Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It's been a long time since those summer days. The time has passed without end, but what a fun time we had. There wasn't anything better than those rides. I find it amazing when I think back on it. Oh how I miss them. There isn't anybody who will ever experience anything quite like that. Listening to country music as it came to life through the radio, was a little piece of something much bigger.
The fields of golden hay and rows of tobacco represent the small town atmosphere we both yearn for. It is in our roots, where we come from, and a way of life that only a few blessed people will ever get to know. The sunrise and sunsets are much more beautiful in places like this. The smells, the landscape, and the culture could not have been crafted more spectacularly.
“This town of churches and dreams; this town I thought I would lose myself in, with its backward ways and winding roads leading to nowhere; but, I found myself instead. -Magic in the Backyard (excerpt from American Honey)”
One day I hope that we can find our way off the beaten path again. It would be great to make our way to where Cowboys and Angels live in unity. The southern style of living is too good for us to pass up. Each day is the beginning of a slow dance that doesn't end until we both sneak off into our dreams. I don't want you to ever wake me up from this state of mind that I am in.
I maintain that if I believe hard enough that those summer days will return. The windows will be rolled down, and the air of the backcountry will overtake us. It is a nice thing to hope for, and not impossible to happen. Even if it should never come back, it will stay alive in my memory. It is there that I encountered the greatest gift of all. You.
Your Greatest Devotee
“I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.”
-Jonathan Safran Foer
How prevalent is suicide in the United States? The most recent information collected in the year 2010, found that there were 38,364 suicides in that year alone across the country. Suicide is the "tenth leading causing of death for Americans. In that year (2010), someone in the country died by suicide every 13.7 minutes." (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
How real is the idea of suicide? Very real. Imagine waking up each day to storm clouds that never leave. When you lie down each night, the clouds grow even thicker. There is no relief from the inner pain that you face. The feeling of dread sticks to you, and over time, replaces all happiness. No matter where you turn, there is no escaping the grips that it has over your whole being. The things that you once found joy in, no longer have the same appeal. Your self-worth has been stolen.
There is a chaos that is taking place inside of your thoughts, which disrupts your ability to function normally. Suicide, and suicidal thoughts, can be caused by many factors which include: mental illness, the death of a loved one, genetics, impulsive behavior, bullying (victimization), terminal illness, alcohol/drug abuse, or a serious loss (employment, divorce, or financial). This list is not all inclusive.
“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don't kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, "He fought so hard." And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
-Sally Brampton, Shoot The Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression
The fear you face when confronted with a decision to continue living, or taking your life, is overpowering. You believe that there is no other place to turn. To live means to continue struggling with an internal battle that never ceases. To die would bring you relief, but then again, you still believe that there is a grain of hope if you carry on. Others pass you by without noticing the constant conflict that you are facing.
Sometimes the behavior of another/others can lead you toward a path of self-destruction. Imagine the child who is bullied repeatedly while in school, as the adults and caregivers stand by. Think of workplace bullying and violence. Psychological abuse can even lead you to suicidal ideations. Combine the above with a mental illness, and you have a recipe for disaster. I am speaking about this firsthand.
Have you ever noticed a significant change in behavior of a loved one or friend? Do you ever ask questions as to what might be the cause of such a change? Imagine being the individual who is fighting their demons on a regular basis, with each day bringing a continuing struggle to live.
For anyone facing this issue, make sure to keep strong. The feeling of dread is difficult to overcome, but there is always the possibility of a brighter day. To anyone who is contributing to the demoralization of another, try to place yourself in their shoes. What may appear to be fun and games is actually a very serious matter. You are aiding in placing someone's life in danger. Do you want blood on your hands?
“When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. ‘This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. ‘If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown.”
-Kay Redfield Jamison, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Superior brilliance and beauty is found in a Leo diamond. It is one of life's treasures. They are rare to find, but worth the lifelong wait once you do. According to the ancient Greeks, a diamond is 'unbreakable, unalterable, or untamed.' Found in the heart of the earth, people have lost their lives in pursuit of this gem. The creation of a diamond is a remarkable natural process, and the result is stunning.
“Vaporized by the sun! Wasn't that what the universe had in store for all of us? There would come a day when the sun exploded like a red balloon, and everyone on earth would be reduced in less than a camera flash to carbon. Didn't Genesis say as much? For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. This was far more than dull old theology: It was precise scientific observation! Carbon was the Great Leveler--the Grim Reaper.
Diamonds were nothing more than carbon, but carbon in a crystal lattice that made it the hardest known mineral in nature. That was the way we all were headed. I was sure of it. We were destined to be diamonds!”
-Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
There was a lady I once found sitting outside by herself. She sat rather motionless with her back against a wall, and it appeared as though she was despondent. When I approached her she had her hands resting in her lap. She gazed at me out of the corner of her eye. I could tell that she had been crying. The remnants of teardrops still hung from her eyelashes.
She started to tell me a story, but what she was saying was incoherent. I could not follow her, and it was as if she was speaking in a foreign tongue. She was beautiful, and the ambience around her was undeniably strong. She shined like a diamond. I could tell that she was hurting. There was something passionately innocent about her, but I could not quite put my finger on it. She was untamed like a summer breeze.
I placed my hand on her shoulder, and her eyes locked into mine. What she said with that look was greater than what could be spoken with words. The language of love eclipses all barriers. What she said to me was that she had been dismissed by another. Love had ravaged her heart. The days had grown long for her, and she had become trapped within her thoughts.
My eyes started to water because I began to take on the pain that she was feeling. After I had wiped them dry, I opened them up only to see that she had disappeared. No longer was she sitting before me. I turned in a circle looking in every direction. She was gone. Then I heard the riff of beating wings above where I was standing. The lady that had once sat before me had taken flight. She was a messenger of God. A diamond of Heaven.
“They say love is blind...but it isn't. Love is perfect sight. Love is the ability to see a person, I mean really see him-his strengths, his weaknesses, his flaws, all his past triumphs and mistakes-and view that person not as the world says you're supposed to see him, but as you see him-as that special someone you know you will always embrace, body and soul, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. I know I can't tell anyone what I've been through. I know they wouldn't understand. They don't see him the way that I see him. All they know is the legend, the darkness. They don't know the inner beauty, the warmth and the joy more intense than anything I ever thought was possible to experience. They don't know the truth behind the name. My angel. My only. Lucifer.”
-Marlon Pierre-Antoine, Wandering Stars
This interstate is littered with cars. These people are traveling everywhere. There are not multiple destinations, but they keep on moving. They are going to the edge of the world. I think that they are moving so quickly that they can forget the past. Throw it away. Toss it in the stream and pretend it never happened. Let the soil bury it. It died a long time ago, anyway. The clouds are moving in, and the rain is on the way. There's a flood about to happen. We can only hope that it washes away the waste.
Lead me down the steps, and I'll turn the knob slowly. I'll do whatever it is that you need, because you know I'm that kind of man. Use it. Abuse it. Now find another piece of prey. There's a six-pack with your name on it. Some sweet and sour if you want that too. Make it heavy, today has been worth it. Light a match, and then watch as it burns. Keep in mind, that the flame won't last if you snuff it out.
Listen to John Greenleaf Whittier, because, "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'" Touch the broken glass, and watch as your fingers bleed. It is sharp and jagged, and I think I need to admit myself. I'll stitch it up and hope that it heals. Doubtful, but the scar tissue will remind me of 'this lonely view.' Inside the pages is a bookmark or two.
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
-Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
Stand on top of the table, or take it to the stage. Use the microphone to speak it. Say it where they can hear above all else. Listen, they will turn on you, but you have to do what you have to do. It's the way of life. It doesn't matter, you are a martyr. Your name will become dirt, but not forever. One day it will all be worth it. Don't give up, and never give in. The game didn't fail to start, and it's not even close to the end.
Bend the words so that they fit into the story. It doesn't matter if they are creative or common, just find the power. Exude it. You need to allow it to happen, as it is pure. All is good. This is what matters the most, but yet what is so misunderstood. Around the curve is the Presbyterian Church, the logs are still sturdy, but gone are the dreams of what once was.
“A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Monday, December 2, 2013
Go ahead now, scrub that floor until it looks like nobody has ever walked on it. Make it shine. Do it until you pass out on the concrete. Maybe you will hit your head, and hopefully some common sense will be knocked into you. What the hell is wrong with you, anyway? You are a fool. A damned fool at that. All you ever do is stand around and daydream. Who does that? I can't even get you to hear what I am saying. Every time I look at you, you are listening to music. Come back to earth.
Jay-Z sings about his Holy Grail, and Justin Timberlake admits that it's stupid and contagious. The man across the street is shoveling a pile of sand, while the mixer makes another batch. The pieces are coming together as they are supposed to. The street is clogged. The city lights are already on, and it isn't even mid-afternoon. Does anybody know what's happening?
“As you get older, the heart sheds its leaves like a tree. You cannot hold out against certain winds. Each day tears away a few more leaves; and then there are the storms that break off several branches at one go. And while nature’s greenery grows back again in the spring, that of the heart never grows back.”
The hose is like a noose. It's choking off my circulation. I can still feel my heart beating though. Why is she in her bath robe and looking at me with those grey eyes? Climb up that ladder and make the room come to life. The clock is ticking. Can you hear it? It's growing louder and louder. It's destroying the day. Somebody needs to shut if off before tomorrow arrives too early.
Go stand in the mud and stare at the water. Make sure you wipe your feet. If you don't, the turkeys will. They will turn this place into a pristine palace. They know what they are doing. You don't. Hang your head, and never look up again. You are wearing the scarlet letter. Society has identified you. They found you out. Now get a pitcher and only one glass. You don't deserve two.
When you are finished being yourself, leave as quickly as you arrived. The keys are on the dash. Your best days have passed. Keep that in the back of your mind whenever you feel confident. We took you and turned you into a horrid creature. Tune in later for more updates. The committee will be meeting later to discuss your welfare.
“Life's greatest philosophy is not handed down in stoic texts and dusty tomes, but lived, in each breath and act of human compassion. For love has always demanded sacrifice, and no greater love is there than that for which our lives are traded. And in this great cause of spiritual evolution we are all called to be martyrs, to die each of us, in the quest of a higher realm and loftier ideals, that we may know God. And what if there is nothing else? What if all life ends in the silent void of death? Then is it all in vain? I think not, for love, for the sake of love, will always be enough. And if our lives are but a single flash in the dark hollow of eternity, then if, but for the briefest of moments, we shine - then how brilliantly our light has burned. And as starlight knows no boundary of space or time, so too, our illumination will shine forth throughout all eternity, for darkness has no power to quell such light. And this is a lesson we must all learn and take to heart - that all light is eternal and all love is light. And it must forever be so.”
-Richard Paul Evans, The Letter
“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
Two Angels watching over me. One has a broken heart, the other is breaking hearts. Irony. Life isn't supposed to be this difficult. Who made up these rules? When was it decided that this world can take advantage of our depth and feelings? The waves of emotions are washing over me. The perfect idea of bliss doesn't exist. It changes quickly. Here now, but gone in the very next moment.
Life is supposed to be filled with opportunities for happiness. How great can happiness be if it isn't shared? You may be shaking your head reading this, but think about it for a second. You want someone to be there in those times of joy. It's human nature. Think Michael Jackson. Humans need companionship to thrive. When you are down, it is important to have another there to pick you back up. When we fall, someone special lifts us back up where we belong. As we rise to new heights, we return the favor. It is the cycle of love.
I believe that past generations understood this principle better than the current. We are bombarded with freedom and independence. Freedom, as we are now taught to believe, can only take the form when you live independently of everyone and everything. The structure of relationships is being destroyed from the inside. What is left in the wake of this thought pattern are a bunch of free and independent, yet lonely, people. The idea of a relationship should be a partnership. Both people are working towards their independent and collaborative goals simultaneously. In the meantime, you get to celebrate the victories in life together, and support one another in the defeats.
This life we live offers too many challenges to take it on alone. Follow your heart, not the hearsay. It's always a good idea to take measure when it comes to who you listen to for advice. Are they seeking out your best interests? Are they setting you up for failure? Are they sabotaging your happiness out of jealousy? It's possible. The best advice anyone can ever be given, is to just go for it. Risk failure. Risk a broken heart. The risks are worth not trying at all. As Michael Jordan famously said, "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
Sunday, December 1, 2013
“And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever.”
-Nicholas Sparks, Dear John
That truck seat is empty without you riding in it. The music doesn't sound the same without you singing along. The melody is bittersweet. As Blake Shelton said, "You don't have to keep me falling like this, but it'd sure be cool if you did." Yeah, when it's over we will replay it until we own those lyrics ourselves. We might lose track of time, but that is okay with me. There's no other place I'd like to be. Right there, back then, someplace that we have been.
Turn the volume up, and let the speakers lead us down the highway. We will stop at the next exit and turn off the engine. Let me breathe down your neck. The touch will bring chills to the balmy air surrounding us. Just keep thinking about it, and it will become reality. The tension is so thick, that you could cut it with a rusted blade. It feels so good, but hurts all the same. The sweat drips with a coolness that breaks the heat. Don't stop.
Backseat, all the way to the floorboard. Fog up the windows, and then draw our hearts as they merge together. Now, swipe it away to leave no evidence. The swings in the park will make for a great escape. I'll push you along as you ride to the top. When we are finished, let's go down the slide. We will make our way across the playground of a small-town park. The wildness will be worth it. Ecstasy, and you know yourself, it's better than you had imagined. All of this would make E.L. James blush.
When we tire of all our games, we can call it a night. I'll drive the wheels off until you are ready again. The next time will be even better. The miles will keep us hungry. The hot water will make the bubbles grow, and you can sink away into relaxation. Let it ride, because I want to see you tonight. Go for it, start dancing in the moonlight. Make it happen, I'll join and jump right in.
“If we'd never met, I think I would have known my life wasn't complete. And I would have wandered the world in search of you, even if I didn't know who I was looking for.”
-Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride