Life: It’s All Yours.

  This post, its contents, and its author are not nor pretending to be healthcare professionals giving advice or suggesting treatment for health issues. 
For help with your health you must see a healthcare professional.

If you’re reading this post, chances are that you’re alive like I am, but you didn’t have a motive like I had, to reflect on what does it mean to be alive while the Life of my brother simply floated away like a freed balloon.  Synonyms for alive include methodical references like: aware, cooperative, and sensible. On the other hand, synonyms for Life imply inventive and daring like: animated, vital, and dynamic.

living1I’m definitely alive but am I Living? Living Life now? Living an animated, capricious, passionate, dynamic, vital, and creative Life? Living Life as though I was purposeful rather than predestinedOr has Life as an adventure, those outwardly foolish, expressive, devil-may-care, and goofy ideas of my arrogant youth been bagged and hung in the back of a closet like an unstylish overcoat? I remember exactly when I lost my nerve and consequently my verve. It was when I had to shelve my life as a creative, curious, and lyrical writer in order to be initiated into a wholly alien and inconsistent corporate culture by getting a job, being supervised or managed, have a steady income, and be a responsible adult. I compromised my true self to evolve into one in herds of others that bought into the idea that business is better than a mind full of zany ideas

The week immediately following my brother’s five minutes of death then resurrected by modern medicine, he spent it straddling the threshold between now and ever after. Rick’s life had become a slippery slope with one treatment jeopardizing another, inconceivable mobility issues, and, like a politician caught taking bribes, his dignity was retired by committee, his independence was incarcerated as he was assigned a room on a floor presently occupied by end-stage, incoherent residents. Considering what he’d already forfeited, I knew that my brother Rick, was going to finish what he’d started seven suffering days earlier: his non-negotiable intention to die, right there, there in a generic hospital bed surrounded by generic strangers. It was, after all, his free will that determined he did not want to live a compromised life.  It was then, in the presence of his own conviction that he would end his miracle of life.

Later that afternoon and well into the night I took a long, hard look at my Life, my unconsciousness of it, what I promised the world at birth, and finally, have I kept those promises? Below you’ll find a list based solely on recalling Rick’s life, his courage and his conviction, and finally my own mortality.  I was surprised (to say the least):

  1. Life is a Miracle:  It doesn’t matter to which, if any, spiritual leadership you follow, the simple fact that you, you, not somebody else, but you, faults and all occupy one tiny spot in a universe few can even imagine.
  2. Life knows its job:  Life knows the human genome and like Mr. Potato Head puts us together in a fascinating display of accuracy and symmetry.  None of my Mr. Potato Heads ever resembled each other.
  3. Boldness and Bravery aren’t the same. Boldness is something you do for your self in order to get noticed. Bravery is something you do for others disregarding your own safety. Men and women that are brave get noticed. Not because they were bold, but their actions were brave.
  4.  Join clubs, gangs, or any organization whose sole purpose is benevolence. They’ve been drawn together in order to help others rather than themselves.
  5. Fail as often as you can. Failing implies you tried something new. Failure is knowledge.living6
  6. Success is fleeting and assigned by others.
  7. Keep secrets secret. Secrets are like boomerangs, they always return to sender.
  8. Be unpopular; popular people spend a lot of time being popular. Unpopular people spend more time on their passions.
  9. All Olympian’s, film stars, and scientists who have won, starred in, or discovered a cure forfeited something very precious to dedicate themselves to their sport, their art, or their experiments.
  10. Whatever you’re undertaking, always have a “Plan B.”
  11. If you’re doing, going, or trying anything new, be sure you know a way out before it becomes dangerous.
  12. Be generous. Sure, with money; but with yourself. Everyone is inspirational. Tell your story to others. Truthfulness is inspirational.
  13. Never compromise your character. It’s who you are. Without it you’re nobody.
  14. living5Fear stops everyone at one time or another. But fear can be conquered: Simply dig in your pocket for your determination.
  15. Never quit. Never. Friends, family, strangers will all chide or mock your idea. Expect it. Ignore it. Mockery confirms they’ve heard or seen it. Which is always better than silence.

Life At An Amusement Park

It’s been going on for five days now, minute by minute mood swings making me feel like a shooting gallery duck; dense anxiety like heavy fog, and a degree of indecision that stops my movement like a pause button.

indecisiveFor instance, this morning I couldn’t decide between chocolate milk or hot chocolate, behaving like the child at the soda fountain musing over nuts or no nuts. Ten minutes of my partner hustling through the house when at last he stopped, uttered some variation on a familiar expletive, poured a tall glass of cool milk, dumped the equivalent of a chocolate cake into the milk, dropped in a spoon, spun it about without dissolving anything causing it to resemble a freshly unplugged toilet, then brusquely presented it as though I was a fussy child, followed by that variant expletive and walked into the backyard.

I ask, is this the behavior of a fifty-five year old man, highly educated, and graced with an innate aptitude for johnny-on-the-spot decisions?

hammerToday was the first day of my 96 hour ride on the infamous carnival ride, The Hammer, in which you swing forward and back forward and back, etc.  Today was also the first time of my 96 hour disturbing mental yo-yo that the Midway seemed like an appropriate place to live. I’d fit in quite nicely with the Fun House, the Freak Show, ping-pong ball goldfish toss, and the notorious ring the Coke bottle.

But there’s been nothing amusing about my minute-to-minute change in behavior, the confusion which renders me speechless, the marathon of apologies, emptiness to the depth of a wino’s bottle, and then a creeping attack of self-doubt, self-worth, even writing was tortuous (when I suppose its most honest.  Did you ever have those days when you wished they speed past like flashcards?  It’s only until that damned disappointing sun, weak incapable of tossing out a solar flare and incinerating the cloud cover that I felt calm. No more staring into a day of gray disappointment.grayday

Night time is the best time for me. Inside the house is quiet and familiar like an old dog and outside is awash in black and could be anywhere in the world.

 

Which Is Which?

aa-allnighter
Night after night after night after night for the past three weeks I’m awake well past 4:00 am.   Last night I was awake until 3:10 am, just awake, not anxious awake or fearful awake or even we-leave-for-Prague-in-six-hours awake.  Just awake even after swallowing three milligrams of Clonazepam.

I still awaken at 7:30 or 8:00 or 9:10 am.  Today my day didn’t start until 3:00 pm.  But I can’t untangle the ball of yarn because I can’t pinpoint the beginning of this wakefulness: Is it one of three dire maladies that come and go like my sanity was a delicatessen (and bedeviled generations since expelled from Pandora’s Box with other evils) or if the distress of my brother’s death only appears in solitude; then today this torment advanced by adding a threatening malaise. Teasing the debilitating effects of mental illness with the expeditious death of my brother, my routines have been stirred, causing an atypical night/day composition causing great distress and exhibiting itself in one of three years in great part by one three infirmities: 1) Mania (this ain’t a party; 2) Depression (which routinely involves sleep; or, 3) Grief.

But today, today the symptoms were clear: sleeping well into the morning, sitting on the side of the bed for two hours; no concept of passing time.  When I first was diagnosed we accepted odd sleep patterns as a component of bipolar.griefpoem But now, when the inevitable death became evitable, my grief churned the sediment of negative memories, their decay rising to the surface like the Magic Eightball, and I precisely recall that day or incident or mounds of work to what?  End in death? Four years now sours like wet rags lying on the basement floor for two weeks and turn into deep, powerful, and dangerous emotions like hate, retribution, and bitterness which poison even my brightest memories like an elixir or potion.

And today I feel like shit; disinterested, loathsome, hopeless, belongings reduced to ordinary objects; all over, two men smiling or laughing in picture frames remain unrecognizable; too many functional, but inefficient appliances, especially my computer.  In order to simply write I’d have to troubleshoot half a dozen issues:the writing is slow to the surface anyhow, and when buoyant is likely to blather on about how shitty I feel, and how long am I expected to stave off this darkness?

Oh yeah, and when will someone like me rush to my side and avail his own life to repair mine?  When will that be? When do you think? How long did you wait? When generosity runs as thin as this a damning selfishness takes a seat at my table: “Hear you’re tired of saving people even when you’re risking yourself. Hear you’re looking for your “generous man” to shoulder your burden and top-off your short-comings.  Well, today’s your lucky day, ’cause they sent me instead. I’m what you’d call Selfishness.”