I stare into the great divide of Time. Standing in the middle, there are so many possibilities and so many failures. I find myself testing the limits of life and life testing its limits within
me. At times, I feel as if I am pure and at one with the universe. At other times, I want to disappear into the ground altogether— to become bark, twigs, and pine needles.
There is a passion in life that relinquishes us from pain. There is a small light, like a distant star, that flickers in our hearts and grows as we distance ourselves from the maelstrom
of disillusionment. I became the recluse; I became the hermit. I spent almost a year alone, on a star-crossed voyage and searching for tranquility, to realize that by closing myself
off from the intimate experience of human existence, I was stuck in a perpetual state of stagnation. It was only by losing everything that I gained back the happiness and love of
the self. To grow, we must become vulnerable. We must allow ourselves to experience the pitfalls of life, no matter how much it destroys us. I have been twisted and broken apart
more times than I would ever like to admit. But, after all of this, how strong I am now. I no longer fear death, for i have been reborn. If we shut down and put up walls against that
which is good and pure, we become feral and foolish. We become that which we despised in our significant others. We become heartless and cruel and forget beauty and
But it is a choice. We choose to learn from our experiences, and we choose to find a mode of transfiguration that alters the fabric of Time. With distance from the past, we can
analyze and rebuild. We can be less biased and capable of seeing what is real and what is theory. We can see our weaknesses and our strengths, and see where the fault lies
and how we can alter our own futures to preserve our pasts.
I have walked to the desert. I have been lost in the valleys, struggling for air, waiting for the sand to bury me inside myself permanently. I have been empty space and full of life. I
have experienced the depths of sorrow where one feels as if their entire body with spontaneously combust— where you feel there is no respite but to feel powerless and helpless.
I have experienced losses that would injure a weaker man, and I have seen God and the Devil in utero. I have seen the night eclipse, sitting in the corner of a darkened room,
waiting for it to overtake me. I have lost a forming child, with blood on my hands, and I have sacrificed myself and torn out my own heart from my breast to save face.
I have drowned myself in drink, cursing my failures at not being able to keep it all together, and extended my mind outward to where I became everything I most feared. I became
a creature that existed purely for pleasure, the carnal creature of night that only arrived at decision and derision through instinct and primitivism, and not a day goes by that I don’t
pay for this reversion to savage nature. By experiencing the loss of reason and refinement, and allowing my lower nature to take hold, I only fell further away from myself, and
lashed out at those that I loved the most. To become the darkness, the wilderness, I had to become all the things I hated in my significant other to experience what it meant to be
human, and ultimately to surpass that and become whole again. I fucked without feeling, I left without warning, and into the wilderness I became predatory and ultimately hated
that which I became. Once, a creature of love and light, i became cruelty, dishonesty, and all those hurtful things that bring out the malevolent nature in mankind.
It was in this rebellion that I isolated myself from the world to regain my humanity. I became the lone wolf, I hunted my prey and returned to the primitive hut, and embraced the
rawness of Nature and slept in the arms of the mighty spruce. I went out into the world shooting arrows and was forever transformed by it. i became silence and became the cyclic
nature of seasons. I became a ghost of my former self, and I projected myself into the world wiser and humbled by the passage of time. I traveled great distances to live on the
cruz of experience, to allow myself freedom from the structures and plans and lists. I became a seeker of truth, and beauty, and knowledge. Like the phoenix, I was reborn from
the primitive into civilization. as in all things, to live we must experience death. And so, in 2009, I accepted my fate and embraced change.
But, there were still these great walls. Masses of stone and aggregate rock, in which i could not see out and others could not see in. I built up a wall around myself so high which
had once felt so safe, and now felt like a prison ward. I was haunted by the past, afraid of the future, and afraid of giving up my freedom for fear of ruin. I was afraid of losing
myself again in someone else, and ultimately afraid to experience being loved and loving because it is something I had never experienced on a “normal” or “healthy” level without
extreme sacrifice. I had worked so hard , jumping through this fire, to regain my freedom that I feared being vulnerable. It is human instinct to run away from the fire, to run away
from everything that could potentially hurt or break us. So, in my walled fort, I ran around fighting invisible battles. I built a roof, I locked all of the doors, and without windows I was
enshrouded in darkness yet again. I had spent so much time trying to build a barrier between myself and the pain that awaited me outside, that I was beginning to become less
happy and unfulfilled. Reality had set in, as it always does. The icy waters inside my heart were replaced with the lukewarm, and in the darkness I began to feel cold for the first
time. I began to grasp at the cave-like soil, to smell the frigid air, screaming in agony at the error of my deliberation. I had planned everything to perfection, but did not plan on
isolation breeding intense loneliness. Perhaps it was reparations for my previous cruelty, but after two years of failing to be moved by humanity, I cried in my fragility. I cried for the
loss of love, cursing myself for my weakness and foolishness. I cried because there was nothing left to do but grieve the loss of innocence, of childhood, of unrequited love, and of
the falsities of modern romance.
A shaft of light broke through the darkness, and when the dust settled, I embraced the warmth. And i was hurt by its inert beauty, and I felt that this time, I must surely perish. But I
did not. I had given up my deviance, to become pure and humbled by it, and in finding my true nature the walls began to fall away. In the end, i stood in a clearing, mobile and
unafraid, and there were trees, sunlight, and air— beauty all around. I had recognized that life is a transient state, and that although bloodied and bruised my heart was at the
time, it could be mended. I took a sewing kit out of my pocket and stitched the wounds back together. It stung, this needle’s new sensation of fear and mistrust, of taking risks and
the potential for more wounds, but it only hurt for a short while before it healed. And despite years of failures, of heartbreak, and bouts of intense sadness or longing, I would take
the needle and thread and sew myself back together again. Time may not heal all wounds, but the body is quite malleable and able to resurrect itself in dire times. With faith, all
things are possible.
Thus, in twenty-six years I have experienced abandonment, ecstasy, countless betrayals, transformation, pain so harsh that you felt crushed by it, impulse-driven actions,
happiness so profound your heart might burst (but it doesn’t, of course), disappointment (in myself and in others), jadedness, isolation and seclusion, harsh criticism, intense
anger, lunacy, tenacity, debilitating depression, indifference, apathy, empathy, tragedy, multiple deaths, misguided love, broken bones and broken hearts, confusion, longing,
passion, fear that shook me to the marrow, mistrust, failure, lack of faith.....but despite these mixed emotions endured, I never truly lost who I was and the goodness that was in
my heart. And despite how you feel right now, someday you will see that the cruelties of others are no match for your good heart. When we are hurt, we become blind. We choose
not to see how our actions transform us and how we affect others, for fear of having to scrutinize ourselves. Instead, we run. We build up walls. We resurrect the night and
We live on pretense for our rations because it is far easier than experiencing loss again. We look for shelter within ourselves or within the inner cavities of others. We believe we
fear nothing, and create distance between ourselves and others, convincing ourselves that we don’t need anyone or anything to sustain us. We even throw ourselves against the
rocks, like crests in an ocean, believing that we no longer fear God or isolation— that we are immune to human emotion; that we have overcome that fatal flaw of existence. We
spin out of our reality and into the storm, all the while believing we have made ourselves whole and that there is stillness were we stand. We do not see the broken bodies we
leave in our wake. We destroy what we love and push everything away that might love us because we feel inadequate and childlike again. We may run through the forest and feel
free and unafraid, but as we tumble down the hill in our haste to experience everything we felt we did not have to freedom to do before, we find ourselves much further down the
incline and must climb our way back up again to the precipice of the existential.
I created a self-defense mechanism when I was hurt and at times revert back to this behavior. I became extremely critical or angry— I would be hateful and vengeful, like a
termagant, forgetting my morality and good nature; my aversion to conflict. There is a warrior within me who fights against injustice and the cruelty of man. I felt that by defending
myself, it was confidence and shutting my emotions off from the situation, I would maintain my integrity and independence. While this impulsive behavior is not always easy to
navigate or control, it leads predominantly to a cold and calculated degree of self-control. I would create an allowance of slights against me, but afterward would become cold and
apathetic and completely removed (which is what happened with Brandon, Graham, and Chris). And in doing so, I realize that the greatest sin of existence is to be apathetic. It is
far better to exhibit anger or tears, to admit that we are human and fallible at best, capable of feeling, than to become like a stone and immoveable.
It is when we open our hearts to others, and take the blinders off, that we may heal ourselves. Before that, we stubbornly only believe that we are “healing,” yet in reality we are
simply being cowards and running away from our problems due to fears and insecurities. It is instinctual to preserve the self. It took me several years to come to terms with this,
and it is unfortunate, because in reality life is far too short to spend years to come to such an elementary conclusion. Most human motivations are caused by manifestation or by
fear. It is the people who process their emotions, work through it, and try again that master their fears. And truthfully, failures are successes in that they get easier as time goes
on— we learn from them. We must live through tragedy to feel alive. It is a system in which I will never understand and causes me to question the kindness and benevolence of a
higher power. The Buddhists believe the way to Enlightenment is to suffer and experience pain. And yet, I cannot fully disagree. There is a very transformative quality to pain, and
death and life are multifaceted yet not dissimilar. That which breaks us, shakes us, bends our wills, and brings us to our knees ultimately transforms us. You were a different
person behind the curtain than when the curtain was removed, and so will be a different person five years from now when everything from the present is just a distant and