I found a document around 6 months ago, the sheets of paper had turned a light shade of yellow. The recycled paper on the back says “Windows 98 Printer Test Page”. I haven’t been able to put my finger on the exact moment in time, or the specific context that triggered this writing. I do know that it was somewhere between 1998-1999 and that it would make complete sense if it was in that time period. It was an emotionally intense, cathartic and extremely painful time. I had been hitting rock bottom over and over again, cycling through the same self-destructive patterns of the mind and heart. I think I wrote this piece to get out of my head, observe what it was like and get it out of me. There is much to unpack here in the words that follow and I intend to uncover the subtext in this mysterious piece a little at a time…
It all begins with little noises in your head. Rising up and then going low from the front and back of the head like a Dolby surround system. The noises sometimes fade in and fade out, sometimes slowly and sometimes really fast. So fast that you can’t keep track of when they were loud and when they diminished into nothingness to rise once again and peak, hitting the cranium of your head so hard that you felt it break and crumble into a million little fragments that fell and scattered themselves all around you, coming down in a real slow motion causing the noises in the head to transform into a dull happening in the background, the slow shower of the fragments of your skull being the only important thing left to observe.
That’s how I felt when I first knew. When I first knew there was nothing I could do about my life. I could do nothing to change the state of my life. I could not move an inch or speak a word, do or say anything that might bring some relief, some hope, some help, something that could possibly obliterate from my life this nihilistic way of being. I was desperate. Desperate to talk, but with no one to talk to. Desperate to smile from within, but stopped at only faking it. And faking it well.
The drops of rain pitter-pattered in the lawn, on the green blades of grass against the blackness of the wet night. Black and wet night. A black night it was too when I first let the blade of destiny dance at my doorstep. Dressed in tenderness, it posed to be my savior, my guide.
Then there are times you squeeze your eyes very tightly, hoping that the noises in your head will run away and soon disappear. Your eyelids press very hard against your pupils and small black and yellow bubbles are formed in front of your squeezed-tightly-shut eyes that sway backwards and forwards and left and right and up and down and they only keep moving faster and faster in an erratic motion that you feel dizzy and you think you are going to fall down from a height of five thousand feet but the next thing you know is that you have landed on the green and yellow cotton rug you keep on the floor beside your mattress with your night slippers carefully arranged one beside the other so that you don’t have to land on a cold floor first thing in the morning.
This is a normal phenomenon. Everybody has these pangs, everybody hears these noises and everybody sees these bubbles. I am no exception. If others don’t want to admit it, they are only exposing their weakness by not being honest. I say, what is the harm in hearing noises? We hear noises all the time, so what’s wrong if they are coming from your own head?
And I will never go back to that same old psychiatrist who just looks down at the notes he’s been making as though admiring his own literary prowess making me feel like I was disturbing his moment of deep inner balance, silence, meditation or whatever. There is no bigger hoax than a concerned psychiatrist. Maybe mine was more genuine, he wasn’t concerned right from the beginning. I tried that line of therapy but it failed me miserably. Qualified help was not what I needed. Only if anyone knew how to help me. I for one surely did not know how to ask for it.
Now open spaces are a different thing altogether. It’s as though I never knew what the meaning of noise and bubble were. Every millimeter of breeze separated one strand of my hair from the other, washing out an unknown heaviness. Golden-white light rinsing each pore from head to toe with its warmth. Fresh green blades of grass glistening with sunshine. See? No more noises in the head and bubbles in the eyes.
If there were a way of capturing that one single moment of utter bliss and turning it into a lifetime of sustained and consistent joy, how I would like to learn how to make it possible. When every molecule of your being is penetrated with the highest of all pleasures and you feel like you are above all misery and pain and nothing even remotely sad, dishonest or infidel could ever exist, how I wish I could have the experience just to know how it feels. And then on a lovely sunny afternoon, you think that you will finally have that lifetime experience. But that moment comes and goes so fast you barely have the time to look at it in its face let alone make it stay long enough for you to thank it for that momentary ecstasy. It only leaves you to wait for it to come back.
There are more black, wet nights in my life than sunny days. I finish work at the break of dawn and that leaves me only the day to rest and by the time I wake up and get ready I have to get back to work. I can’t help it. That’s the way my life has been ever since that blade of destiny, pretending to be my savior and guide, danced at my doorstep. And I know there is nothing I can do to change my life. Only know that I have bubbles for friends to talk to and symphonies of noises in my head to listen to. I know I don’t smile from within but I know I will one day. The bud that has to bloom will bloom. The nightingale has to sing and so she will. And I will be free.
Listen to my podcast from 2/14/2018 where I unpack this piece of writing. It’s called, “Ready, Set, Shine!”.
Waking up to who you really are is incredibly painful, especially when you have spent almost your whole life hiding. But it is really, really, really worth it. Stay the course. The Light is here. You are it. Now, ready, set, shine!