As I round the last few corners now, I am tempted to look over my shoulder from time to time, perhaps to measure the distance I have traveled, or to assure myself that I am at least ahead of the things I have left behind, as they sometimes seem determined to follow my mind, and they can be uncomfortable to share my time with as they invade my peace.
As I pause to look behind me, I lose time, and I lose that time grudgingly, as I have damn little time to piss away like that any more.
One milestone seems to be determined to overtake me, having been a huge image in my shadows, and that was the fact…
…the one that has recently begun to bother me more than the others,- too much, if I was to admit it – and every time I try to face it down, I am backed into a corner, desperately looking for an escape – a way out – from the confrontation with it. It is powerful and seeks to devour my thoughts, my pain, and leave me with nothing… but in truth that would be a blessing, were I to consider it overall.
There have been too many empty sidewalks along the ways I have come, too many with things started, good intentions begun, brave and powerful dreams… all gone now, none ever living too long, most died in a way that was painful and ugly… I have buried too many of them in my time, and I am tired of that.
That, more than anything else, seems to be the millstone that I have been blessed with, having picked it up long ago, when I caved to the pressures of those I lived among – I was foolish then, to dare to believe in myself, to dare to think that I could do something…
That, more than anything else behind me, is one of my familiars, and I have given it more love than I should have, because doing so was something I was used to, comforting, something that, somehow, gave me justification for harboring it and protecting it, instead of pushing it away from me, as I should have done. Like an old pillow, worn and comfortable, I would lay my head down and be able to close my mind to the pain for a while, if I let it hold me suspended for the moment, as I tried to escape what was on the other side of my mind, the other side of my eyelids. For a while I could hide there. It was my closed room, and the world, the real things of sadness and pain, was outside of that.
Oh, I understand all of that now, having thought through it over the years, talked it over with shrinks and others who make it their life to delve into the workings of troubled minds, and the bottom line, it seems, is that I am weak. I have always been weak. I have dreams, or at least I had them… and none of them were ever destined to grow up. Some were even stillborn – a slap in the face of one so eager to prove something, anything. Oh, I wanted so very much to do that – to prove…. What? Hell, I don’t know any more. I do, but I don’t want to think about it, even though I am doing just that at the moment. It’s another part of the great shadow behind me, and it seems that it is nearer to overtaking me now than it has ever been.
Too many piles of rubble where once were grand beginnings, litter the paths I have walked, and I apologize to those who may follow later for the need to sidestep those mounds of defeat, but like the uneven designs of the grain in a piece of fine wood, they are part of the whole of it all, and must be accepted for what they are, where they are. I am unable to go back and straighten them or clear them up now. I am too tired and getting to the point where I don’t really care how I am thought of by those who would stand around and look down upon me, if I am actually to be there at that time. And I am pretty certain that I don’t care about that, either.
I find that I am bouncing around here, this thought, then that one, out of any sense of order, but one thing brings up another, and I enumerate them, rather than lose them, so I enter them as I find them. Perhaps not something of value to a critic, and I am my own worst at that, but sufficient to the end, I suppose. For those who may find fault at my staggering as I enter these tiny electronic bits herein, I apologize, but hope you will understand the overall intent, and the worry I have about time constraints, regardless of the poor workmanship.
There are those who likely think they are right and correct, and in their rushed endeavors to correct my thinking push, and they do not understand that their words or their pushing hurts to such a point that they may not be able to handle the results of their pushing, their well-intentioned (?) efforts, to make me see the errors of my mind, but they have no idea of the way the walls I live within are painted or decorated, the hallways and the stairways may not be what they would imagine, and the doorways are certainly not like any they have ever encountered, but I live with these things the way they are, for a long, very long time. I am able to understand how things are in my mind, but I am slowly finding myself tiring of having to navigate these same paths over and over with no respite, and such is the stuff of being crushed down, over and over and over again, and eventually you are just tired of getting back up only to be pummeled to the ground again.
I do not fight well any more. I am too old and too set in my ways and while I may bristle and feel anger and want to stand, I am also of the opinion that it would not bear fruit or be of any lasting value to do so.
So I just give in. I cave. Give up. Weak? No, just very tired of it all. So long I have at least mentally fought, but that has gained me nothing. I have no dignity left, it was taken from me long ago, and I allowed that. I have no voice – that, too, was removed from me. I have no value in thought or word – no one cares or understands, and I gave up trying to explain myself.
Husband, Father, Son, Brother…. Sadly all end up at the same short end of the stick sometimes, and it’s my turn.
As we used to say in-country as we tossed the body bags onto the floor of the chopper…
Fuckit. It don’t matter anyway.