There is a movie in which the protagonist asks if a Tiger can change his stripes. Throughout the film he is told that it is an impossible task, and he tries to fight through the walls that are in front of him. When I first saw that movie, it was an inspiration, but as with all mediums of popular culture, it’s unrealistic. I wanted it to be real, but as I grew up and tried to do the same thing that the main character was pulling in that movie, I realized that the world was full of kings and queens and they truly bury you six feet under at the drop of a hat. I learned this the hard way. I’ve been buried, many times, sometimes the dirt piles up while I’m still breathing, and other times the undertaker comes through with care. It’s fascinating to see how those that are trying to bury you, do so with such quickness.
Underneath the dirt, as breath escapes, there are two choices. You can let the dirt settle, and let it takeover, or you can fight. I’ve always been one to fight, but not until the dirt has been patted down at the top of the pile. Eyes closed, mouth shut, I hold my breath and try to rise through the warms, the roots, and the dirt that others decide to dump on top of you as they walk away from whatever relationship they have deemed no longer necessary.
After you ascend from the depths of burial, you are covered in filth. You don’t look well. You are depressed, despite the triumph. For some of us, that doesn’t wash off easily. It stays for years, then right when you think you’ve made it to a point where you’re fresh, clean, and ready for another round of life, someone kicks you back down six feet. Then the dirt comes through, and you’re once again battling the same thing you were battling before, only the undertaker now wear as a different mask.
When first starting to write, my world was full of angst. Longing for love that wasn’t there, depression about the circumstances of my own self esteem. Then I stopped writing for myself, I was censored, and the quest became a different thing. It became my profession. Writing paid the bills, and kept me on top of the water that is far away from the dirt where people could bury me, and it meant not being social and not having to worry about friends, or lovers, or just about anything else. Then it all collapsed. I had to get a “real” job, so to speak, and my new life demanded socialization. It has taken months to get to a point where I am now able to change the stripes that I thought were mine, and become something else.
But there’s a looming burial, a dirt pile that was waiting, and I found it recently. Upon great joy, I explained to a stranger, there is great sadness waiting. It takes a bit of piss to put the spice in victory, and that’s what was happening as I felt a new found glory on one hand, and the rain of cloud 9 on the other. Was it all a dream? Was she real? Did I make up an epic night to appease my ego? Or did someone find me charming, and safe, did they put on my hat, did they make me laugh and smile, and wish for the proverbial new life? One that had children, the fence, the house, the job, the love, the fairy tale where no one else mattered but her? Monogamy.
They say that liquor causes your senses to dull, so I made it a point not to drink too much the night of my latest vision quest. I was lucid, but perhaps not everyone around me was. I walked, talked, and tried to be friendly with people, as I am trying my best to pass out olive branches to people that are willing to accept them.
My first conversation was met with a scoff. The seat next to her was taken, or as she said, “maybe”, and then no one sat with her the whole night. I didn’t ask anything rude, I simply was trying to be jovial, and sanguine in a venue empty. Then I moved forward to another arena, and found a couple talking. I inquired if they were a couple and the two laughed and said it wasn’t the case, in which case I decided to be friendly yet again. It was there that a magical point occurred, something I’ve not felt in Indianapolis in my 3 years of living here. There was a connection made, a response to inquiry that made butterflies float, and put on rose colored glasses on someone that has never been optimistic about their looks, accomplishments, or anything that would be deemed grand. I always felt bad for those that would want to know me, until this point, when someone wished I could feel love.
“Why so sad,” she said.
She saw vulnerability. I’m never like that in person, at least not with a stranger. She reiterated her feelings, an empath, an oracle, she said she saw it in my eyes. I looked at her, and bluntly said that I’ve felt the sting of life, and am trying to live a different path since my nephew was beaten to death by someone that should never have been trusted. I then spoke of some trials, a natural thing for me, as I dwell on the downsides of my world, more than the upsides. Endearing as I may sound, I am morose, and yet I expected nothing from her, and I gave of myself and words never revealing the things that would make her run. She should have run, I’m not a good man, I told myself in my head as I always do, because I never feel good, I always second guess intentions.
A ride home commenced, a new life formed, and dying in someone’s arms seemed to be the most compelling of notes. In the moments, a new life was illustrated, in the apologies, the communion, and focus, there was a beautiful new world. Something I can’t define, and yet overreach to explain because it means more to me than it probably means to any situation. Idealizing, idolizing, and chasing the wind worked for a moment, no matter how long the ride may have been. Then the wake up. A wake up that there are those that depend on me, a rejection, and a final statement of friendship, and nothing more. Doesn’t matter if you’re in love, if you’re enamored, Cher still slaps you and tells you to snap out of it.
It took me 48 hours to snap out of it. Yet, if they were to call, I’d pull back in. I’d give up a lot. I’m stupid. We are all stupid, and we do this to ourselves as Huxley expounded upon in his work “A Brave New World”. Soma. I’m chasing it, I love it, it’s going to kill me isn’t it? Or is it going to topple a home built for a chance at something that may never happen again, at least in the same feeling, or will it? If I hold my breath, it’s going to be bad. So I am not going to do so. I want to. I’d leave right now. But then what?
Let me leave this diatribe with this.
Herman J. Blume in the movie “Rushmore” smokes a cigarette, drinks some scotch on ice, and looks over his pool. He climbs the steps to a diving board, and then jumps off in a cannonball maneuver and goes deep into the water. Before that, the camera frames him and his facial expressions, his focus, and the disdain of his wife, his kids rough housing, and a birthday party that has only showed off the depression that he has in contrast to the spoils of being wealthy. Blume jumps, hits the water, and the camera follows underneath. He wants to die, he goes to the bottom, and he opens his eyes to see a kid swimming by, a representation of the future, hope, happiness and innocence as Blume wishes to die. This scene speaks volumes about depression, elation, getting what you want, and more (Wilkins, 2018).
When I frame my world, I think of my favorite movies, one of which is “Rushmore”. The depression that Blume shows is relatable to me, as is the unrealistic love that Max has for Rosemary in the movie. The pendulum of emotions that swing within that movie are what I’ve felt for the first time this weekend July of 2019. I felt the love, respect, and honor within moments. I can only hope that it was returned, because my sincerity was not lied about, and even though there was recoil at one point, I never meant to be more than I was that day. Perhaps she remembers me. If not, then I’m left like Blume, trying to make sense of cloud 9, as it starts to rain. A metaphor I consistently threw out that night, because it answers the question, “why so sad?”.