To the ones with horrors on the inside.
Most people never really talk about the bad things that happen to them. No one really tells you how gritty real life can be. If you have scars, you must hide them in order to fit in with the rest. Throw on a mask and pretend you’re happy.
I’ve been told that I look like a happy person, that it’s unimaginable that I could ever have a shameful past – a story that’s drenched in grief, death, bloody flesh and agony. But, it’s the truth. I grew up on a reservation located in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest of BC. As with most reservation life, mine was surrounded by alcoholism, drug addiction and abuse. Not many people can say that they make it out of there alive. A lot of people never leave, just to sit contently with their vices and sadness.
There are some that don’t understand that I am a human being suffering from depression and anxiety. That sometimes, I feel empty on the inside with fast moving motions of the world blurring around me. Some days, I’m just not okay. Some days, I can remember just exactly how some people scream and cry out. I remember the stale stench of alcohol and vomit filling up the house I was supposed to call home, like rotting corpses. I remember walking through endless forests for hours and hours, trying to find a place with peace.
I don’t know when it all started, these grey clouds that swirled my insides into a mess. As a kid, I was always a bit too sensitive. I felt too much; too much sadness, too much happiness, and too much torment. People have always looked at me strangely, like they knew what was going on in my head. I don’t recognize the person who I once was. I just know that I was a small boy, feeling an ethereal galaxy blooming inside me as I stared at the sunset on a warm summer’s day, or the serenity of the snow fall and fairy lights. I used to look at the world with a golden glaze, as everything was bright and shiny. I think I used to be bright and shiny. Except, so it goes, life became dark and stormy. Somewhere in my childhood, I saw all the monsters and how real they could be. Shouts and screams, the tears fall down. Somewhere along the way, I saw that there was no happy ending. Around the time of elementary school, I found myself caught between being awake and asleep, the horrible nightmares I used to have haunted me as I tried to fight. Just a simple morning, like any other day, I contemplated death and what happens after. I have never felt so small and helpless as I did that one day. No, I knew at that age I didn’t believe in god, the holy heavens with beautiful angels that sing sweet melodies. What happens after you die? I asked myself numerous times and all I can picture is emptiness, black. It was a place that no one has ever seen before. All thoughts, memories, emotions would cease to exist. I would fall endlessly into oblivion with no way of screaming or crying out. The world would stop, the people would carry on as usual, but with me lying in cold, emptiness. Something about the whole fuckness of it all felt right. When I die, I would become nothing. It sent a chill into a gaping hole in my chest that only I could feel. Suddenly, my life was turned upside down and had to fight to keep the grey from creeping up into my very being.
The older I grew, the more grey there was. I don’t know what cursed me to live such a life filled with sorrows and desolation. People I loved were ripping off pieces of their insides and bleeding into the night. Drugs turned them into belligerent bastards. Alcohol kept their scars searing and alive. As days went by, the scared young boy I was turned into a young adult, a teenager. Hormones messing me up, bursts of energy turning into fatigued in a matter of hours. At the start, I was just like the rest of them. Wide-eyed, and full of wonder and a sense of coolness to be older than others. However, “The Nothingness”, as I liked to call it, came creeping in, slowly eating away at who I was. Days began to blur, my memory escaping me. I used to sit alone in bed, watching the light fade, dislocated in time and emotion. Dark thoughts started to form in my head and monsters called me from my sleep.
People from my hometown like to preach about how small towns are the best because of the wholesome community and close-family relations. I call bullshit on that. They only like you if you are bright and shiny. If you are worth something to them. When you are a mutt like me, they won’t think twice to kick you to the curb, to blindly ignore the suffering you go through. It’s always going to be your fault. Somewhere along the way, of dealing with adolescence, I stopped feeling. It didn’t happen all at once. It was like, they took pieces of me, the ones with broken insides. Every drink they took, every line they snorted, and with each slit on the wrist, I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the nothingness. I watched from the side lines as they all ripped off of who they were and set fire to their insides. All throughout high school, I was numb on the inside. Secrets and lies filling up my throat, so I couldn’t speak.
Yes, I’m fine.
Yes, I’m okay.
No, I was just feeling ill.
I couldn’t tell people about how there was no food in the fridge. I couldn’t talk about the screaming and the yelling. I wasn’t allowed to talk about the fact that I couldn’t breathe most days. No, it was all about them and I had to keep it together for it all not to fall apart. I told myself, time after time, I had to keep it together. I had to make sure it all went well. No one had to know what happened behind closed doors and the screams behind them all. I didn’t drink, do drugs, or even smoke cigarettes. It was all to keep it together. I couldn’t be like them. I couldn’t afford to fall apart. Not when a tiny mouth depended on me to feed it. Tiny hands, always wanting something up higher. I gave out soft whispers in the night when the little one used to have nightmares. I thought I could be better, I thought that I was if I didn’t set fire to my insides like them. I thought everything would be all right. But, life is cruel and tragedy after tragedy strikes me when I’m most vulnerable.
Suddenly, one day, it all fell apart. Suddenly, all the things we weren’t allowed to talk about, we were screaming at each other. It’s strange, how you do anything for each other, but it takes is one tiny little mistake, and all the carefully built walls come crumbling down. I said horrible things, she said even worse. She, knowing perfectly well that we weren’t allowed to talk about it – I had my rules, she had hers. But, as if reading my mind, as if she could hear the screams in my nightmare, what haunts me in the day, she shrieked all the demons I had that plagued my mind, the guilt’s and burdens I carried with me everyday. It was my fault he hurt her. I wasn’t there to protect her. I was weak. She probably didn’t mean what she said, fueled by drunken rage, but it didn’t matter. You couldn’t take back the words that were exchanged that day. It cut through me, as I knew it was all my fault, that I was a screw up, a coward. I couldn’t save anyone, I just let them burn.
With the truth swirling around me like madness, I ran. I ran as far and fast as I could, not even to stop at the questioning people I passed on the street. Just to go. Oddly, without really knowing where I was going, I was beneath the Hagwilget suspension bridge, on the rock cliffs, over 200 feet above the Bulkley River. I couldn’t breathe, everything ached, and I felt like I would collapse any second. I was clawing at my chest, trying to get my breathing to slow down, but I couldn’t. Nothing was working. The pain wouldn’t go away. I felt tears brimming at the edge of my eyes, and yet they wouldn’t come.
I am worthless
I am worthless
It’s all my fault
I couldn’t save anyone
I hurt them all, and I will hurt them again.
I’m at the edge, the very edge of the rocky ground. If I just took one more step I would fall off the cliff. I would miss the river, but hit the jagged rocks. It would probably be quick. Just a splatter on a sea of grey, like an insignificant bug. And the best thing about it all, nobody would know. I’m under the bridge, away from any prying eyes. I would take a step, splat, no more. All this pain, heartache and guilt that plague my dreary days would be over with. I wouldn’t have to feel anymore. All the secrets, the lies, my missing pieces, it wouldn’t matter. It could all end and I will never have to feel again.
Except, I can’t. I can’t stop picturing her, this angel that came into my life. She, the one that calms the stormy seas of mass guilt and shame. She, who wears the same scars as I do. She knows what I go through, the sound of her voice, her name, of which reminds me of the universe, it all settles the aching demons. I see her laughing. I love that smile upon that beautiful face. I tell her everything, all the walls come down and she has always been there for me.
And there it is, the tears that wouldn’t come. I can’t. Not now, not when it’s all about to fall apart. She needs me. She needs me the way I need her. I could never do this to her. Everyone else in this tiny, fucked up town has let me down, has taken my bloody pieces for themselves, but she has been the only one to give back. To reach out to me in the darkness and tries to bring me back. I hate them all, the people that are supposed to be there for me, the ones I was supposed to put my trust in, the ones that say blood is thicker than water. Fuck them all. But she, she who loves the chaos of wildfire, she needs me and I need her.
So, I took a step back. And then another. And then I was climbing back over the fence, onto the bridge and walked back the way I came. I was walking back, but not to that house filled with horrors, but to her. I know this is the right decision, that I heard her voice for a reason. She’s the angel with no wings, the angel without heavens consent. She made me believe that there could be something more. And when I knocked on her door, she led me to safety and let me know that I wasn’t alone. And I guess that’s what we all need sometimes. Just a reminder that there are others going through something just as horrible. That we all write in scars and are covered in grey.
It was five years ago, this month, that I tried to kill myself. It was five years ago that I let someone else control my life and my happiness. Thanks to some good friends, the ones I could never live without, they helped me get back on my feet. All it took was to be there for the bad times. I don’t believe in telling someone “it gets better”. It doesn’t. It never really does. But, you’ll find, you get stronger.
I may not believe in God, but I do believe in something more. The universe, some sort of cosmic energy that gives you signs that life will be all right when it all comes crumbling down. When blood splatters and legs buckle. I’m glad, happy, content with the knowledge that I wasn’t meant to jump that day. When it all became too much, I wanted it all to end because it was suffocating me. Except, all it took was a person of love to remind me that I am all but human. That it’s okay to fall apart. As humans, we need imperfections to flow seamlessly.
And so, this is all for you. You, who feels too much and not enough at all. You, who are haunted by ghosts and creatures of the night. You know what I’m talking about. Soft whispering’s that will tell you that you are not good enough. You see the looks of others faces when they turn to you. You feel the cold drought sweep over your body when you least expect it. I know you hurt now. I know that it’s all a tangle of fuckness that burns you on the inside. It’s not always like this. You won’t always feel this way. Somedays, this will suck. Somedays will be unbearable. But, let me tell you something. There is something out there for you. And it’s up to you to find it. It’s gonna be a struggle, a fight. And even when it gets dark, you’ll find you have never felt more alive.
Fight for one more day.
I still struggle day to day. I still find lonely nights suffocating. It all still hurts. Except, even so, there have been moments in life that remind me before the Nothingness came. I still find sunsets beautiful and feel the love of a first snowfall and fairy lights. And something I didn’t see coming, I found the others. The ones that talk like me. The ones that feel as I do. They know of the rotting pieces inside and talk of dark nights. But, they will give something back to you, something you never knew you were missing. I’ll never regret that step back. I’ll never stop second guessing. I couldn’t imagine a life without her, the angel from the the dark that caressed my soul and led me through the bad things in life.
I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, hit a lot of setbacks.
Even so, I still believe this has all been for something. I still find sunsets beautiful, even with the scars that have been written. I know that we will find each other. And we’ll talk about it.
Fight for one more day.