It's hard to even believe I can write this when I think of my life. But it's easy to realize why I can, once I do look back. I have never been so happy, because I have walked for years under the darkest of clouds and finally took note of what it is to seek out the light, and walk where one can see life. I've never been given a free ride, never given an easy way out, and never taken the common path. Some of the things I've endured break weaker women; so I know to carry those wins, those scars, with pride, because I am alive today to share them. Today I want to talk about the difference between light and dark, and why they're both worth living for, and recognizing them while you're there.
There is such a stark contrast between where I am right now, and where I was just six months ago. In May of this year, I got robbed at the job I thought I would retire from, lost said job, came up on the one year anniversary of the death of a great love, began the loss of a decade long sisterhood, had a beloved friend tell me we couldn't speak anymore, and couldn't have felt like there was less to live for. When I attempted suicide, I was so incredibly full of pills and alcohol that I don't even remember telling my friend that I was doing it. But her sister lived a block away, and was at my house in minutes. I couldn't tell you the conversation we had, I only know that she was there. For about a week straight, I continued to try. I didn't tell anyone again. And I don't remember much. I just laid there, trying to die, knowing it was the only way to end the pain I would suffer forever.
After two weeks of this drudgery, I got a new job, felt no different, but got up and went to work anyway. Some days I went in a less than sober state of mind. I wasn't clear of my dark sanctuary; I wasn't attempting to be. I simply stopped trying. Quickly, anger filled the space of my misery and I was fueled in an entirely new way. I think of "White America," by Eminem (he filled a lot of my empty time during these days) "so much anger aimed, in no particular direction, just sprays and sprays". I have typically been able to maintain a certain sense of level-headedness, consequently, my anger manifested in rants to myself, body aches from the masses of tension I kept inside, and facebook posts that never became specific enough to hurt anyone directly. Some hurt for me, and reached out, which made my anger grow. It caused me to, however briefly, face the person I had become. Of course, I rejected the notions and kept on the same.
During this time I went on allowing myself to feel shame for everything wrong I had ever done, feel pain for the hurt that was done to me, and wallowed in the pity that I developed for myself. I had the worst life of anyone, ever. I am not exaggerating when I say, I believed I felt more pain than anyone could ever reach but me. I began to feel comfort in this dark world I built for myself. Everything was pain, and pain was absolutely everything. I expected it, I nourished it, I wanted it with me so I knew how to live. I was martyring myself. I can only laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of it all now. The majority of my pain was self-inflicted; the pain that wasn't, was from causes endured by everyone in life. But how did they all seem to let it go? Did I truly believe I felt things more deeply than others? Or was I just weaker than I thought, not knowing how to survive in spite of it all? "This black cloud still followed me around."
This went on for sometime. I withdrew almost entirely from life. Possibly even, entirely, other than work. No one wanted to speak to me anyway. Looking back, I can understand why. But this anger, this sense of nothingness, gave me a freedom, a gift, I will never lose, and will always keep close in sight. I began doing whatever in the hell I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it, in whatever ways I wished. I thought I always had, but in reality, I was only trying to. And only ever in the negative aspects of life. This gift gave me the freedom to do all of the good too. I don't mean it to sound as though I went out and spewed every piece of garbage that crossed my mind. What I mean is that I felt free to tell people the absolute truth, and I do; I felt secure enough to tell people exactly how I feel about them, and I want to! I say "I love you," more freely because I mean it more deeply. That's something in all my life I have never been able to conquer. And it's amazing.
From here, I spoke the way I chose, to whom I chose, and let go of the stipulation that people had to like me. I didn't fucking care! For god's sake, I didn't like most people, why on Earth would I expect them to like me, when I was more outspoken, more deviant, more cross with them than they would ever consider being toward me!? What that did for me though, I will never in all of eternity be able to articulate. The idea that you can live your life the way you want, and disregard the pressures and expectations that society has imbued upon you, and still be a functional, loved, and loving member of that same society, what a concept! What a perfectly immaculate freeing concept!
From there, things slowly began to change. When I say slowly, I mean I didn't even see it happen. It's only in my reflection that I recognize the change. I continued to mourn Ryan and Sara, daily, without the will to stop. This was my biggest issue. I know I focus on that a lot, because it has literally had the greatest impact on the path and direction of my life than anything, any other event ever has. Two great loves gone. How did I deal with this new notion that love can break my heart, and I get no choice of closure? I faced my own mortality, head on, and by choice. I began to write down my final wishes, plan my death to go my way, ensure that my plans were known to those who might be responsible for seeing them through. I wrote my final letters to those of whom I had unfinished things to say. I researched death itself, not in a spiritual or nostalgic way, merely a "what happens to you when you die," kind of way. I know now that writing everything down the way you want, doesn't even matter. Your kin, the ones handing over the check, can make whatever changes they want. I learned that some of the greatest contemplative minds in history had outstanding perspectives on the inevitable. I learned that it's a pain that never changes. And I learned that one day, I will be that pain for someone, no matter what I do.
What an eye-opening way to see the world. One day, I am going to be that pain for someone, no matter what I do. So I had better make it count, right. Sara was the light of your life if she were in it. When she was happy, you were happy. Her laugh could out reign any sadness. Ryan had a smile that was truly contagious. People say that, and you always wonder if it was true about someone. But with Ryan, anytime he's talked about, it's his smile that people go on and on about. Neither one of those things will ever be erased from my memory. And that makes me blissfully happy. I have memories of them that are insanely beautiful, and they're mine. What kind of memory do you want to be for those you love? It's already going to hurt, because they love you. I am making the choice, that when they are able, they will have things to smile about instead of a life wasted, to be grieved over. I will be no one's "what if" story.
A couple of things I did when I prepared my final wishes was to look at the expert wordsmiths on their descriptions of living, and ultimately dying, and see if anyone could detail the things I wished. A couple of poems that changed everything for me include Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, as well as Death Shall Have No Dominion, and Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant. A few songs include Alanis Morissette "That I Would Be Good," Jewel's, "Angel Standing By," and Pink's, "Beam Me Up." The healthy perspective that each of these gave to me on death, and postmortem, astounds me each day.
Do Not Go Gentle: Each type of man nearing the end will know one thing about his life, that it was worth fighting for, even if he didn't do it right. (Lesson: Everyone wants a second chance; no one will ever get it.)
Death Shall Have No Dominion: Once we're all gone, we lie together as one, unrecognizable, the same, becoming part of the earth, to breed new life again. (Lesson: We are all equals; and only in death are we finally free to become part of everything.)
Thanatopsis: There is nothing to fear in death, for it comes to us all, kings and noblemen, slaves and the forgotten. Do not forget mother nature nourished your life, in death you shall nourish her begotten. (Lesson: We all have the same fate, and we will end up together, with our mother, continuing on forever, only in death.)
"That I Would Be Good": It is my hope that even in my most hopeless state, that I will be good enough; that at my worst, there will be someone who imparts to me, the grandest love. (Lesson: No matter the superficial quotas life throws at us, we all want the same thing, to be good enough for love.)
"Angel Standing By": Spirits are manifestations of love that never turn to dust; love is at our side in every moment, waiting for when they're needed by us. (Lesson: Those you love are always with you, as an angel, waiting only for the moment upon which you call them.)
"Beam Me Up": Death breaks us all into two separate livelihoods, one staying, wishing for another moment with you, and one which moves into your heart, void of anything but good. (Lesson: When someone we love dies, part of us goes with them; we never get it back, nor would we want to. This is our way to stay together.)
Some of these voices are from many years past, teaching us that death is only an event in our lives that moves us on to another stage where we shall play our part. Some of these are contemporaries, trying to grapple with the concept itself, teaching us that love and light, while we are able to feel it, are the only things that matter. Take heed and know, that as we all endured birth, falling as we learned to walk, teen angst, terrifying 20s, loss, love, heartbreak, and all the other stages of life, that we will all most certainly endure the next, in death.
Whatever the cause of your darkness, be it someone's death, loss of another kind, even a loss of the self, knowing that light is waiting to shine on you as a fact, is one piece of wisdom I can give to you all. I was in the darkest hole of life, making it my home, comfortable enough for many a year stay. I had no interest in coming out. But sometimes it's inevitable. Life forces you out in its own way, and in light, the new begins to grow. As I came out for things like work, doctor's appointments, birthdays, etc., I began interactions with people in my new, honest, naked state of being. The raw appeal I exposed to so many had a way of attracting that new growth in my life. The right people stay; the weak go away. The new blessings come from a place unnamed. All I can tell is that now, in my life, I am surrounded by love and light, and I owe it all to the dark dwelling I carved out for myself and breathed in for awhile.
When I talk to you about love, what I mean is this; love is an unconditional state of acceptance, of knowing you play a part in the life of an equal, a positive approach to existing for someone else's benefit. Never in love do you do something with the hopes of receiving a reparation; only in love do you perform the grandest moments, become an utter servant, with the hope of merely impacting the other's life in a movement toward light. Unconditional. Look it up. It is the only true way for love to exist. It isn't romantic, though sometimes it ends up that way; it isn't familial, though familial love is typically what we relate to the unconditional (doesn't always work that way); it isn't friendly, though it should always exemplify the utmost etiquette. Love is simply a method for giving yourself away, making sure someone has a part of you, until you are empty of even yourself. Love is a verb, an act, a way to live, not a noun, not a thing you possess and take from someone to keep locked up selfishly for your own will. Live in love and life will bring light, and death shall have no dominion over you.
This blog is my manifestation of having accepted these facts. My name, manic mortality, allows me not a sense of morbidity, as some have thought. Rather, I am ecstatic about the fact that I can move on to an even greater stage of living, through death, and I am strong enough to face it head on. My fear is gone. I have only hopes that in my life, I shed some light on those who cross my path, and in death, I become part of something even more beautiful; a farmer's garden, a florist's greenhouse, a child's tire swing, a weeping willow, shade for a pet neglected by the mortal and left out in the heat alone. There are so many possibilities. On Earth, in life, I will be but a woman, of a certain type, to change and come unhinged from time to time. In death, I will be endless. Isn't this a stunning notion for us all?