Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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.