Last night was a blustery night. The wind was howling through the trees, the light mist stinging my cheeks as I walked along. I was a dark wraith in the night. I was dressed in light, loose cargo pants that I had tied up at the bottom to make them flair out even more so that I would be as comfortable as possible. I wore a black Columbia vest that I had zipped up to the very top just because I liked the way the neckline made my sharp jaw line stand out. On top of that I wore my long, black leather duster, and because the wind was so fierce last night, it whipped around behind me like it used to when I walked to the Mississippi river on a fall night just to hear the wolves howl.
I hadn’t felt that good in years. I felt like I was embracing my darkness, allowing it to caress and envelope me like a lover, not smother me the way it usually does, in that “emo” way that so many of the young kids talk about these days in high school. I guess in my own way I’ve always had that flair for the dramatic, but it suits me sometimes. Nights with a howling wind and the electric smell of rain in the air always pull me in this way. There were nights like that in New York too, but I didn’t have the same perspective on those nights. I was usually too busy trying to look tough and confident instead of embracing the night with all of my senses. Feeling the wind rush through my sleeves and ripple at my shoulders was almost as intoxicating to me as staring at a beautiful woman in nothing but a sheer nightgown, the only thing left to my imagination the whisper of her voice in my ear.
I came to today somehow different. It probably helped that I was walking somewhere last night that proved to be my own personal solace in the craziness that has been the holiday season. I found a refuge from the deluge of negativity and depression that seems to emanate from people post Christmas and New Years. The term “new year” has always seemed so loaded to me. It’s just another marker for the passage of time. Nothing more.
Yet like others around me, I cannot help but reflect on the happenings of the year before and wonder at my own frailties and celebrate my own successes. In truth, 2008 was one of my toughest yet. I had to maintain sanity at a workplace that seems to have embraced the idea of chaos and impending doom as the status quo, and yet I had to learn to be more truthful in an environment where nobody ever seems to say what they mean or mean what they say. I cannot pretend that I have succeeded in preserving a positive outlook in lieu of all that mess. Leaders are not leaders at that place. The blind lead the blind, and the ones that can see have their eyes gauged out and their mouths gagged just to make it easier for the ones who get the most out of the madness. It has driven me into a depression of late.
My depression is not helped, of course, by the continued silence from my own family. I obviously hoped for too much two years ago when I wrote that fateful letter to my parents and stirred up a pot of emotion and things from the past that nobody seemed willing to face. But I was in desperate need of an answer to my search for happiness. Instead, all I got were angry phone calls from an inebriated and increasingly isolated mother, sad and pathetic explanations from a father who had long ago given up on his own happiness, and an increasing sense of my own desperation to belong to something beyond my own inner darkness. I’ve long ago learned to accept the serious dysfunction in my own family, but it is still difficult for me not to withdraw from my present day friends and loved ones, not to retreat into my own personal hell. It’s almost sexy to me in some ridiculous way that I can’t even fathom anymore because I’ve gotten so habituated to the whole pattern.
But what does one do when the light of the sun never seems to reach them entirely?
One might start, at least in theory, by walking toward the orange ball of fire that at least, in terms of space, time and the theory of relativity, still existed this morning.
Of course, I don’t know where this walk will take me. There is a great deal about the world and about myself that I simply do not know. I couldn’t even tell you if I’m just beginning this walk or if I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m just plain lost. Some mornings I still wake up wondering why I bother to keep it all going. What is it that I’m so desperate to reconcile in myself? Guilt, shame, rage? Do I love anyone at all if I cannot love myself? What does that even mean, this self love crap? That sounds like something that fell off the Happiness bandwagon back in the nineteen nineties.
How the hell does anyone keep themselves straight in this world? And why do I spend so much of my time feeling so disconnected from people, even when I’m surrounded by them?
Who the hell said this was going to be an easy trip, trying to get to the sun?