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.
In honor of awareness week, I thought I would spend a little time to write my thoughts about prevention and personal maintenance. To be clear, I don’t know if awareness week is only an American thing. Maybe it is. But I do know that worldwide, someone dies from suicide every 40 seconds. And by the way, I get it. Nobody wants to read about this. Nobody wants to think about this, let alone talk about this or be open about the subject. So, I’ll understand why this thought goes unread. However, as someone who lived with depression throughout my entire life, it is important to me that I go forward.
There was an interview with a famous performer who explained how they gave up their worldly possessions so they could find themselves. As I heard this, I thought to myself, “Man, — that’s rich.”
It is somewhere past 5:00am in this part of purgatory. The previous storm has left its mark on the residents around town. There are cars stranded after the floods. There are homes that are wrecked from the winds and some that were torn apart from the tornado, which is rare in these parts. There is tension in the air, and all the while; in reality, this is just another day in the life on Project Earth.
There are a million things that we want to do right now, and yet, maybe there’s nothing. Maybe there’s nothing else to do but sit and do nothing. Either way, there are also a million thoughts and ideas in our head. There are thoughts and feelings and emotions. We all have this. Believe me, this is all true. It is simple, and yet, the way we think and the way we feel can be complicated sometimes. We consciously try to consider the options. We figure the math and we do the numbers but we miscalculate the unknown figures to be bigger than they are. We add too much. Yet, there is this entire world around us. And it doesn’t look the same to anyone else. All we know is all we see. I know what I see.
I know what the sunrise looks like. I know what the sky looks like when the dawn takes shape. I’ve watched as the sky shows its first light. I know what it feels like to have a cool breeze hit my face when I walk outside in the morning. I know what it’s like to see things and be fooled by comparisons.
I suppose what happens is we grow tired of waiting for change. Perhaps this is why we remain the same. Maybe this is where the internal conflict begins. Maybe? Who knows?
Maybe I just wanted to feel something. Maybe I wanted to find something that could speak for me without even saying a word. Or, maybe none of this was so deep or difficult. Maybe I just wanted to feel something good and that’s all there was to it. Perhaps there was nowhere else to go at the time. Aside from where we’ve been, there was no place else to go. For example, maybe this is why our view is limited. Maybe we only know what we see and therefore, all we know is what we’ve experienced. Or, maybe I was blind or missing something. Or again, maybe none of this was so deep or systematic.
I was listening to a Mother talk about her child. She was talking about the people who were involved with his program and how they let her son down. We talked for a while. We spoke about the needs of kids that face trouble or live through challenges. We talked about arrests and the bad behavior. Or, more accurately, we talked about the symptoms over the problems and the reasons behind the behavior.
I have been to town hall meetings where parents argued with teachers. I listened to the blaming that went back and forth and yet, I never heard anyone say, “Hey wait, what am I missing here?” or, “What can I do to help make things different?” There was only one time that I can think of where a Mom stood up and asked what she could do to improve things in her own home. Aside from this, I never heard anyone else mention their own role nor was anyone interested in talking about what they could do at home. Instead, I saw angry parents pointing fingers. I listened to teachers and administrators defend their positions. I heard law enforcement defend their positions while parents spoke, accusing them of not doing their job. I witnessed parents speak from the crowd as if they were to grandstand before an audience and impress everyone with their brilliant responses. By the way, none of this was productive.
I try not to entertain the old thoughts. I don’t give them much room nor do I welcome the old dreams, but yet, they still come. I have them. The drug dreams, which haunt me sometimes.
This is why I never tell war stories. This is why I never glorify the old life because first, that person wasn’t really me and second, there is no reason to glamorize or glorify a lifestyle that does nothing except destroy.
The name of the town was Deposit. I remember the name well because to me, the name was almost repulsive. Who the hell would ever want to live in a town called Deposit?
I never heard of this place before. Then again, I never heard about most of the towns in this area. There were like tiny little compartments of different places that were left behind in a time warp. I saw them as little mountain towns, like something from a Norman Rockwell painting with farms and barns and fields with cows.
The fashions up there were different to me, which is not to say that I was fashionable by any means. But still, everything about the little towns seemed behind.
Besides, I was used to New York City and the Five Boroughs. I was brought up in a crazy Long Island town but at least there was action. At least I was close to what I thought was the pulse of life. I went from this to institutional life. Then I eventually moved to farm life for a long-term stay.
I am four days and a wake-up away from something I call my anniversary. And as for this or to those who don’t know, I am four days away from acknowledging a specific date. I am 30 years away from a night that nearly killed me as well as possibly someone else. I am 30 years away from my last binge and 30 years away from a night of breaking in through the windows of a few suburban homes.
I say four days and a wake-up for a reason. I say it this way because of the roll call I had to answer for. I had to answer for this, each morning at a facility in a place up at a town called Kerhonkson, New York.
Little kids . . .
Bless them. Bless their little lives and their little smiles. Let them run. Let them play. Bless their thoughtful little lives and bless their lessons to take turns and share. Learn from them. Don’t scold them. Don’t change them either. Let them be this way, young and innocent. Beautiful as ever.
Let them laugh. Let them pretend. Let them dream because a day will come when pretending and playing is frowned upon. Playtime will be over before they know it. And yet, they don’t even know it. Time moves very quickly. So, let them be as they are because a time will come and their childhood will be over. And that’s it. It’s adult time. So again, I say bless them. Bless them for exactly what they are, just kids.