Not Waving but Drowning

May 2, 2013 at 2:20 am (Partly Truth and Partly Fiction, Question: Are you where you thought you would be in life?, Question: We live the lives we choose, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.


Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.


Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


-Stevie Smith

I close my eyes and try and remember the day I committed suicide. What was once fresh and easily distinguishable has blurred to another random sentence in the book that is my life. How can one person be both the victim and victimizer? How tight are the bonds that hold humanity together? For my simple act made me the aggressor towards others who deemed my life forfeit for their own comfort.

Though there are as my types and reasons for suicide as there are the multitudes on the earth. This but the silent majority, the ones that shock us when their story ends in ash, have a narrative that is as tragic in its ending as it is in its typicality.

Many years ago, before consciousness, something must have happened, something must have been done, or said. Maybe it was you, maybe your parents, or maybe even the world. But with such lessons, at such age, there is no recovery. Failed lessons become reinforced; and way leads onto way. Without realization you are forever marked. You are so young when you realize that something is wrong; that something is not functioning right within your body. You move forward unable to share this feeling with others because you can barely describe it yourself. By the time you are able to recognize that the buzzing noise that relentlessly drowns out every other feeling is pain, pain that threatens to drown you, it is too late. You immediately look up and out to all of those who pass by daily. For so long you just assumed it was natural, that it was normal to feel this way. Its when you choose to look for it in others that you become scared. All of the other children look back absent of the pain you wish you could share; and you just can’t understand why they do not feel the way you do. Their happiness seems to span the constant tic-tic-tic of the clock, and yours is only for the moment, lost as soon as it is found. How is this possible, what could possibly be wrong with you.

Deep unsettling despair descends upon you, and now instead of being suffocated you are drowning. Looking around you see no one else struggling and you go out of your way to hide it. And every night you pray to your gods and family that it will end tomorrow, that tomorrow will be the day that you wake up and your body works correctly; to be like everyone else. It is these early years that you dream of being normal, that you dream of being like those who seem to have it so easy. This is before the scarring, this is while you are still teaching yourself how to be strong in the face of all that is clearly wrong. Each night you convince yourself that it will be better. You can only lie to yourself for so long and then it changes, you convince yourself each night that you are strong enough to endure. Yes, right here is where the world fails to take notice. It is this moment, this change, that the outside worlds of influence, leadership, love and concern cease to be the defining factors in you life. Self motivation prevails, and with this self induced strength comes a pride. Though the pain only deepens, and the waters pull you under with more strength, you now accept it as a part of who you are, for as much as you want it to be different you demand the pain as a part of your very identity.

Somewhere in this struggle you will attempt to match the outside world with the one on the inside. Most will hurt themselves in a futile attempt to make what is felt rational. If I am hurt, then I should feel pain; but, the pain will stay and the hurt will go away. This mantra will be repeated again and again with similar ends. They will cut at themselves for the momentary relief, and the scars left will only serve to remind them of how much it still hurts. Others will commit to their most base objectives in an effort to relieve this pain even for a moment. Sexually, artistically, athletically, all will find something that will take the pain away for just a breath, and they will fight harder and harder to have it taken away time and time again. This internal motivation allows them to achieve so much, yet they can enjoy almost none of it. They are lost among the success and failures with no concept of how to determine right from wrong as their souls feel only torment. Every night, going to bed, fighting against the urge to make the pain go away. For now they know that it will never leave them. If they are lucky, the pain is shed, gone, like a frustrating cold that just up and disappears one day. But, for the rest, it never leaves. They deaden themselves towards the rest of the world and step boldly forward, knowing only defeat in the arms of victories.

These mortals are little swayed by encouragement or retort at this point in their lives. They have survived so much more than any of us could imagine, and are not afraid to balance that against your tiny words, your lifeless hugs. Neither then should you make the mistake as to believe that you can encourage them to this end. No amount of conversation, or lack thereof, will push or pull these individuals to their desired ends. You can only at this point set the stage for the final execution of a lifelong dream. These men and women who have done great things end up leaving this earth in a heart shattering event that leaves them condemned by their religions, stripped of their accomplishments by their peers, and a forever sense of shamed by their own blood. In what world do you think you have the ability to change what they know to be true when they decide that they have had enough. In what world do you think your condemnation, or threats of striping away their institutional awards, will change their choice that night as they sit alone.

At what point does their suffering outweigh our perceived obligations that they owe to the living? A selfish act you call it, I ask you why? Is it in consideration for others? What amount of pain must I endure before I can let loose those bonds of humanity. Why must they owe us such?

Know that not all men are created equally, nor are all daemons faced the same. The stories of childhood were never written to let us know that dragons lived, but rather to give us the hope that we can slay these beasts of our minds. As we award medals to those whom have served faithfully, and then demand their return when they take their life, are we not the damned. I ask no man to live his life for the sake of mine, I will not live my life for the sake of another; and therefore will not condemn a man that knows his own damnation. He wears those scars openly for us to bear witness to and leaves a shattering quake behind him as he lays open a truth that we are still afraid of what we do not understand. I do not condone the choice of suicide, but I will stand tall and honor the man that lived his life to the end of his choosing.

Rest in peace; Captain Fallensbee and all those like him who have met his fate. To name a few others that were living success for us while paying a price we could not understand and they could not bear; Ludwig Bolzmann, Admiral Jeremy Boorda, CSM Lewis, Sam Gillespie, Ernest Hemingway, Megan Meier, Sylvia Plath, Roy Raymond, Hunter S.Thompson… and the untold masses that have impacted our lives at the sake of their own.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Mental Reservations

March 28, 2010 at 12:21 am (Question: We live the lives we choose)

We live our lives within our own self-perceived expectations. As a child, we have to be constantly reminded that we can surpass our limits. We are told to study more, achieve more, we are even lied to, in order to help create a broader scope for our definition of our own capabilities. As athletes, we are hounded by coaches to move faster, hit harder, to be better than what we assume we can be. As if all around us are people trying to force you to push past expectations, to grow. As we enter adult hood hopefully we have successfully broken through our assumptions about our capabilities. That the latitude of our reach is wide enough that it does not hinder our goals and desires; that we may be successful. For the most part it usually is, and we all move forward towards goals that are within our grasp, with a healthy understanding of who and what we are. Those who have failed to expand their minds find themselves in crowded hotel conference rooms listing to speeches of how to be successful, how to be more like someone else, or ‘how to’ any numerous other self-achievable dreams locked behind the walls of our own creation.

The utter acceptance of these truths and facts about the power of the mind is demonstrated by those that should not need any reminders of this concept. Yet, Olympic athletes read mental preparation books, and receive classes and coaching on how to prepare the mind. CEO’s that are exceptional by all metrics will try to come up with seminars to force ‘out side the box’ type thinking. This is in direct understanding that our limits are clearly self-defined and that we must work hard each day to push past our perceived capabilities. The US Military holds the corner on the market of mental based limitations, their toughest schools are less about the tactics and skills and more about the ability to teach the soldier that they are capable of so much more than they ever would have believed. They push the body of the individual well past what we would assume to be the breaking point. In the end it is those that learn this lesson and take it to heart that graduate these courses and become the elite of the American Military.

So often are these truths manifested unevenly within some of the most capable and soon to be successful among us. That though their limits have been thoroughly tested and they have the confidence to stretch their horizons and grasp at stars, they have failed to link that the very nature of their confidence is as simple as belief. Though many never need this reminder but the truth of the matter is that the power of our mental projections is able to and will shape our daily lives. And, that each and everyone of us lives out these hidden insecurities and failures on our sleeves in the design of the life that we box ourselves into. A simple case in point is the stunningly attractive Foreign Service woman who on a whim could ace Law School, or MIT Engineering, she can move in circles around some of the more impressive crowds in DC, yet in consideration of her personal life, she feels as if she is the worlds greatest ‘friends-with-benefits.’ Why is this different, where is the disconnect. How is such confidence replaced by such a sense of being a victim. In one aspect of her life she is the one with an aura of power and righteousness; yet in the other (separated by a change of clothes and a hot shower) she is the victim. A series of, ‘I don’t knows,’ and ‘it never seems to work out,’ or ‘they have always only liked me for this, or that reason,’ is all we hear from them. Needless to say she is not alone, Kim, being a man of strikingly similar qualities, has found himself surrounded by mostly (not all) people that he would never be able to have a serious relationship with, and continually seeks out those who he could never love. Yet, from nine to five, men of quality and character hang on the words that he speaks, and he commands the respect of those that move mountains, he holds millions of dollars and the lives of Americas youth in his hands. How does this happen.

I look out upon the world as it moves silently by in thought. A meditation of paper and pen, interrupted by a phone call here and there. Discussing a set of personal issues with a woman moving to the American Consulate in Hong Kong, I told her that we each live out the lives that we choose to have. I even quoted Ayn Rand (her name alone on this blog will give me hundreds of hits) that we sleep with those who remind us of how we view ourselves, and fall in love with those that we view hold tight to our hopes and ideals of what we believe is perfection. Hopefully we spend our lives sleeping with only those we think we could love, though this is not the case. For those out there that the separation of the two are so great that it gives you pause to how you view yourself, well take it to heart. The cheaper that we hold our own worth the cheaper we are willing to sell our time or body.

Where is the disconnect, obviously our parents pushed us to get better grades, and our coaches pushed us to perform faster, but who among us have been told that we shouldn’t hang out with those kids, or we should pick better friends. Well most of us, probably have heard that, yet, for some reason in the pursuit of other goals we have forgotten those lessons or never learned that we are deserving of better friends, relationships, or just in general, lives. This brings us to the crowds of people packed into the same small hotel conference rooms or churches listening to the glimmer of what we deserve. This late in life pick-me-up to try and convince us that we deserve more, or better. As I told my friend on the phone, fuck that, you are deserving of what you allow. Choice is the key to this scenario, and it is what the priests and self help books tell you, choose to be different, be different, then you are different. Why should we live lives of quiet desperation, Throuea in his infinite wisdom told us what we are doing, then showed us what we should. He did this in the deliberate attempt to live life to the fullest, to take the time to change what he wanted and to grow in a way that he desired.

An additional reminder to how easy it is to affect the tenuous balance of our own psyche, another friend of mine changed how she described all of her tasks for the day to play/played whatever. So “I played house today… I played for ten hours at work today….” A simple statement was able to measurably change the perception of her actions that it was repeated by a myriad of friends around the country. Careful, this is the warning label, these changes in diction will not actually solve any problems nor change reality, though maybe, just a little, the perception. We hold so many mental reservations for change, mostly because change is where the pain is, it is where the loneliness sets in and the insecurities that we clutch to tightly must be put down just for a moment. On the other side is a whole new set of friends, a whole new outlook on life, a whole new whatever portion of you that you are trying rectify or straighten. Yet we choose to do what is slightly easier, slightly less painful, to date another girl that doesn’t have chance, to allow your relationships to be purely physical, or to never leave your home. Though this passage is in strict reference to those that are already successful in other areas, there are truths that can be held for everyone who reads this. I have spent numerous hours and megabits of storage on entries that describe a sense of confusion, of frustration, yet I knew the truth, it was buried in the pages and scripts, that the choice in the end was mine. That the happiness, the relationships, the successes are all a manifestation of me fighting against my own mental reservations to reach out and grasp a hold of what I want. Gandhi claimed that we should be the change that we wish to see in the world. He said this as an adaptation to lesson that he once shared with me, that we should live the lives that we want by acting out the change we wish to see.

I wake up in the morning and I will ask, as should you, what type of day will I create for myself.

Permalink 1 Comment