Thursday, May 05, 2005

Getting Worse

My happiness is an empty inkwell and a dream. As of late, my inkwell is overflowing with nightmares. New horrors reproduce with old ones, and every evening becomes an argument with Prester Bane.

Basically, the argument goes the same way every night. I describe the day's events as I remember them. I find fault with the events and myself. I hate myself. I hate my life. I complain about how unfair my life seems, how everyone who's wronged me succeeds, and I continue to plummet into this recursive cycle of insanity. Prester Bane's response is always the same: It could be worse. He tells me all the sadder stories than mine: the women I've known who've been raped, schizophrenics with no family, no money, and living on the streets, and the rest. Any counter-arguments he dismisses with one final example; Prester Bane says in the immortal words of my favorite college professor Sam Blate, "what about that guy?," as he points to the sign of the cross that seems to always be near in these arguments. Job is pious and tough in front of his friends, but curses God in private. I can't even look good for those near me. By the middle of the proceedings with Prester Bane, I'm convinced again that my life could be worse and I should count my blessings. In shame, I capitulate. However, it doesn't end there.

I don't feel like I have a legitimate right to hate my life, but I do. My disease is doing nothing but getting worse, and the nightly talks with Prester Bane put me in my place before I can sleep. The result of this is a quality of life that in earlier years would have been unacceptable. If I knew in 1997 how my life would turn out in 2005, I would have no hesitation. Bang.

Perhaps that's why I'm still alive. It pains me to think that I need my psychosis to stay alive, since it is the tormentor that makes me want to end it all. That condition is familliar to me; my father beat me as a child, especially in prepubescence. Now the only thing that provides the medication I desperately need if I'm to stay alive, is the medical insurance paid for by his twenty-year Army retirement benefits. Euripides would laugh.

In contrast to this cycle, the months I spent with Jaime seemed happier. I was smiling more, and living life a little more, even as my psychosis spun out of control. I loved my time with her, and I wouldn't trade it for any other time in my life since the onset of my disease. I thought I'd finally found someone who could appreciate the good things in me, and accepted me anyway. I was wrong. Pretty much everything I thought was true was a delusion. I let her all the way into my psychosis, and I thought she didn't mind. It turns out that the disease is just as draining on everyone close to me as it is on my own psyche. I thought she was happy with the way that I am; she wasn't. I thought she enjoyed the parts of my life I shared with her and no other; she didn't. I thought she wanted to be with me; by the end she described my company as being like a death sentence. In short, I thought she loved me despite her awareness of the monstrous bits of me; I was very deluded about the nature of myself and my relations to other people. People might have occasional fun with the loudmouthed, cursing, and flamboyant image of myself that most take as my calling card. However, the inner monster that writes my poetry and this blog is destined to be alone. When he talks, it's like talking to a brick wall in iambic pentameter. Right now, as a melancholy poem is brewing in my head, Prester Bane tells me to look at the cross.

Sometimes when I look to that guy for advice, I can't even see myself in Job's place. I can only see the fifth chapter of Mark. I am Legion for we are many. Jacob had his dreams, his struggles, and saw his ladder; he also got everything he never deserved out of life, and then some. I find only pain, solitude, and a brick wall to talk at. I sit, constantly weighing my crow feather of discontent against the cluster of grapes everyone else seems content to share quite nicely. No matter how many grapes they pull, my crow feather stays lighter than the remainder. After all, what would you rather do? Eat grapes and make wine with the rest of you, or read this latest missive from my crow quill pen? Be honest.

Like the old poem says: "I'm as serious as you wish, as pathetic as you desire." I wonder if I'll feel shamed enough to wake up tomorrow?


Xiporah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Xiporah said...

The previous comment was me. I deleted it because when I read it over, I didn't like the way it sounded. It sounded angry, and I didn't want it to be angry

Thomas, I did not break up with you because of your disease. I went into the relationship fully understanding that this is something that takes a considerable amount of your time and strength to cope with. I made the mistake of misjudging a friendship for something more, but I will always treasure your friendship.

There were many differences between us that I was not quite able to accept, one of them was religion. I could not go further in the relationship without asking you to make considerable concessions in that respect, and that would have been wrong of me.

But your disease was not one of the reasons I broke up with you. If it was I would no longer talk to you and I would not be your friend.

The best thing I know I can do for you is to be your friend, and you will always have that from me. Accepting things in a friendship and accepting things in a relationship are two very different things and I would rather accept you as a friend then not know you at all.


Thomas Jackson said...

My faith teeters on the tip of a pin at the moment. I've made many concessions to how I live my life for faith; I cannot say with certainty that it's done anything but make me feel inadequate. Sure, I had my one in six with my Dad's revolver, but that's still one in six. I'm afraid to say how I feel in public, but not anymore. I question justice in my life. Where is my slice of happiness? What the hell did I do? If I knew, maybe I could fix it, but now I see most of my life as either a horrible, horrible coincidence, or a case study in how to bow and kiss feet.

Prester Bane is with me as I write this. He's the only one who sticks around. He's telling me again how much I have to be grateful for, and to not bite the hand that feeds me.

I want to feel more confident of my relationship with God, but my life seems unjust to me. It makes me wonder how long until the real trouble starts, when I feel the wrath of the powers that be. If this is love and communion, I don't know heartache and solitude.

I'm tired of people telling me to keep faith in the face of my problems. I don't want to hear another person tell me how much talent I have, and how successful I'd be if I just applied myself differently. They don't deal with Prester Bane, and they don't know my struggle.

I'm rather fond of the portion of Genesis that tells the story of Jacob and Esau. It's a story about wordliness, forgiving your enemy, and living in accordance with God. Jacob is "sold" Esau's birthright by refusing to feed his starving, not just hungry, starving brother Esau until Esau willingly parts with his inheiritance. Jacob is God's favorite. God is apalled at Esau selling his birthright. Now, I look at it and think how much happier God would have been with Esau if he'd died before reaching home and a meal, and properly heired the birthright to Jacob anyway. Things will be as they will be. I don't feel like I have much control over my life, and that I have completely given away my pride for medication. I'm a starving, thirsty madman searching for comfort in the desert of my experience. If given a bowl of happiness, I would probably gobble it whole for anything. From this perspective, it looks like God wants me to suffer. I should die in my desert, just like Esau. My timeframe is just different: I wait fifty years to die in God's light. Then I wouldn't be a burden, just a fond memory of those who will inheirit the earth. That's why I write poetry, isn't it? I hate my life.