Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crashing and Burning

June 11, 2008.

I'm crashing. I guess it's time I admitted that. The last few months, I have been trying to convince myself I am alright, but I'm not. Things that have been on a slow boil in my head are starting to come to the surface, and I would ignore them if I could. But I can't. I've been waging a war against my traitorous brain all my life, and I've yet to win a battle. Besides, I promised myself that there would be no more masks, no more delusions. It's crystal clear how I first came to think they were necessary, though. The desire to keep my parents or teachers from worrying about me when I was eight is the same desire that wants me to keep from writing this now. Funny how that works. Ha. Ha. Really freaking hysterical.

I'm sure all of the impending execution dates are not helping the situation any. I recently wrote a really retarded entry trying to dispel some of my feelings on the matter, but it did not help. Mainly because I cannot convince myself that anyone really gives a flip about these men. Writing does not come easily to me. Usually it is forced. It's especially tough to sell myself on the idea of trying to pound out something relatively poetic when I know the seeds are going to fall on dead ground. More than that though. I took a very...preachy(?) tone in that entry, which was an absolutely ridiculous thing for me to have done. I have no right to preach to anyone about anything. I know nothing. I am nothing. In retrospect, it all feels dishonest to me, somehow. By lying to myself, I carried the lie to you. Maybe. I still don't really know what I was trying to do.

Anyways, it's not like this is my first experience with death. My two best friends growing up died in automobile accidents. My best male friend from high school, a man who climbed mountains for fun, slipped and fell on a doorstep and cracked his head open when I was a sophomore in college. I still haven't worked my way through the absurdity of that death. Everyone else is gone, which isn't the same thing, but it may as well be for practical purposes. My family is destroyed, and it's my own fault, and I've never really figured out how to move past the mourning phase for all of that. Don't know how. Some things just don't fade for me like they seem to do for some people. I guess I've said before that living here is a little like being in a war zone. All of your friends are biting it, and there isn't anything you can do about it. You get a manual when you arrive here which is brimming with useless information on how to follow the rules, but they leave the part out about how you are supposed to deal with the death of everyone you know. Think back. How did you cope with the loss of a friend? Of a family member? Ever lose more than one in a short period of time? What would you feel? I don't guess it's much of a mystery as to what happens. Your heart hardens up; you become desensitized, or you start to lose it. I wonder if that is what is happening to me. I've seen more than a few real nutters here...there is one (at least) in every section. They are the finished product though: I've never seen the process start to finish. In my more objective moments, I think I should be journaling more, as I doubt there are too many true, first-person accounts of the descent into La-La Land. The cynic in me even thinks it might be an interesting read, but most of the time I don't really have the energy to care anymore. And as far as the calloused heart thing goes, that would be a blessing, because at least the scabs would hold together all of the broken pieces floating around in there.

Why the hell am I writing this? I guess I'm doing it because my cousin came to see me today. Together, we watched an inmate's last visit with his wife. She kept touching the glass, almost reflexively, as if maybe it had somehow vanished in the last few seconds. I don't even think she realized she was doing it, just frustrated, crushed emotions making her hands dance about as if they were marionettes. My cousin was aghast that they are not allowed some form of contact, on this, his last day on earth. I keep telling people that all of us on DR have already touched our last human beings, but it doesn't seem to sink in. When noon rolled around, a whole team of guards walked his wife out, and she turned one last time to look at him, and all the pain and broken hearts of a lifetime were laid out like an open wound. I don't know if a soul can crack, but I do know that I am done with this. Done fighting a battle that nobody cares about. Done making excuses for people and ideologies that have no trace of humanity left in them. Done. Done. Done. A thousand fucking times done.

I know most of you think that I took a stand on this issue because I was trying to save my own skin. Even my few fans...admit it, you've thought this more than once, probably. You don't understand me at all. You think I care about living. Or want to. Even in my best of moments, I don't pretend that to myself. I'm tired. Tired of being me. I've never been enamored with this circus freak-show of a world. I spoke against this place not for myself, but because it is a travesty, a diseased pustule on the face of your supposed morality. Hypocrites! How can you sentence a man to death for not valuing human life? And to claim the right for this in the name of Justice, in the name of Closure! Just words, cold-comfort words which mean absolutely nothing compared to the pain coming off that wife's face like waves crashing onto a shoreline. Just words. Sometimes I think they are all meaningless, every last one of them. Even these words. Especially these words.

So, yeah, I'm tired. That seems to be the theme of this stillborn monstrosity of an entry. As I type this, I am giving serious thought to cutting off my arm. Been avoiding the topic lately, here and in my letters, because so many people have told me that they are praying for me and "expecting supernatural healing." I didn't want to disappoint anyone (God, how I hate the cancer of not wanting to let anyone down), so I've been making excuses. For the doctors. For this state. For God. How am I supposed to tell people that Dr. Zond recently told me that the surgery was a "catastrophic failure" and that he "didn't know what they (the doctors in Galveston) were thinking?" So, after nine months, my arm is still worse than useless, only now half the nerve endings in my arm or severed or destroyed, and I have this wonderful scar that is so presentable that I don't think I will ever be able to take my shirt off on the yard again. And the best part is, nobody really thinks they are going to pay for me to have another surgery...frankly, one was abnormal. Two would be unheard of. I think I've been mature about this. I've tried to divine the reasons behind this whole mess, to figure out what life-lessons I am supposed to have gleaned from it. I took the high road, believing that if I asked, God would give me a hand on this one (Matthew 7:7-8). And I guess I am left wondering why it is that every single prayer I have ever asked of Him has come back with a negative response. All my life, I've begged for Him to be the God of Luke 15, to come and find me in the wilderness and pick me up and put me on His shoulders and take me back with Him. I prayed for this when I was fifteen and a ghost in High School. Even after I claimed to myself that I had stopped believing in Him, I still begged for acceptance and calm and balance and to feel loved and normal. And finally, to keep me from exploding. I've been told that things happened the way they did for a purpose. Maybe so that our family could be reunited in heaven. That December 10th was the only way for this to happen. I guess I swallowed that, bitter pill though it was. But sometimes I feel lost, and confused, and I have to wonder about the kind of God that requires two good people to get mowed away like grass for the soul of someone like me. Frankly, there were other ways that this could have gone down. Many other ways that didn't require such a priceless sacrifice on the alter of hate and violence. Yeah, yeah, I get it. I only see what is right in front of my face, and He sees all of eternity. Fine. I accept the logic of that. But it doesn't change the fact that what is right in front of my face sure smells bloody rotten. And yeah, maybe it's all Satan's fault. But if I build a model rocket, and launch it off, and it comes down on somebody's roof, then I am responsible for the damages. I'm hardly perfect. It was a simple error on my part that I damaged that person's property. Now, if I mapped it all out, did the math, and purposely damaged the roof...that is something else. A perfect, omniscient Creator fashioned the universe, and he did so with the full knowledge that he was going to make Satan at some point. He, the inventor of it all, had to have known all about things like envy and pride, and that eventually, number two would try to become number one. And in the midst of all of this, he decided to give to us the winner of the "All-Time Worst Gift" award: free will. He plopped this all down on us, and gave us really flawed processors and really buggy programming, and then...well, you get the point. As to how he can feel at all surprised that we are such disappointments is beyond me. So, yeah, maybe Satan gets the blame, and God's responsibility in all this is somehow forgotten. I'm an idiot, but I do know this: none of this was a mystery for Him; he saw it all coming.

Tired. Tired of seeing judges go to any length to dance around doing the right thing because they know they won't get re-elected unless they tow the conservative line (And while I may be some-what left of center politically, it also bothers me equally that there are liberal judges behaving the same way in other states).

Tired of losing pen-pals to the same magical disappearing act that claimed all of my free-world friends. Maybe the stamps aren't much to you, but I refrain from eating sometimes to be able to afford to write you...and then poof! You are gone, for good.

Tired of the sorry, lying mail-room workers who like to throw away whole piles of mail for fun. I put pieces of my soul down on paper, and you treat it as if it were yesterday's trash.

Tired of watching my hair fall out in clumps and tired of spitting up blood from my stomach ulcers because I don't know how to rid myself of the tension of being such a deficient and flawed living machine.

I'm tired of not being able to remember the last time I laughed for real, or smile when it wasn't forced.

Tired of not being able to say what I mean. Even now.

Tired of feeling like a sailor in the doldrums, waiting on the wind to blow. Tired of knowing it won't.

Tired of the chemicals in my brain sending me on an emotional roller-coaster ride, and tired of taking the blame for this when I don't know how to deal with it.

Tired of saying I'm sorry, when no one wants to listen.

Tired of not being able to look myself in the mirror.

Tired of thinking about Her, and wondering if she ever thinks about me. Tired of thinking that I doubt she does.

Tired of thinking I don't have any more tears to cry, and then being proven wrong.

Tired of having to look at life as a test, and thinking that I'd simply rather not have played at all.

Tired of feeling like some vital part of me got left out of the box.

Tired of not understanding love.

And most of all, I'm tired of waiting for God to act like he cares about me.

I guess it is obvious from the tone of all of this that I have a lot of housekeeping work to do in my head. I've gotten comfortable over the last few years. Institutionalized. Lately, that comfort has been breaking down. I was told recently by someone I care for deeply that I need to live without crutches. I've been thinking about this a lot, trying to figure out what crutches I employ on a daily basis. I'm worried that me without crutches simply won't have much need for this site. Or a great many other things. I guess I will figure it out. Or I won't. I'm sorry if I haven't lived up to the hopes of some of you. I'm not really sure many of you would do much better, if our positions were reversed, though. Cold-comfort words again, but it's the best I've got right now.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi retrovae per una selva oscura
Che la deritta via era smarrita

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood
For the straight way was lost.

-Dante Alighieri

© Copyright 2008 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker.
All rights reserved.

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