Sunday, April 1, 2018

Just Another Marker

Twenty-three years ago today, my dad drove his car as far as it would go until it ran out of gas in  some remote section of  Sevier County, Utah, where he rolled it to the side of the road, and shot himself in the head with a shotgun.

Some years this day passes me by and I don't even realize it.  Some years it hits me and I deal with a rolodex of emotions.  One year I'm angry, the next I'm depressed, and the next I'm upset.

This year, I'm scared.

I feel like my dad's life had some kind of groove or gravitational pull that was just too strong for him to escape and no matter what actions he took, his life was going to end the way it did.  Somehow, I've repeated the patterns in his life only faster, and with a greater sense of urgency.  I can see the same abyss that claimed him and I'm hurling toward it at twice the speed.

But I don't want to die alone in a car on the side of the road.  It's bad enough statistically I'm going to die in this apartment and nobody will notice until they smell something.  If it happens in the summertime, my window will be open, and people will walk along the sidewalk and there will be this stench...

My weight is back up to where it was when my friends had their intervention but I'm making changes.  I've made changes.

Made.  Past Tense.

I generally don't like "I'm gonna" or "I'm doing" statements because it always feels like a con.  It's as if I've given myself enough wiggle room to somehow cheat they system.  And cheating is how I got myself into this whole mess.

I got back into writing.  I actually put words on paper.  Granted, they were shitty and hollow, and clearly missing something, but that's to be expected when you scramble your brains up like I did for months at a stretch.  It's almost as if I have all new brain cells and I have to whip them into shape so they can perform the way they're supposed to when I tell them to write.

But that's not true.  Brain cells don't write.  Fingers do.  Fingers connected to an ass in the chair and eyes that aren't downloading crap.  Lately it's been a lot of Youtube videos.

At least I'm out of the habit of watching people get mangled on Liveleak.  I no longer need to see that.  I've moved beyond emotional numbness so profound I need to see the extremes of humanity just so I can feel anything.

I got word a few weeks ago that I sold a short story.  I really sold one.  For the first time ever, I will receive payment in the form of money in exchange for a piece of fiction I wrote myself.  They're even going to publish a picture of me and they didn't specify that I have to wear clothes.

I might even get my first nude photos published, too!

I've been making ice cream again.  This is important.  Ice cream is how I reach out to people.  Ice cream is how I extend myself towards others and how I show love, gratitude, and affection.  For me to make ice cream is a big step because it's just not something I do when I'm isolated and depressed.

It's something my dad never did.  He never reached out to anybody that I know of and he didn't have friends.  That's one of the biggest things I've done and it's what has made all the different. 

I have the best goddamn friends in the world.

I have people who hug me and tell me not to give up because I'm important to them.

And as I write that last sentence, I try not to think about how I could have done that for my dad and if I had, would that have even made a difference?  As he sat on the side of that road in the middle of nowhere, over 50 miles from the nearest town, he wrote his suicide note.  It was about eight pages, that I can remember, and the only thing he said about me was "Ted always wanted me dead."

I didn't.  But at the time I was just too angry at him to say much else.

My dad was a drunk who fried his brains.  I hardly ever drink.  Granted, I have my own monkeys to feed, but I'm dealing with them.

My dad destroyed his family.  I try to tell myself I didn't destroy mine.  Based on what I've gathered from so many others it is clear our fates were to be separated and nothing I could do would have changed that.   It is now clear to me there was a very specific path they were to be on and my job was to get them on it.  But they had to walk that path without me.

Dad killed himself a week after his divorce from my mother was finalized.  I've lost so much over the years and had so much taken from me, but somehow I still wake up in the morning.  Maybe that's the key to all of this--just wake up and show up.  And hug your friends when you can.  Let them hug you and tell you how you are important to them because even though you don't believe it yourself, it's hard to deny the memory.  You can't tell yourself that never happened and therefore, you can't tell yourself nobody cares.

Hugs are important like that.

My dad rode his fate to the end without fighting.  I'm fighting.  Some moments I win, some I lose.  But I take it moment by moment instead of day by day.  A day is a huge chunk of time to throw in the garbage.  A moment can be ignored.  A moment is something you can just crumple into a ball and throw away, never thinking about again.

This way, when I get cravings for deep fried dough covered in sugar, and make a bunch of funnel cakes, I can avoid beating myself up over it. 

Or when somebody goes into details about their sex life and triggers the fuck out of me until I'm anxious and ready to implode, I can unplug.

I'm not healthy but I'm not falling into the abyss anymore, either.  I'm pulling up on the reins but there's a lot of momentum here and sometimes it's like I'm sliding on black ice.  My dad didn't do that.  He did the bare minimum needed to stay alive.

My future is in ice cream and fiction.  The rest will work itself out in time.  If I'm meant to die alone, then so be it.  It sucks but some things just can't be fixed.  All I can do is keep writing and keep making the ice cream.  Whatever is supposed to happen after that will unfold. 

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