believed in the labels I had been given. I believed in words like learning disability. I believed in words that coincided with me being a bum, a crook, a junkie or uneducated.
This is what I thought and this is what I believed people would see when looking at me.

For some reason, I subscribed to a belief system that this was me and since this was me and since I saw myself as defective and misled by the poorly chosen labels that were given to me since my youth, I allowed this to define me. I believed that how I saw myself is the same way that everyone saw me.
Why would they see anything differently?

I did not assume anyone looked at me and saw hope or presence. I didn’t assume anyone saw promise or potential. If anything, I grew tired of hearing about “how much potential” I really had.
I was tired of hearing people tell me, “If only you lived up to your potential,” because to me; I saw no potential.
I saw nothing valuable or noteworthy.
Instead, my thinking was a victim of a grand theft of my personal services.

I had resigned to the labels that I was given. I resigned to the ideas that, at best, all I could be was “this,” which was not much.
I can remember people telling me, “What goes around, comes around.”
I was told this is life.
I thought about this in comparison with the cycle of life and in my careful evaluation, I saw myself as part of the underbelly of this cycle. To be clear, I was fine with this. After a while, I accepted this concept and greeted this motto with a bit of violent infamy. I used this as my source of justified vengeance and allowed this to be my speaker with anger.
I surrendered to the idea that this was me at my best. Since this was so than it would be equally so that it’s pointless for me to try or pretend that I could be anything else.

There was a time when all was too pointless.
I saw nothing worthwhile.
I had nothing left.

So, what was I thinking?
I was thinking what’s the point?
Who would care?
What would be the difference anyway?
How do I even matter?
Sure, people would cry (maybe) and some people would hurt.
But this was for the best. Right?
What do I have to offer the world?
What would it matter if I were to disappear . . . or just fade away?

I’m a stain
I’m a mistake
I’m a combination of faults and flaws and failures that exceed my successes by too far.
Why bother trying?

I was thinking to myself that it would just be easier.
The pain could stop.
The world would stop moving and I wouldn’t have to worry anymore.
I wouldn’t have to care about what’s going to happen or what’s coming next.
I can get rid of the impending doom.
The worry can stop.
I can stop the constant angst and be rid of the self-talk, bullshit jargon that goes on in my head.
I can stop that little whisper that’s louder than any scream.
I was thinking that I could drown the thoughts in my head.
With some people, I was thinking that “Fuck’em!” I hope it hurts.
Maybe now they’ll understand the turmoil I felt
And then there were the others who I knew would be sad.
I knew they told me they cared, but at the same time, none of this was helpful. If anything, this was hurtful.
Nothing anyone could say to me would help me feel better. I was a million miles away and unreachable; yet, I was right there in front of anybody.
But still, I could scream out loud and go absolutely crazy and it seemed like nobody could hear me.
Is anybody listening?
Is anybody watching?
I’m drowning in the air I breathe and nobody can see me!

Please, somebody wake me up and tell me this was all a bad dream!

Was I thinking that I was depressed?
I don’t believe I was using words like this.
I thought that I could try as hard as I wanted for something and I might get close to it,
I might get close enough to almost touch it. Almost, as if my fingertips could graze the sides but no.
I would never be able to reach my dreams.

I would laugh, but at the same time I wondered “Why bother?” What happens when the laughter stops or fades away and the pain comes back again?
Why let go of the sadness? Why let go of the pain?
At least I understood the rules of the transaction.

I knew what this life was. Even if this was lifeless, at least this made sense to me.
Talking about this or telling somebody made no sense to me.
At all!

Anything else was foreign to me and therefore, hope?
Hope was dangerous because what if I was hopeful?
What if I was excited?
What if I laughed and played and had fun and then at the end, I came to the crushing revelation that I just looked like a fool?
What if I allow myself to be vulnerable only to be hurt or betrayed and laughed at – like a sucker?

I could never let myself go. I could never let my guard down.
I never knew how to be myself. At the same time, I was too afraid to dare because what would happen if I dared to be me?
What would happen if I showed the world what I thought my beauty was?
Only, I learned that nothing about me was beautiful; that I was ugly; that I was defective, or worse, unwanted. What then?

Yes, I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be welcomed and wanted. I wanted to be rid of the rejection or the worry that somehow something about me was so terribly flawed.
I wanted all of this and more but since this was too far from my reach, I went the other way.
I wanted the light but since my light was fading, I chose the path of the darkest choices.
I chose to die.

Yes, I woke up on a floor in the bathroom of a treatment facility. I had come to the realization that the knot slipped.
I survived myself.
What was I thinking?

What the hell did I just do?

I was partly mad because I had partly considered myself to be a failure.
I was partly terrified that this is who I became.
I was traumatized that once more, I tried to end it.

What was I thinking?
I was thinking that I believed all of my bad press and none of my good press.
I was thinking that I never dared to invest in myself or define the secret of my endurance.

What am I thinking now?
Those mistakes are gone now.

Come on, son.
It’s time to get up.
It’s time to go, be and do.

You can put those weights down.
Those chains from your past will not help you anymore.
No one can hurt you with them.
You did your time and you paid your penance.
So, let’s move on.

Come on, kid.
As long as I am alive.
No one will EVER hurt you again,
I promise.

I suppose the little kid in me is wondering:
“Are you sure? The world seems pretty scary sometimes.”
I get that and I’m scared sometimes too.

But we can get through this.
All of this

Together . . .
Just hold on tight, son
Me and you are gonna make some waves now.

Are you ready?
Let’s go.

This was somewhere around August of 91
I woke up on the ground after a failed attempt
And here I am now
Still alive and here to tell you one thing

I couldn’t have done any of this
(without you!)

2 thoughts on “Answer the Question – The Day I Woke Up

  1. I have been to that point of ultimate despair, where I felt useless to the world, and it would be a better place without me in it. And I came close to acting on it. 36 years later, I’m glad I didn’t go through with it. I’m happy I’m still here, and that you are, too.

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