Sunday, November 1, 2009
Life, Choices and Clichés
All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Between Solomon and Ecclesiastes I felt for the first twenty-one years of my life that the things I loved was pointless. Eventually it came to a point where I had that view about my life and struggled for the will to live. Sometimes I cynically refer to those times as my 21 year coma, but it wasn't. Fate exists in it's shape and form, and my life and the things I have experienced have happened as they should.
My problem was that I was trained to view these scriptures literally. The bible is a very wise, and spiritual set of books, like many other holy writings, but should be viewed like all the others. They are books written by men...and men are regrettably fallible. When I say this to stalwart friends of particular faiths they always ask me the same question. "So you don't believe the bible was written by God?" No...I do not. But I do believe our creator was an inspiration to these authors, whether it is the bible, the qu'ran, the vedas, the avesta, and many books of spiritual origin. By our natures, human beings will always see things in different ways, it is our inclination. That is why each one of these books, has multiple interpretations. Personally, I am glad for it. To quote William Cowper, "Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all it's flavor."
But back to cliche's. At twenty-one I was living as numb as possible. If I wasn't working, I was spending my time alone in my home hiding from the world, and myself. The blinds were drawn as I slept all day, with only my movies,books, and constant eating to keep me company at night. The nature of my religion had strict policies on drugs and association with people outside my faith, so I unsuccessfully attempted to live in a middle ground. Ironically scared of losing my family, which had already slipped away. I did my best not to think, or feel, feeling out of options in my prison of the mind fucked.
As fate would have it though, I found just the right catalyst I needed for the difficult decision I had been putting off for so long. A man who would turn out to be one of my best friends. Someone who had lived a childhood raised in the same religion as me, but had left it to live his own life. We talked for hours while the drudgery of work passed by unnoticed. He was amazed to met somebody like me working in the facotry, and I was equally astonished. We mostly just talked about our love for books, and the many books we had read. Literature being the love of my life, I couldn't help but admire him. I even told him something I hadn't told myself in years. I always wanted to be a writer. I started telling him all these idea's I had for books, and it was like a dam had broke in my soul, and all this energy and strength came pouring out. I no longer felt like I was dying every day. I had more will to live then I knew what to do with. There were no cliche's! I had a myriad of options. I could do anything, get to know anyone, I had no rules except my own. I was free. I wrote everyday for hours. At work, at home, even writing at bars(for the first time)and getting to know people from all walks of life. To do these things, I was shunned from all my family and friends I have ever known. They would no longer talk to me, look at me, or acknowledge my existence from that day on. But that was just a necessary evil. For the first in a long time...maybe even ever...I was living. I started smoking ciggerates, drinking, and enjoyed the ganja. Everything I did was a self affirmation of life.
But over the course of time something happened. All the people I met seemed small and lost. They let me down and disappointed me. My days started feeling the same, and my depression came back even worse then before. Without the support of my parents to bail me out in times of trouble, and the inexperience from learning to live for the first time in that big world with no rules I made a lot of bad mistakes. I eventually quit writing. I started drinking a lot, and doing other things that I had never done before. Anything to feel better. Anything to keep me from missing my family, which had become a source of unimaginable pain. My journey of life that I had set out on, was now a sad thing, with a sad and lonely person. I quit showing people anything I had wrote, because they always had a comment how it reminded them of someone else's work or movie. I quit going to parties, because it just felt like the same thing over and over. I quit talking to my friends, because it was as if I had that conversation over infinity in purgatory. I rarely prayed at all...only praying when I was on the verge of losing my mind. I felt trapped again. I couldn't go back and live a lie...and my life had become unbearable. What was I supposed to do now that there was nothing new?
Looking back I realize that I had a lot of people that cared for me. Good friends that were worried and helped me out. I will never forget how I ended up in the situation I did, or the things I learned that I never had to think about before. There were times, when I lay huddled on steps, trying to stay warm, trying to sleep before going to work, where I looked at life in ways I never could have come to. Some of the places I went were...horrible. Crack houses where I had to constantly wear my shoes, because there was needles on the floor. There was a place I stayed at once, where the toilet hadn't been working in three weeks, and shit was filled to the brim and dripping down the sides. Some of the few things I had left were stolen there. It wasn't from the guy that let me crash at his crib, but it still felt like a slap in face. That was were my prayer crystal was stolen. I didn't pray much after that, and still don't pray as much as I used to. Not all the places I stayed at were bad though, but it is human nature to focus on the bad, and those bad things stayed in my heart poisoning me for quite a while.
I never stopped fighting, and eventually the poison left. Maybe I prayed in those times and the times that followed more then I think I did. With all the ups and downs, I always found the strength to keep on struggling. I kept working and fighting to rise up from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. As fate would have it, I met up with my friend from the factory. At the time I was on the verge of being homeless yet again. He let me into his home, and I lived for a time as "the guy on the couch". We had both been through a lot...we had both learned a lot. Our friendship growing again into something more meaningful from our experiences. We eventually got a place where the couch was just an option. I now know what real friendship is, and what it means to me in scales of importance. I have an understanding about life, and the pitfalls that I am susceptible to, whether it is a trap of my own mind or not.
The funny thing is, even though I have attained what I have been fighting for, and wanting for over two years, I still feel the tendrils of cliche touching tentatively at me, and at times trying to pierce my heart. Sometimes I look at what I have and find it lacking. The reality is that it is beautiful and precious. You cannot put a price on people that genuinely care about you, on friends that are heartfelt and honest. Will they let me down sometimes...of course. Just as I will them. A small price to pay I think, to no longer be alone on my yellow submarine. I try to be happy with what I have, and most of the time I am. The other things I need will be taken care of, and the other things I want may or may not happen. I guess these days, I take an adage from Samuel Goldwyn, "Let's have some new cliches!". I choose to live a good life, and be thankful for the things I have, and will experience. I choose not to let the bad things get me down. I choose to be a good friend, and be a good friend in turn. I choose to love life for what it is, and not what I want it to be. I choose contentment.