Category Archives: Tragedy

Face the Music (A Message About Death, and a Song To Unite Us)

Content Warning: Suicide

there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” –Revelation 8:1

(Partner)
This first part is important. You NEED to have the kids go upstairs and not come down to my study, or outside to the back, until all of what is going to transpire has. This is really important and I do NOT want them seeing this. You already know what I’m talking about, and what you are about to discover. I have more to say, but I understand if you will need to put this down for now. Or for a while.
Call emergency services.
It’s okay for it not to be you to first witness what I’ve done. They can. Call them. And wait with the kids. Hold them tight.

I’ve NOT been in a good place. And I think it’s been obvious. Even if it’s not been overt. I know that you’ve known I haven’t been. For some time now. I’ve felt dead. And today as I write this, I’m already gone. Shadows and remnants are just what’s lingering. The only way I can describe it is that my soul—ME—has already passed, and this husk just exists. I don’t feel like I’m killing myself today. I’m getting back to wherever my soul is.

But I don’t want my last words to be spent focusing on how much I’ve been struggling. Or what I’ve been struggling with. Or why I finally did it.
I’m sorry. I am. But I also don’t want this to be about that. We’ve talked in length about how shallow “I’m sorry” can be. And the truth is, I’ve spent the past couple days weighing the hurt I’m causing with the hurt I overwhelmingly feel personally, and apologies and “sorry’s” just feel hollow and vapid for you to read this, and struggle with everything you’re going to have to face going forward, with me being the cause of it.

So here’s what I have to say.
I believe in you. And the kids. All three of you are strong in your own merits and ways. I’ve come to this action I face before me, because I firmly believe you’re all strong enough to face what happens next. You have got SUCH a strength in you, and for as confident as you are in yourself, we both know that comes with a load of self doubt. Self assured is only one side of the coin. All three of you will weather this. But you, now where you’re at.
You WILL weather this.
Trust your gut. And act on it recklessly. I KNOW you sensed it. You felt it. You could pick up on everything before you left with the kids. You could pick up on everything with me for a while now.
Don’t use this as a means of self loathing. Channel it. Sharpen it. Hone it as the weapon it is. Finally come to trust your gut and your judgment.
And walk in it boldly.
I’m not hurt by who you’ve become or revealed yourself to be. I haven’t been. Maybe my pride has. But not me. And yet, something got lost along the way and you need to find it. Live and love who you are. As confusing as that is and as confusing as you are. It’s not a defect. It’s an existential fact. It’s something others should recognize and value just as much as I have come to. And if they don’t? Then they’re not worth keeping in your circle (yes, this includes family).

Tell Elliot to NEVER stop screaming. I know. It’s something in life that rubbed me the wrong way. Got me flared up. And if I were still around, I’d probably still be trying to work on silencing this expression of hers. But she’s our little dragon.
And her scream is her flame.
It’s…POWERFUL. No one would say otherwise once they’ve experienced it.
She has a fire in her that I’ve only ever wanted to temper and channel. Never quench.
So don’t let anyone or anything quench that fire. Please just try to raise her in such a way where she can feel the freedom to know it’s her power, and know when it’s a time to hold it back, and when it’s a time to let it loose.

Bigby. Ohhhh Bigby. Above you and Elliot, I SO worry about what my suicide will do to Bigby. Our little pack wolf. I don’t know if this is a father thing, but he needs to know I SO look forward to seeing him on the other side. Free from all my struggles. Where I can just hold my boy.
Watch out for him. Because I have the strongest feeling that on appearances and first impressions, he’ll seem like he’s handling all of this. And he’s able to cope. And that appearance can and might just go on for years.
But he won’t be. And it won’t matter how much he comes to even understand himself and maybe even how similar we are, he will still be hurting. And as that pack wolf, he NEEDS that pack. Make sure he gets one that is healthy and good and can bring out the best in him. Not the worst.
I look forward to seeing what he becomes.

I look forward to seeing what both our children become.

I look forward to them, BECOMING who they are, and then greeting them in eternity.

And I know, our beliefs of that differ, but you can at least understand me when I say those things. That I look forward to that unity, that reuniting that I believe will happen no matter what.

I couldn’t do it.
This suicide is me “reaching the unreachable star.”
I have too many scars. Or maybe they’re wounds, not yet scars. I feel too many wounds and I’m just…done with the fight.
I’m just done with the fight.
I’m done fighting.

I’ve talked of community, and the hopes of building that. Maybe this will be an inciting event to orchestrate that creation. I sincerely hope that it will. Call it narcissism, or just a suicidal dying man’s silly last request, last hope.
I believe I will see all of my family, and the infinite families created by my family, in the life to come.

In the meantime, all I can do, and find myself ending with, is the following two commands. They’re not original. But boy do they sum up everything I’ve hoped to convey in my life, and now my death:

Be Excellent To Each Other.
And…
Party On, Dudes!

This was the note I had written and taped to the inside of the garage door, that leads into my house.
It’s been a year since I was almost found hanging dead from my back deck.
Since then, I made a promise never to close off again. Never to mask. Never let myself get that close to the edge.
After that weekend, I burned the note I left behind and haven’t revisited it until earlier this week. It wrecked me rereading it.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling more than I thought I would as this…first “anniversary” has approached.

I’ve written a lot about music.
And I’ve written a lot about pain and about death.
I’m a survivor of gang rape and assault. Of an immune deficiency in my childhood before that. I’ve made suicide attempts before, in my youth. Lived recklessly in an attempt to will the Divine to take my life from me. I’ve cut myself so deep and so often over scars left on my in the assault that I’ve had to change shirts or wear multiple layers just to hide my bleeding through.
I’ve cried with “the last and the least.” I’ve found myself in that same category, the last and the least. And the one thing that I’ve come to realize through all of it, is that I’d rather fall silent than speak and not be heard. To have my swan song fall on deaf ears is more painful than anything else I can imagine, and the thought of not being listened to when I need it the most is more painful than anything and everything I’ve survived and endured.
And I’ve found I’m not alone in this.

Death isn’t anything new. Nor is pain. Nor is sickness.
I’m not afraid of those things. I’m not afraid of the end.
I’m scared of singing my dying song and no one listening or caring. I’m scared of working up the courage to cry out, and being ignored. And all too often, that fear drives me to silence. Because I’d rather fall silent, than speak and not be heard.

And I’ve found I’m not alone in this, either.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of life. So much so that I’d run to the “silence in heaven” than face the cacophony that comes from a life of just trying to be heard.
Or maybe it’s more a cacophony of all the other souls in this world just as afraid of life and of living as I am, but have somehow convinced themselves that it’s silence that is scarier. And the world is filled with lost souls, living lives of noisy desperation, believing that their noise is life, because it’s not silence.

When silence is good. Silence causes longing. It causes us to tune our ears and listen.
It’s a call to participate.
To connect.
To unite.
And that’s what we all really want, isn’t it?

Death is the same.
If we all just understood death as the silence we all face, that is.

It’s taken me almost this whole year and a WHOLE lot of growth to realize it’s not being heard that I truly want. I don’t want to be listened to. I don’t just want to be heard or seen. I don’t want to be popular or famous. I don’t want to not be interrupted (Mr. Vice President…).
I want life.
I want unity.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize those concepts are one and the same.
I don’t want my song to be listened to.
I want to play OUR song. With you.

TOGETHER.

(Watch the following clip)

A swan song is a final performance. In the Phaedo, Socrates says that “although swans sing in early life, they do not do so as beautifully as before they die.
Yes. I DID end my suicide note quoting Bill and Ted.
I believed I could find in death what I couldn’t in life.
And then I lived. And the third film came out. And I could not keep myself from crying at the end. Still can’t. Because it conveys a message that lay at the heart of everything I’ve been saying.

Dude, I just thought of something:
How is just listening to a song gonna unite the whole world?”
“It’s almost like they’d all have to hear it in order to play it.”

“And so, it wasn’t so much the song that made the difference.
It was everyone playing it
together.

And it worked.”

I think DEATH is the song that’s going to unite the whole world. DEATH IS THE MUSIC. And it doesn’t just take facing it. It takes surrendering to the silence (and surrender is a type of death in itself) so that we can HEAR it.
In order to play it.
TOGETHER.

Let’s long for life so much that when death comes for us all, it’ll be a party.
It’ll be an event.

I have survived far too much to go quietly.
Let a meteor take me.
Call the thunder for backup.
My death will be grand.
The land will crack.
The sun will eat itself.
” – Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)

FACE THE MUSIC WITH ME.
AND LET’S MAKE IT EXCELLENT.

LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY.

->and the world WILL be better for this… (and for YOU in it)

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini


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Filed under Celebrating, Tragedy, Uncategorized

Trust Issues 2.0 (HIT OR MISS! I GUESS THEY NEVER MISS, HUH?)

(Written 6.June.2019; almost 3 years since my previous post)

Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a white room. The white room was filled with rats.
Rats?! They make me crazy!
Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a white room. The white room was filled with rats.
Rats?! They make me crazy!
Crazy? I was crazy once…

When I was a kid, I all too often engaged in idiosyncratic behavior. Such as repeating a phrase over and over and over and over and over (whether under my breath, or simply in my head), or twiddled my hair until I ended up pulling pieces out.

Things didn’t change as I got older. I just got better at hiding it. And then I simply found new ways for it to manifest. New outlets.
Count stairs.
Make sure volume was numerically on a prime number.
Get my hair or my beard or anything appearance-wise to EXACTLY how I needed it to be before leaving the house. Well…before leaving the bathroom.
Checking the locks on every door.

And then things…kinda settled down. I…kinda settled down.
Things became relatively…okay. I found that having kids did manage to kick up my anxiety, but it also quelled a lot of it. Especially my OCD. You either become even more obsessive, or less. And I found myself becoming less. I didn’t need to get the dollar amount of the gasoline tank a prime number. Then volume didn’t necessarily have to be prime. Appearance, I felt free to not have things perfect. That, or I was simply coming into my own. Door locks were something I didn’t think about. Sometimes I didn’t even lock the car door after getting the kids out (GASP).

I found myself accepting more, being present more, letting go more.
I used to write scripts in my head of how I cinematically desired my life to play out, and then tried my damnedest to make them do so. And as life went on, that wasn’t the case. I took a backseat to my life and began to just let what happens, happen.

And I was fine with it.
To just let life happen to me.

But then…life seems to decide that maybe, perhaps maybe, you’re becoming a little too complacent.
Remember that book you were writing?

What about that album you were set to finish?
Remember how often you used to create, and write, and share and just…put it all out there?

And then…remember how Fuller Seminary said they didn’t want you?
Remember how your acting fizzled out after really taking off?
What about your music?
And your garden, and your backyard, and your longing and yearning for that…SOMETHING.

And that’s when life decides to basically end for you. Nah, your old life is done. Time to start over. Guess what. Remember all those idiosyncrasies? Remember that anxiety? Remember how easily your thoughts drift to suicide? Well those are all going to come back.

Because your life is over.

…but it’s not over.

It’s just that what came before is over. And now it’s something new. And it’s not like you’re new. Because this has happened before. Your life has ended…before…

Quite a few times now. And every time it has, it’s this weird mix of you being the same you, but becoming something else. Like…a Doctor Who…regenerating. Same person, becoming different persons.

I wish I could go into details. And looking back, I oh so often do. But this time, it’s this multiple front that involves SO much that’s in flux, and varying family in my life that I just don’t feel I can come right out and say. If /when things get resolved, then I’ll probably end up editing this. And I’m more than happy to share personally, so message me if you’re genuinely curious, cause it involves some pretty heavy and ridiculous shit.

So here’s where I’m at: I have this overwhelming feeling that I SHOULD be titling this post “Trust Issues 2.0”. Because it feels like a new beginning. “Trust Issues” was my very first post on my website. And it wasn’t as thematic, it wasn’t as clickbait-y as other posts, and it was a bit more freeform and just stream of thought and consciousness than any of my posts became from there on out.

Since then, I wrote (read: contributed) for major online publications, I switched career goals at least 3 times, I moved, I became a parent (twice), I began professoring, and got ordained as a reverend.

In fact, THIS POST is the first I’ve written since those last two have occurred.

I don’t have any pithy or profound endings right now. But I can say this, I really and truly, actually think it’s time to “lay down the melancholy burden of sanity” and conceive the strangest project ever imagined.

It’s time to get back to it.

Time to go to work.

->and the world WILL be better for this…

 

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Filed under Dreams, Tragedy, utter nonsense

Make the World (America) Small Again

(Written 9.November.2016)

I was equally torn between not wanting to fall asleep, and going to sleep but not waking up.

My son isn’t to an age where he has much understanding outside of his family, and his immediate surroundings. So last night as my wife and I were nervously watching the election results pour in, he came into the living room with his tiger and his penguin, rubbing his eyes, with his back to the TV, looking at us. As exhausted as I was, I wanted to get him back to sleep so I could return to nervously flipping between news channels.

And while I was aware that I was facing a choice which extended beyond meeting his needs, it didn’t stop me from still being anxious.

Nevertheless, I fell asleep on the floor next to his bed, stroking his little hand.

My wife woke me up around 1 (without calling Ice Cube the top gun), and as I stirred awake, so did my son. As she took over, I went to bed, now wide awake. I looked at my phone, and discovered Donald Trump is going to be our next president.

And I could not fall back asleep.

I was equally torn between not wanting to fall asleep, and going to sleep but not waking up.

Now, I didn’t vote. And you can feel free to tear me apart for it in the comments, but it’s my choice and I accept all consequences. I didn’t want Donald Trump to be president, not because I wanted Hillary Clinton, but because I felt I had a pretty good idea of just what America would become under his “leadership.”

And between California Proposition 60 and the Presidential Election itself, it’s clear that what America wants to get off to is an unprotected dick.

Hillary Clinton didn’t seem like a great alternative either, and I didn’t want her as acting Chief. But I could at least see a silver lining in a Hillary Clinton Presidency – even if she does a shitty job, I can tell my unborn daughter that she can be President, because that role has finally been pioneered. That’s how I made sense of the country choosing Hillary Clinton. And all I could think about with a Presidency under Donald Trump was that it was going to be just like when in high school, and my soccer coach became Vice Principal.

He was a real dick.

That’s how I made sense of this terrible election, and the state of our country.
That’s what I thought it was going to be.

And then America chose.

And between California Proposition 60 and the Presidential Election itself, it’s clear that what America wants to get off to is an unprotected dick.

I finally fell asleep.

And woke up this morning to my son quietly at the side of my bed.

I feel soft. With a gentle spirit. In the dark.

I got up, started a pot of coffee, kissed my wife (I can’t remember which order), and resigned myself to face just what the world had and will become.

It was as if the lights had suddenly been turned off and I was faced with what seems like overwhelming darkness. As a friend of mine posted on Facebook, the only way I can describe feeling is “soft.” I felt and continue to feel incredibly soft today. Gentle. And it’s a strange place to be. And a strange feeling to have in such a place. To have a gentled spirit while in the dark can only seemingly be described by just saying, “I feel soft, with a gentle spirit, in the dark.”

And my interactions with my son today have been an expression of that. Throughout the morning things have been calm, quiet, and…well, soft. My wife and I both struggled with a desire to avoid the inevitable array of news and coverage and social media. It’s easier for me because I simply have to make the choice to not look at my phone all day.

But even with that simplest of tasks, I still found myself looking at Facebook. And more than looking, I wanted to see people I knew voted for Trump gloating. But I’m tired of being angry, and I’m tired of getting angry. And I wanted to see those that also wished against Trump express their heartache. But I’m tired of feeling shock, and I’m tired of feeling sadness, and I really REALLY don’t feel optimistic.

I feel soft. With a gentle spirit. In the dark.

And it was while I was sitting at the table, finishing my food and the pot of coffee, that my son tugs on my arm again and again, telling me he wants me down. Normally I get frustrated with this, and this morning was no different. I just wanted him to let me be, to go play, and let me absorb myself in the reality that is. I want to make sense of it all. I want to plan out and prepare for all those unknowns that are yet to come. I want to orient myself to this surreal sate of being.

And he wanted me down on the floor, on his level, to play, read books, to color, to sing, and snuggle his animals with him.

Chesterton said, “…if a man would make his world large, he must be always making himself small.

It was a form of this statement that came to mind and my son was whining and pulling at my arm and saying, “down.” There’s a scene in Man of Steel that always gets me to cry (and still succeeded in doing so when I looked up a clip for this post) where a young Clark Kent is overwhelmed by his manifesting abilities and in talking to his mom, tells her, “the world’s too big, Mom!” And lovingly, calmly, and quietly, she tells him, “then make it small. Just focus on my voice.”

 

I don’t have superhuman abilities. But since becoming (not by choice, necessarily) a full time stay at home parent, I’ve discovered that I can be present with my son day in and day out.

I can enter his world.

Which is huge and exciting and unexplored.

A world with countless possibilities, and also dangers. But a world where he knows that whenever he’s afraid, I’m there in his world to hold him and tell him he’s safe. For as long as he needs it.

Chesterton said, “…if a man would make his world large, he must be always making himself small.

My trouble is that I desire to make my world—the world—small. Because if the world is small, then it’s knowable. And if it’s knowable, then there’s a sense that it’s controllable.
I can’t see that when I make the world small, I miss out on adventures, and unknown experiences that can surprise me. I miss out on SO MUCH when I make the world small.

Which is why when things happen that completely deconstruct the world that I’ve made small—that turn out the lights—that make me feel like I’ve lost my small little world and I’m floating in the emptiness of space, I’m faced with some difficulties.

But when I make myself small…
When I enter my son’s world and see it through his eyes…
When I let go of trying to know, and trying to control…

When I focus on one voice and one voice alone…

That big world isn’t so frightening anymore.

One of the most quoted parts of the second Batman film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight, is the speech about darkness and light. Harvey Dent says, “The night is always darkest just before the dawn.”
When I actually think about this, based on experience, it’s a bullshit statement. The night is darkest when you go from bright light to no light. It makes you feel as if all truly is darkness; as if light has abandoned you. But give yourself enough time to adjust, and you begin to see light—wherever it may be, however dim it may be.
…if you’re looking for it.

There’s a tendency to close your eyes when you get scared. And what’s scarier than darkness?
But if you keep your eyes open long enough, you see light in the most unexpected places, interacting and doing things in the most unexpected ways.

When I focus on one voice and one voice alone…
That big world isn’t so frightening anymore.

I wish I could give answers.

I wish I could say what all of this is for.
I wish I could give something tangible that helps make the world smaller again, more manageable, comfortable.
But I’m realizing that I don’t really want to.

I just want to hang out with my infant son.

I want my eyes to soon adjust to the dark.

And I want to seek the light.

I want to be small. And enjoy the world, for all the good it has.

And it sure does have a lot of good.

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Filed under Political (as such), Tragedy