Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

Something in here for everyone, I think. Flashback from an earlier day!


The Saga Continues

“And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

My, oh my.
I don’t know where to start with this one nor the slightest idea where this dance will lead.

A series of unexpected twists in this already riddled plot ended up with the separation of me and my significant other several weeks back. My gas and electric somehow still functioning, despite the shutoff date expiring days ago; I haven’t informed the respective companies of this. The rent, already several months behind, has no chance of being paid. My glass house is finally having its final rock thrown at it; my retreat from the outside world soon to be something dramatically different.

Staying in a homeless shelter is simply not an option; the mere writing of that sentence brought a lump in my throat.
The waiting lists for housing are at least a year; even then, some form of income is required monthly. Income I simply cannot provide. I must stay in this area until social security makes a decision on disability, as they are paying for a second doctor to poke around my unstable skull.

I’m terrified and excited.

Walks, becoming increasingly more frequent and longer of distances, have led me to places I never knew.
Sights, I have never seen.
Serenity, within the embrace of the forest, though always fleeting; the next piece of civilization inevitably reveals its sneering presence.

I’ve discovered the flaws in the fabric of society. I see through the carefully-concealed veneer that has shaped our culture, shoving its repulsive lies into a near-microscopic web that only the most prying of eyes will see. Cold slabs of high-rise lit up against artificial light. Consumerisms sucking our resources dry all to gain more money, more things, and more power. I’m just as guilty as the next with my love for luxuries (food, shelter, electricity, heat, and internet), so hypocritical of me. Ultimately, my panic comes from stepping out into the “real world” because I see beneath the lies. I see the hatred. I feel the pain. I shrink away because I know.

I don’t belong here.

I have a meeting tomorrow with the chairmen and chairwomen of a local organization. 8 people to prod my panic, ask the questions I dread to think of, pry me open with their stabbing eyes. They will determine my future; people who I have never met. Less than 12 hours from now, my dear readers, hands not of my own will determine my fate.

I pray the room is big.

The terror is already mounting with every word I type, so I don’t anticipate myself in a very good state for this monumental event.

Plan B?
This is where it gets interesting.

Some time back, I acquired a survival guide book as a gift from my then-significant other. A separate person, my longest friend whom I have known for decades, gave me a blade used for clearing brush and cutting small branches, a small emergency booklet also enclosed. Yet another gave me a checklist used for surviving in the wilderness. All of these things happened in the course of less than a year, yet far enough apart for me not to connect the dots immediately, until my walks.

I know where I’m home. The knowledge of that terrifies me; what am I to become? How can I bring another into a lifestyle that I’m not even certain of myself? I know I want seclusion, but how?

Money, the same thing that fuels the entire problem that has shaped my broken reality, is a needed thing to accomplish what I truly want. Seclusion without fear; A place to call my own far away from the meddling intrusions of those I distrust, those that make my heart race marathons. Something I can build with my own two hands on a plot of land amongst the trees. Money that simply isn’t available.

After much research and printing, plan B (while certainly not ideal in this climate in this time of year) is surviving in the wilderness indefinitely. The further I walk only reinforces my need for seclusion, save a select few; those who are true souls. The thought of this brings me peace knowing I’ll be where I belong, and terror being thrown into a raging river with only one paddle on a shoddy boat.

This “disease” I have, merely is going to end up returning me to my roots, one way or another. Though I wish the waters weren’t so turbulent along the way, I must learn to swim with the current.

More to come as the dance continues.

It Just Is.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared dreaming before.”
– Edgar Allen Poe

I’ve gone all week with so little sleep I’m not certain this will make sense; not that any of it does anyhow.

“A break-through of ‘cognitive dissonance'”, the counselor informs me. As if that brings me any comfort. My fingertips blood red from the constant wringing of my hands; the remainder of the flesh devoid of color. The pain of doing so, while a necessary distraction, still demonstrates how very different the worlds are that he and I live in. The minutes eternally pass by until I can retreat to what I know, back to my world inside a box. “It isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it just is”, his parting words still ringing in my ears even now.

I just want to run. To allow the wind to carry me to some other-worldly place where I’m not dysfunctional, to dwell among the smiling, laughing faces and not feel life being squeezed out of me.

“It just is”. Let’s break that down.

The only time I feel any sort of comfort anymore outside these four walls is in the wild. Trees that whisper soothing words that the wind gently carries. A brook calmly bubbling in earshot; songs of birds sweetly permeating the air.

Hope, something I’ve always held close. Hope that someday, someday I WILL get better. Surely this job is the one I’ve been seeking, maybe this coffee shop is the place I can rest my feet, perhaps this city park will bring me joy. Hope. Hope that I no longer have.

Coming to grips with the monster that resides underneath the strained smiles and confidence, the non-me exterior that I have tried (and miserably failed so many times) to hold onto. To show to others I’m just as “normal” as they are. A disaster waiting; only a matter of time before this exterior crumbles and I resort back to solitude. Unanswered calls, texts never looked at, emails deleted.

Distractions, ever present. The alternative? Looking inward. An ongoing malfunction that only exponentially grows with the ticking of the clock that is life.

So I run. Backpack on, shoes tied tightly, the sun long since set; all check. A now-familiar stretch of road, slick and black with rain, stretches out eternally. Umbrella gripped with whitened knuckles until I blessedly can no longer see the synthetic brightness of a streetlamp; the blinding exchange of a car lighting up the otherwise calm darkness. Here, here I can breathe. No one around for the facade to show its charming, ugly self.

Increasingly desperate rain penetrating the bottom half of my body; meaningless, save the additional noise of the squish with each passing step. Hours go by, my body starts protesting; I ignore it and press on, towards my (always) unknown destination.

Answers, those bloody fucking answers to the most important questions I have, hang dangling like a carrot on a stick. My feeble attempts to grab at it continuously brings only further frustration.

What is my purpose? Clearly, I’m not meant for society; consumerism, commercialism, hatred fueled on by the collective desire for greed and power. Am I to be a wanderer? A hermit living off the land? Or just continue to rot, displeased with my (lack of) accomplishments?

Where does this leave me? Dependent on a government I hate, suffocated by any outside interaction; a gnawing (and growing) distaste for not being “normal”. While the Valium I gladly accept to stop the eternal search for impossible answers in my head, they do little to improve my overall mental state. Instead of a whirlwind of what-ifs, I now face the beast head on. It’s no longer a matter of what if.

It just is.

Returning after many traveled miles (I must beat the morning traffic back home, after all), I see the familiar sickening glow of civilization becoming increasingly brighter with every passing squish of my shoes. As I shuffle past that first god-forsaken streetlight, I feel the familiar panic start to set in, quickly followed by a new emotion: revulsion.

Distrust, pain, anguish, self-loathing and contempt keep me from leading a “normal” life. I’m finally facing the fact I am who I am. It’s becoming increasing harder to keep the bile of that fact from spewing out of my frothing mouth.

Life. Living. Enjoyment. Satisfaction. I need to rediscover those again, rethink the puzzle that has no clear solution.

How do I just let go? How do I learn to love that which I’ve hated the entirety of my short existence? Will I ever break the stick and get the carrot?

I continue to run…. after all, it just is.