survival

Lingering Thoughts From PTSD

05/19/2005

I have had writer’s block for about a year now. I can’t write because I can no longer be honest with myself. I always made it a point to be brutally honest to myself and those around me. I didn’t want to be disillusioned. I wanted to face reality. I wanted to have a clear understanding of the events that got me to where I was. Somewhere along the way the timelines blurred together.  I realized I wasn’t being honest, I was just trying to absorb one shock at a time. If I gave way to all the things that were raining down upon me, I would sink like a rock down to the bottom of a lake, the lake that made up my life. Events like water flowing in from various places in my world.  Rivers of events beyond my control came together, creating the ebb and flow that is my life.

I have merely been a child floating on a dinghy, looking over the edge wondering what the murky depths hold. Sometimes I’d be courageous enough to dive in, but I could only see a few feet in front of me.  Sometimes I’d go fishing, feel a pull on the line, the fight would ensue. If I won, I’d pull up something sparkling, shiny, slippery, and wet. I’d feel bad watching it as it gasped for air, so, I’d throw it back in; another in a long line of fleeting memory, too hard to hold.

As I said, the timeline is blurred. I have been trying to pick a place to start. A place that I could say “And this, this is the beginning”. I’m afraid there is no such point. A life is not a timeline, has no point A to B, birth to death. This is not what makes up a life. It’s the events in between that create a life. Not from where the rivers run from or go to, but the mass of water that collects in the process.

About a year and a half ago, I fell in the lake.  I was slowly drowning, memories choking me.  I would claw my way to the top only to sink back under with the surge. For months I fought, until my last ounce of strength gave out, I let darkness take me, its grasp cool and calm. And then something miraculous happened. I awoke. There above me was an angel, or what I thought was an angel. He spoke to me; his words seemed far away and foreign.  I looked back to the murky depths, fear began to take its hold, and then he did something I never thought of doing. He forced me to surface and to look up. I saw the sky, the birds; I saw into his eyes…and held my gaze there for a very long time.

Then,  creeping into the night. One drip at a time, the memories flooded me. Things I thought I had forgotten, haunting me. The very thing I thought I had escaped came back to torture me when I thought I was finally safe. How do I dispel such an enemy? An enemy wrought from my own past, attacking from within my own mind. It’s easy to ignore the depths looking up, but I’m afraid I might go blind looking at the sun.

So where does a person go from here? How do I make a balanced view of both the light and the dark? How do I exist within the yin and the yang, without getting lost in one or the other? Where do I begin to look, within the shadows or the light? Both surely make up the person I am, but I can’t seem to focus, or understand. What exactly am I made up of?  I lose myself in the paths I take, only to find myself naked stranded on a beach gasping for air. When will they let me go to swim freely once more? Is life just this endless questioning until we either burn ourselves out or go insane? Is midlife crisis just when you realize you still have no answers?

I have fantasies of myself wondering. Just getting on a plane and not telling anyone, just going.  I picture myself winding up in some temple meditating, walking through ancient forests searching for ancient voices to lend me some wisdom, to point me in a direction, any direction. I would find and old man, sitting on his porch, he would do nothing but simply raise his hand to offer me a seat; we would sit there until the sun sets. And in silence, he would teach me what I have been so long searching for, my Siddhartha. An old man content, not wasted forgotten in some home, but content with all things, in harmony with nature, one with life and death.  There’s wisdom in his smile as ancient as life, and even before that.

If only nations would employ the wise to be their leaders.  More often than not, we ignore the wise.  We put up an ambivalent air to truths we know to be self-evident. We care not.  Life’s to short, live fast and die young, burn up our credit cards, burn out our tires, there’s always more where that came from, consume faster, lest someone else consume you. We are like parasites feasting on the corpse of our host, mutated and spreading; but that’s beside the point I suppose. Perhaps I should just pick a point, like on a map when you’re deciding where to take that road trip and go; stop staring at the sun, or into the lake, and just look ahead.