Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dead Eyes revisited

I know, I know. I really haven't been around as much as I should since my Dad passed away. Years of being homeless, his death, struggling to survive, and just trying to get the ship righted has left me dealing with a lot of issues. Yeah, there have been a lot of helping hands, a lot of well wishes, people who would give until they had nothing left, but they have nothing to give. Yet even as I write this, even as I look back at the carnage of the last decade, I don't see it getting better.

I know, while there is life, there is hope. The best things in life are often the most difficult, and that life itself is not meant to be easy. But as I sit here, I look back over things, replay them in my head daily, and at some point I just say inwardly, “What the f—k.” I go to the store, and in some strange way, I am standing across the counter from myself. I go to the pawn shop, and there is someone parting with something they don't want to part with, and I see myself behind their dull eyes.

I talk to Larry, Lisa, and Eran, and I hear myself in their words. I talk to the few people I consider friends offline, and I see myself at their age. But I also see something else in their words, and hiding behind their eyes. Yes, people like Larry and Lisa are scared, and they have every right to be. I see the cashier at the grocery store, and I see the fear and pain lurking at the corners.

I once commented that when asked how I was, I always responded “I'm here,” and that would always leave the door open for people to make a witty retort, or a joking comment about waking up dead. It was always something I said to let those people who were around my level to realize that I understood them, their concerns, their pain. Tonight, I got I different response from the cashier, no witty comeback, no jokes about waking up dead. Just a vacant stare, and a “I know what you mean. I didn't see this for myself ten years ago.” I paid for my meager purchase of clam sauce, and walked out.

You know, ten years ago, I had the world by the tail, I got up every day, went to work, busted my backside, put money back, paid my bills, did all the right things. Years later, I was working publicly, still getting up and going to a dead end job, looking into the eyes of my co-workers and noticing they were dull, like they eyes of some poor dead animal. There was no life back there, they were just an empty shell of a person, going along the currents.

After I had been homeless for a year or so, I was walking out of the changing stall, and looked in the mirror, and I didn't recognize myself. Even now, if I look at a picture of myself, or look in the mirror, I don't recognize the man standing before me. I don't think any of us do anymore. Maybe you are where you want to be in life, and that feeling is not as prevalent as it is with people in my position.

I don't know anymore. This is not what I wanted in life, this is what I have struggled against for years, and people keep saying it'll get better. But I have some bad news for you all. Its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. You can blame it on Trump if you want, it is your right to do so, but the truth of it is, things weren't going to get better, regardless of which of the major party candidates won the election.

Yeah, no matter who won the election, I would still be seeing the same dull expressions of tiredness and pain. The look of people who are doing everything they can to survive, and loosing hope each and every day as they trudge on, like soldiers who have been in the front lines too long, seen too many of their brothers and sisters fall. Yet some of us still get up every morning, and still try and move forward. That is after all the human condition these days. Stand, walk forward until you are unable, fall down, rise again, rinse repeat. All I can say, and no matter the well wishes, and encouragement, every time you fall, it gets just a little harder to get back up. It has taken me nearly 35 years to finally understand why some people crawl into a bottle.