Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Now


I'm sorry for the string of grim--but conveniently cryptic--posts I've made lately. In them I've said so much without ever really saying anything at all--clever metaphors about an imagined Fate, evasive allusions to hallways and doors and ends and beginnings.

The truth is that I want to die about half the time now.

The other half? I don't particularly want to go in those moments, but even then I'm convinced that it might be necessary and inevitable.

I came so close last weekend. There I was, three thousand miles from some place I call home, being feted for an expertise and an influence that I've done nothing to earn or prove. A literary agent who's sold no books--what do you call that? When these writers, these dreamers, these people who have invested so much of themselves in their projects, when they come to me and hand their hopes into my shaking hands, do they know they've climbed atop a dull horse? Of course, many literary agents are dull horses, at least at first. But the absence, despite my relentless efforts, of some other livelihood to truly sustain me in that interim, has filled my mouth with dead air.

And that's really not the worst of it, which, all things considered, is pretty significant.

Call it a weak moment.

But when the boy with the pretty face and clear eyes left, that hotel room felt so crushingly empty, empty not just with the loneliness of one night but with the parading void of the future. He kissed me before he went away and I wondered if he hated me as he did it. Then I wondered why he even wanted me in the first place.

I'll probably never have him. I'll probably never have anybody, which is really the larger point. He was just a beautiful someone I met in a strange city. That can happen to anyone, right? The follow-up is where I falter.

So there I was, with that terrible, aching chasm swallowing my stomach. And I thought, You have the complementary bottle of wine. Would it be so difficult to get some sleeping pills? I'm sure there's a store open. 

And if those pills had been there, I don't know what I would have done. I think, though--and I can judge myself fairly well--that I would have made a cocktail more delicious than all the others combined, better than what passed down my throat at any party or on any solitary night.

Instead I went to bed, and woke up several hours later, and wondered how long it would be.



The problem was in recovery. I guess the easiest way to explain what I mean is that when you have a brain disease there's just so much you don't know. You don't know how to be normal, true, but you also don't completely know what you're missing, and to a large degree you don't know of the limitations that are, and probably always will be, present.

Starting around when I was twenty--incidentally, the same year this blog was begun--I recovered so much so fast that I felt like I was on a roller coaster headed straight to Heaven. All of these things that had been mysteries before suddenly came to me and no one, my doctors included, really has any idea how the hell that happened. But I was happy.

I had friends, I had discipline, I had talent, and God did I have courage. I had courage to do the kinds of things that can hurt, and I did them because I believed there was nothing I couldn't accomplish. But I was a child. A teenager sees a little bit of life and is enamored with how worldly he's become, but a few years later he looks back and understands that he didn't understand.

I didn't understand. And the absolute worst part of recovery has been gaining the wisdom and insight to objectively assess my situation and comprehend the very daunting obstacles that neurological disease, psychological illness (because they are separate things), and a legacy of abuse actually present.

So don't think this post is a dip into the pool of self-pity. It's not. It's an acknowledgement of my keen-eyed appraisal of my own prospects, which just aren't very good. I still have moments of disorientation. I still face the vertigo of uncertainty. I still feel my brain slip. I am still unlikely to ever have a substantive romantic relationship, to ever know love or father children. And why would I want that? They could turn out like me.

I am happy that, if nothing else, I was allowed the golden moment of a false sun ascending through my sky and draping the world in a light of glory I thought would never be extinguished. It was false, of course--it always was--but it felt so real, and for one instant in what has been a genuinely unfortunate life I believed that I could have everything. I held that in my hands. Nothing can ever take that away from me.

But now the illusions are gone and the orb that burned so bright in 2009 and 2010 has blown out like a dandelion stripped of its silver ornaments. I see. I understand. And I want no part in it. I'm not going anywhere just yet, but I'm planning. You have to approach these things practically.

I don't know why I'm telling you this. I don't know why I do much of anything anymore. But thank you, I guess, for supporting me and believing in me, and for loving me, in your own way. It meant a great deal.


9 comments:

Rena said...

I hate that you've been feeling this way. If this were some 80s movie, this would be the part where someone would give an inspiring speech and everyone would walk away feeling all warm and glowy inside while they waited for Act III to be resolved.

Life isn't like that, as you've clearly observed.

If you let it, life will crush you under a tsunami of horrible. Wave after relentless wave. Everyone gets to experience this, standing in the water watching as the next wave comes, wondering "is this the wave that pulls me under?" What you bring to the situation is different, but that doesn't make it impossible. No one has a normal life. Maybe you know people who do, but trust me, they are hiding the parts that aren't normal. And life is hard on everyone.

You feel like you're floundering at this point, that the cards are stacked against you, that there's nothing you can do to turn back the tide when all you've been given is a spoon. Maybe you feel like your options are dwindling and life has dictated that you will flounder into obscurity at this point. That is the part of life that sucks, the part that people don't write about in their books. The place where real magic lives is in that moment when life is beating you down and you steal the beauty of the universe from it. Life will give you nothing, and you have to win every opportunity for happiness and glory back from it. When the next wave comes, surf it. Sure you're gonna miss a bunch of them. Some of them will smash you in the tube. But every now and then, you will ride a raging mountain of water and feel like a god.

I get that you're having a much harder time because you think you can't have a normal life, but you can have a life that's normal to you. You aren't going to fit in some box, but you wouldn't want to anyway. Boxes are uncomfortable. Be you. Be the most glorious version of you that you can be. Will it look like other people? Of course not. The world doesn't need another normal. The world needs you. And you are not alone.



Lastly, don't worry about the book sale thing. I know it's hard to separate who you are from your professional career, but try to remember that your success as an agent has no bearing on your success as a person. Keep making contacts. Keep finding the very best books you can to sign, and I'm certain you'll start selling books. At this point it's a matter of time, not a matter of talent (we know you already have the talent).




Anonymously Me said...

:/

laura b. said...

Please don't do anything that can't be undone. Please, please call and talk to someone if you can't think of a reason to live. 1-800-273-TALK
(8255)

jo(e) said...

I wish I could say something that would help.

Jay M. said...

I think you are in the same spot that many people your age are in. Qualified, willing, able to do many things, but unable to find fulfilling work, which leads to the mind-f^cking that you give yourself which stifles so many other opportunities. There are a gazillion pundits who will be happy to share why the economy, business, opportunities for smart, qualified guys like you are in the toilet, but I hope one quality you possess is patience, and as laura b. said, don't do anything that can't be undone while we all wait out this nonsensical excuse for an economy that affects every one of us.

BB, you are so awesome. I wish I could wave my magic wand and fix things for you. I care.

Peace <3
Jay

Arizaphale said...

Firstly, I read what you write and I do not hear the voice of a person with a neurological disease or a psychological illness. I hear a normal young person struggling with our difficult financial times. I am sure you have struggled with mental illness in your past (why would you make that up?) but you are obviously capable and rationale now....just very hurt and trying to find with your purpose in life, like many, many others.

I guess what I'm saying BB is that you have much to live for. I'm going to take a chance and walk down a path you've been down before in saying that you are exactly as God intended you to be. You have strengths (enormous strengths and gifts) and, hellooo, you have weaknesses. Your weakness is your tendency towards psychological illnesses (or neurologial diseases, I don't think I've ever heard about your ACTUAL diagnosis). Your strengths far outweigh this. Your experience is another factor.

It would interesting to know whether your mental health struggles are a pre-disposition or something triggered by your abusive family....or both? But at the end of the day it is irrelevant. You are exactly where you are meant to be at this time in your extraordinary life. God never dishes out more than you can cope with (although it may feel like that from time to time) and he/she always gives to you resources to manage your challenges.

Without meaning to be harsh I would just like to take you up on a few things. You say your prospects are not very good. How would you weigh that up when compared with the young men of your age in countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe. Let's face it, in life's lottery we rolled pretty well. I know you got a crap birth mother, a crap adoptive father and a legacy of damage....but you are intelligent, talented, healthy, well fed and above all, educated! And you have awesome hair (sorry, that was flippant)

BB you have been dealt a crap hand, but at least you have the fucking cards in your hand, unlike 90% or the world's population. You still have choices, you still have amazing potential and you are just in that ugly waiting time while the plan comes together.

And don't even start me on the statement that you'll probably never have anybody. If that is true it's because you CHOOSE that course.
Let's look at it from another perspective: [you should read "He's just not that into you" (every young person should...it should be obligatory reading!!!!!...)] where is that young man in his life? What is he looking for? Is HE ready for a long term relationship? Is he perhaps visiting his own inadequacies on his 'conquests'. You pine for him but...do you know him? if he turned and said he wanted to stay...would you be happy with what he brought to the party?

Don't get me wrong BB, I have been where you are. I have prostrated myself at the alter of rejection...but what I didn't examine was whether what I pursued was actually WORTH pursuing.

For God's sake sweetheart (and yes, I would like to gather you up in my middle aged arms and rock you like I did my baby) if you don't like what you are doing with your life. Change it! You have the ability. Why not apply your talents to something altruistic that you can feel some sense of achievement and productivity with? If it don't earn you moolah, wait tables or walk dogs, whatever it takes! From such beginnings, great things may grow.

KEY to remember is that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows the number hairs on your head. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. They may not be obvious right now but believe me, keep your eyes and your heart open and see what opportunities are presented to you.

Besides...what would it do to Pie??????


dawn marie giegerich said...

You never EVER make a major life-altering decision after a one-night stand. Life is a roller coaster, you hold on and sooner - or most likely later - the scenery changes.

naturgesetz said...

I didn't read this until after I read your following post. What is c;ear is that there is always the possibility for something better. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn't. But it wouldn't make any sense to destroy the possibility with "a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

rh said...

Hey,

I don't think you remember me, but I've been following your blog since I was in high school. I gravitate towards your writing - it is warm and familiar to something deep inside me.

I've only recently come back to blogger, and I'm unearthing all my old follows. I'm glad to have found you again.

You are so brave. It sounds like you're going through a wicked hard time. I am sad that you are, and I hope you find what you are looking for soon. I know you will - we find so many things on a day to day basis, but it takes some trained eyes to see if what we want is there. I'm still training my eyes, taking it day by day.

I hope you keep writing and updating us. You exhibit such a raw humanity here.

Much love.