Monday, October 07, 2013

INTO THE DARK

Sailing into dangerous waters now, I am, relying on aggressive self-confidence and bluster to navigate the choppy course. It's a good thing I don't know how to swim. A survival skill like that would make me complacent, something I can't afford to be in angry waters.

I need to rely on my own wits now. We are well into October now, the quarter of the year when everything tends to fall apart and muddling through is the best I can do. Then again, maybe I don't have to do it by myself. Not entirely.

Out of the blue today, I heard from a friend who seemed to pluck the thoughts from my head:

RED, he wrote, I don't know where you're at, at the moment, but I feel compelled to reach out. It's October, the days are getting chillier, the daylight hours are getting shorter, and the blues and blahs are upon us.

I may be reading too much into the posts I read on your blogs and FB wall — but I suspect you suffer depression in the same form that I have. This time of year is one of dread, instead of joy, as the leaves turn.

You're a person I respect very much, and I hope you are well.

There have been times in my life that I wished someone would reach out, so I could reach back — and I'm simply sharing with you that there are many in your life who would extend a hand to you, if this is a struggle.

Is it pussy to say that I cried when I read this? If so, I'm a pussy. I cried — at the offer of an extended hand, and at the idea that this person would respect me enough to be honest and open. 'Cause he's kind of a big deal and I'm ... me. A badass, sure, but it's still just me, and this is a guy I put on a pedestal.

We made plans to have lunch this week, went about our separate business for the day. I couldn't get his words out of my mind. 

That I have depression is not a surprise to anyone who knows me, or reads this blog. Overtly and covertly, I have tried to kill myself for years now. It's not a writer thing or a Calliope thing or a stroke thing. It comes from a deep self-loathing that started when I was just a kid, 5 or 6, and I realized I didn't think like the kids and adults in my world. I wanted to be like them. I never was able to pull it off and join their world, or even fake it well enough to get by.

Now I'm an adult (at least chronologically) and I'm done faking it. The hard wiring upstairs is what it is. I wouldn't change it now, even if I could. I am This, a guy who mostly types but sometimes writes, and sometimes when I write I can move the meter and evoke emotion in some people.

The suicide story was well-received and drew a decent number of web hits — good for the Paragraph Factory and good for the people who loved Casey Johnson, and who were brave enough to talk about her loss. A former colleague read the story and commented on my Facebook page: You have the power to grab people's hearts with your writing. That was nice. I refrained from responding: The one heart that counted would disagree. Because that heart, for good or ill, is the one that persists, and inspires all that I write. In some odd and enduring way, it's the reason I'm writing right now.

It all fits, even if it's not fitting or to my liking. A normal person would find a new inspiration, a fresh muse. A normal person would put on a life jacket, at least, or even call off the sailing adventure. But I'm not normal. That's not such a bad thing, is it?

Time to sail.

Maybe I'm a different breed / Maybe I'm not listening / So blame it on my A.D.D. baby.

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