9.24 p.4

The rains began to come and go, but the leaden black sheets above remained, permitting not a single ray of sunlight to break through. It was one of my worse of bad days, because I would confess to having mostly bad days- in my subjective experience that is, not to be compared to the lives of the many I can think of- but regardless, it was another “stupid fucking shit day”, as anyone who knows me in the past year would be familiar with as my reply. It’s with no pride nor ignorance of the state of the world that I say these things, but it sure seems to fit how I feel at the end of the day, for reasons still currently extraneous to expound upon in this context. I’ll just say I was pissed of, with all the usual desperately racing thoughts of finally pulling that fucking trigger- and carry on with the record of these events.

It began to rain again and the hills were rather muddy, but I was sick and teeming and began hiking out to the place I call the Crest because I wanted to get as high as I possibly could. I guess I just like heights. But the Crest is the farthest, tallest hill before a narrow tributary of the valley and then the mountain range. You can see the entire valley and out to the next city from there. I slowly scaled its steep marshy ascent to where it breaks into an abrupt, small plateau. I turned about to take in the sable darkness that claimed every inch of the valleys far as the eye could see. At least the fucking weather finally reflected my perpetual mood. I mindlessly kicked a rock to watch roll all the way down the bluff, before vehemently hurling my staff out into the emptiness below, and turning my eyes back up into the blackness, searching for nothing.

“God I know You’re there, I know You’re listening to me. Thank you that You honored me with going through my silly tests…. However, You knew far from the beginning my intentions, so now will You answer me: why? … You know exactly what I mean. Why has *all this* happened? I lost nearly everything but my parents and the roof they provide over my head. I lost my job, career aspirations, license, relationships, freedom, sanity, health, hope, and ultimately my faith in You. I’m sorry we’ve hardly spoken in years. You know how angry and confused I am? I remember the way it used to be, how sitting atop the stairwell trying to barter with You to live, as though I had anything to give, the way the sunlight streamed in through the bannisters and the way the world looked and felt all so different. Why did You even agree to spare my life those years ago when You knew I would soon end up living through my own seemingly personalized nightmare, where I would just want to off myself everyday, and there seem no solutions. And every fucking one thinks they fucking get it. They have the fucking answers. They say I enjoy this shit. They say all kinds of things that feel they’re just to attempt to enflame me. But fuck what they say, I want to know what You say. Why will You give me anything I ask for but for these circumstances to finally pass away from me? Why? It’s been years and it only gets worse and You see I’m no longer able to handle it with its increasing burden. I want to die, more than anything in this world and You know it as well as I, please just let me get hit by a fucking plane right here so I don’t ever end up doing it myself. I remember so clearly the days that I used to feel the world so differently, experience the autumn breeze within, and look forward to the day. I remember when everything began to change, eroding before me for no reason of which any man could give wisdom nor account for. The little power I had taken from me, my life has become equivocal to the nonsense of a Wonderland or Labyrinth. You knew me from the beginning, You saw my deepest fears and such they came to pass! WHY?!”

I realize these are a few fairly cliche questions regarding why God doesn’t change certain things in our lives, or give us the strength to- but it was a means to simplify my little tantrum, and this is the highly abridged version; all you really need to know was that I was screaming at the sky like a lunatic. Which probably happens much more often than I’d like to admit.

But I shit you not, the moment I finished my little speech, a single, small circular space broke open in the clouds above and the sun shone perfectly through, illuminating only the plateau and shining brightly upon my incensed little countenance. Every hair stood on end and my skin prickled to see that it was indeed the only light acrost the entire horizon. I stood for a few moments looking up into the light before I suddenly had the strong impression that I should start running- not away from anything, just run.

I turned and ran to the light’s edge, of which then spread, illuminating the opposite path of the plateau. I sprinted down it’s passage, surprised by my sudden speed, then leaping off the trail and straight down its face as though I momentarily recalled what it felt like to be a gazelle amidst the fields, effortlessly bounding back up its other side, and continuing on until I arrived back home. Now the reason I include this part with emphasis is because I’ve had an injury to my Soleus for over a decade that has just never seemed to heal. Being that running had been my life, I’ve since had to run in chronic pain, or abandon the activity altogether, which is why I got the mountain bike, and also part of my beginning to use a staff. I used this over six-foot long, perfectly straight tree branch to assist my injured leg, often vaulting myself across the land with it. Ironically, that hasn’t been the only physical issue impeding me from being able to run the way that I used to, so that’s why I was rather surprised for even just a half hour to run with evidently no impairment. I definitely could’ve gotten used to that, but it came back.

I had a doctor appointment a little later that week.

….

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9.23 p.3

“God if You will continue to allow me to test You, can You please make the rain stop, just long enough so that I can go out biking in the morning?”

I awoke the next morning to the same downpour. I got up, ate, drank half a pot of black coffee, and went about prepping my bike and gear. I had been watching through the open garage door until the rain lessened to a sprinkle and by the time I was ready to leave it had ceased entirely. I started up one of the main streets and observed that not only had the rain stopped, but all of the black clouds that had blanketed the sky that week had cleared away from this half of the city to reveal blue sky with a prominent rainbow painted across. I recall the few birds that had begun to venture out and the feeling of the crisp, frigid air on my skin was foreign but a pleasant escape such that I fleetingly forgot my hatred for California’s sunny weather.

“You just have to overdo it don’t You,” I laughed under my breath.

A few days passed and with it the brunt of the storm. That morning I was out on my mountain bike about the city as usual, and I decided to trace along the wash. I typically take study of the people I pass by, strangers and familiar faces, and observe a great number of animals and varying kinds of birds- the latter of which I’ve long taken a particular interest of. In the five or six years that I’ve been wandering in and out of these southern hills I’ve watched the nurturing quail, ass hole road runners, doves of mourning, the common sparrows and the obnoxious woodpecker. I’ve befriended the crows and hummingbirds, taken note of the solitary Raven, been graced by the watchful eyes of the hawk and eagle, and been attacked by the silent owl more than once or twice. The Black Pheobe splashes in the elusive puddles of the street and watches through our windows. I’ll spare you the exhaustive list of water birds of all kinds that I see just as regularly; yet going along staring down into the waters, something suddenly occurred to me and I was brought to remember a time back when I was in second grade.

“OK God, I know what the third test will be. When I was in second grade- damn, I even remember where in the classroom I was sitting- there had been an assignment for which we had each been given an 8×16″ piece of paper to draw and color an animal that began with the first letter of our names. To my surprise, any obvious ones then eluded me. My classmates suggested a kangaroo. Nah. How about a koala? I thought about that one for a moment but too decided against it. Kingfisher suddenly popped into my head. I had to go get a book to see what it looked like and I drew that one. Why I wanted to draw a kingfisher of all things I have no idea, but I remember the picture how it was sitting on the branch with its head looking to one side.” I paused, again searching every branch and measure of water. “Tell me, were You there? Do You remember that day? You know, in these years of wandering and hundreds of birds I’ve seen, I’ve never in my twenty-six years of living in this city seen a Kingfisher. Do we even have those here? Probably not… But can You show me one?”

I continued my way along, watching the life below as ever. And less than five seconds after the words had left my lips, there, standing proudly atop a branch jutting up from the waters was a Belted Kingfisher. I’d never seen one before, and I’ve never seen one again.

9.21 free write

Another day done, gone on and on to another one, as our todays steal tomorrow, but words of the good fight only fill my heart with sorrow

Keep on the fight they say, and they’re also right, revealing themselves these things, that none of this is worth it

You’ll cry the same tears, filling in holes as another caves in beside, we were born to learn how to fall, never graduating from the fight

Does it ever seem like you’re waiting for just one night, as their lives all scream out, was it really worth the fight?

Feelings so commonplace, hold your breath and just keep the pace, don’t fall apart babe, they’ll see who you are, I am a stillborn, never having changed enough for love

The sun beating down in your hunger and thirst, the illusions slipping now right through your fingers, there’s nothing to hold onto as the end calls near, the sound my heart makes, can you hear it?

I wish I could hold onto fairy tales, lies about how it’s hard but all is well, it’s not, it only gets heavier to hold up

All fighting a losing battle, buying ourselves time the only matter, give me an illusion so I can cover my eyes, something I can touch and pretend it’ll be alright

Pretend that come the morning we will cry no more, make sense of disintegration, find something worth working for

Is our labor in vain, not so to a certain eye, but there’s a still small child who has never been satisfied, empty truths are all there is to find

Its all about perspective, someone else has it much worse, or how the glass is half full or half empty, everyone else gets it, so the joke is on me

Another day is done, it’s requirements borne and met, we have no choice but to move on, and that’s why we pretend

Life hurts and then it ends, all before tomorrow, oh how the good fight ever only fills my heart with sorrow.

9.19 p.2

My first intention had been that I would “lay out the fleece”, as the ancient prophet Gideon had done in order to allay any doubts of having heard from God. Now in my understanding Gideon tested God twice on this instance, so I decided I would shoot for three. I sat there in my spot, contemplating what my first test would be- To see if God was even there, if He was really listening, And foremost: if He was mad at me for what has become of my life and myself.

I glanced down at my shirt noticing the numerous holes that were multiplying more rapidly than I could account for and knew that I needed clothing because nearly everything I own is usually falling apart, but generally I never feel well enough to go out and get it myself. Embellished top to bottom in tattoo-styled skulls, roses, and pistols, with two large wings on the front and back; it was a highly intricately decorated grey V-neck from an obscure brand That I had found online some years ago on an auction site.

“OK,” I spoke out into the darkness to no particular place, “If You are there and You’re actually listening to me of all people, I would really like another shirt like this one that I am wearing; if you could bring it to me I will know that You are listening.”

I live with my parents who graciously house my bum ass and it so happened to be one of the weeks that I had the house entirely to myself. The next morning I received a text message from my mother, with a picture of a shirt she had bought while she happened to be thrifting out on their trip. It was the same cut, color, and brand as the shirt I had requested and was too adorned extremely similarly. I was taken aback, but it was still not the exact shirt.

“God thank you for hearing me, at least I think You did, but it’s not exactly the same,” I ventured to point out.

The next day I received another text from my mother sending me another picture of a shirt she had too suddenly felt so inclined to buy me. Evidently she too thought I was beginning to resemble a hobo. It was indeed the exact shirt. So my first request had been fulfilled, and given the specifications, the odds of coincidence were fairly low. I remember thinking to myself “If only I had a pair of black pants,” as I thanked God and headed to bed to think upon what the next test would be. That night I had a dream that there was a pair of black pants I had years ago forgotten, in the back of my closet shelf nestled against the ceiling. Upon waking I went to look and behind two dusty paint cans found the black pants that then fit me perfectly.

“God, I see that You not only provided the exact shirt I had asked for, but an additional one and pants as well, and I thank you very much.”

I was humbled but I actually wasn’t surprised- because deep down I had known this God since I was a small child. He was the voice in my head, provider of my needs, the one who had directed my every step, who hemmed me in from danger, and had always saved me from my own idiocy and impulsivity– I simply however have come to a place of which I can no longer reconcile the pain I feel in a life I would never have imagined and that all my strength can no longer seem to facilitate change. I’m well aware that they say “God helps those who help themselves,” of which is only a saying of men, yet it never eluded my guilty mind nor permitted inaction. But what does God do with people who can’t manage to help themselves? I worry tirelessly that I won’t be adequate enough to save my happiness or desire, of which already lay in a bottomless open grave. The question haunts me and the blame rests squarely on my shoulders. But I had to figure out why this all had happened. Why did God let me lead myself here when I’d seen that He’d always guided me before?

During this time it was the winter of 2017, of which California was currently experiencing the “Storm of the Decade”, and it had been raining thusly for nearly a week now with no forecast of its cessation. Much as I realized it a need and fortune in our drought, extreme weather always throws me for even harder times when I can’t get out a couple hours on my mountain bike or hiking the surrounding areas, of which I have sustained without fail once or twice everyday for about five years now; having discovered such as the only means of which has ever managed to clear or improve the state of my head when I get my lowest. I had been simply going out in the torrential rains but really didn’t feel like doing it again that morning. But sitting with just my thoughts was never an option. I decided what would be my second test.

9.18 p.1

Here I am, forcing myself to at least attempt writing something- of which I have adeptly avoided even the most whiny and vague poetry- in attempt to delay trying to unwind the increasingly chaotic tangle my mind has worked itself into, again. As always, without fail. Having spent an inordinate amount of time exhaustively examining and reexamining my beliefs, fears, direction, and ultimately the nature of my heart and motives- I’m aware it may not be a habit of which sows happiness, as a counselor once used to advice me that there was “no such thing as a happy philosopher”- but this past year in particular has truly become what appears to be a defining point in my life. I say this as neither good or bad thing, as I will refrain to draw my conclusion, but truly feel that my entire life has been building to the implosion that now seems to be in motion, if it wasn’t already always there, just waiting. The primary issue in sorting it out is in where the fuck to begin or to even get a handhold to start to pull apart, as most things in life seem to also resemble.

I’m finding myself struggling to find the appropriate words when they’ve always felt so inadequate to convey the actual feelings, but the overarching matter in this time- of which I will use some specific examples- has been my desperate need and attempt amidst this breakdown to discover the true nature and heart of God. Not who I want Him to be, not just what makes us feel better to believe, and not simply what I’ve heard. I’m a stubborn person and I needed to see it with my own dim eyes, hear it with these partially deaf ears, and feel it in a heart that only feels dead. I’ve probably spent more time talking to the sky or nonspecific space than I ever have in my life, even having been a Christian since I was a young child. Like most everyone, I’ve had issues since I was a kid, though perhaps to a more poignant degree due to my emotional disposition. I could never answer the why’s. I always believed in God, with the natural doubts, but my life wasn’t hard *enough* or broken *enough* at that age to need to absolutely resolve those doubts or go off “looking for God”.

At twenty-six years old, I can candidly say that I am ready to die, of which I’m sure is a much more commonplace feeling than one would think. I likely however have not failed to convey this in a litany of seemingly melodramatic though nonspecific poems. But having come to this point, after having ruled out or exhausted other salves or temporary solutions, I would be remiss not to confess that continuing any further in life scares me more than death. I hate to face this fact that has consequently grown up within me, but acknowledge that it wasn’t always this way and it’s gradual development was not for no reason. Still the guilt and shame of my ultimate failure to overcome chews at me every waking moment of my existence; I’ve had enough people offer cliche advice that didn’t work or cast judgement to oversimplify struggles that have spanned the majority of my life and grown exponentially more difficult to manage with each passing year. Of course there’s always room in my mind that I may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t understand life; but if I give myself the benefit of the doubt for once, it would be that the more I come to observe and understand, and apply it to my personal circumstances to calculate a rough trajectory for the future, the more appropriate never existing would seem. But ultimately I have to take this guilt I feel, others opinions of me, and decide whose opinions are the most true and valid that I should bear them.

I decided that given all the advice, power, and wisdom of the conventionally esteemed practice of recovery had failed me where it seemed to be a cure- all for many others; I would seek God’s opinion on if I indeed was what I feared to be- weak, unwilling, and unworthy. I would lay out everywhere I’d been, everything I’d tried, felt, knowing that if He truly was even what they say that He would have seen all of it anyways and understand better than anyone ever has. I could know that God had seen how much I really did try and seen every victory that I did not advertise, loss I did not justify, and every moment in the dark since I was a girl beneath her glowing canopy lights. Then, if after seeking His courts, if I could somehow procure His favor that my request might be granted, I would petition for my death.

So I again hid away from the world, sat down, and would not leave until God met me there by allowing me to first test Him. He agreed to my terms.

9.4 free write

In my lack of faith I can think You’ve finally decided to turn away, if You cared so much as they claim, how can things seem so bad and never change

But they also say that life is always changing, chirping aloud as though it were something to be anticipating, I’d be the first to agree however, but I’ve never seen changes for the better

Changes mostly seem to only take away the good things, in an overly simplified state of mind, like it’s a personalized and never- ending test with no attainable end to find, just fucking mindless, directionless misery

So I just dive right in, surely everyone must feel like this and it’s just another thing you didn’t know existed, the discoveries are sobering and so overwhelming, and the fantasies multiply to absolutely no telling

Like gasoline to a fire that’s already been burning from inside the skull to out, more evident, making more sense than ever before now, up against the wall where there’s no way out at all

Yet having been shown signs I can hardly believe, it always seems like You’re leaving me, how can God be supposedly so close and pain be all you know everyday, where does the blame go, oh absolve me of my fate

I try to go about with closed eyes when I cannot bear the truth, but know there’s nowhere to hide and there’s nothing left to do

A holy audience claims that everything was seen, every hidden verse and step taken in between, every tear and stifled scream, all of the fear and every lost thing, many as the days

Like these steps were hemmed in, and you never could have guessed it, trying to walk the right direction and all hope is still divested, you cry with everyone else, yet the burden never lessens

I don’t know how you don’t just scream, for one can be hungry, suffering, alone, searching for a meaning or most anything we know, but one cannot breathe without hope

If nothing escapes Your notice, where do You go when our nightmares come for us, now that time has come for mine?

9.1 free write

Once in this place there was a dream to hang your hopes upon, but the children are all grown and gone, out into the fields to toil and search to leave behind the breath of their work

Dreaming of love someday when there is more time, or someone around who can satisfy, but they never come upon that place again, a mere memory locked within their heads

A misty veil at the edge of that field evermore, where each one must stand with the mentors gone before, whether seen or unknown, you carry it on though, and there is no tomorrow

No rest for the dream of rescue or meaning, for the path is ploughed by every hour and to every man who’s ever looked to the clouds is another who can’t or doesn’t need to now

And the fallen will return with no face, to walk through these fears and pay for mistakes, the truth is no comfort in the times that we walk, each one alone must justify the burden of the clock

A breath, one breath are we, close your eyes and miss these things, but there is no blame in doing so, we each have our choice and we may refuse to grow, to each their own

For the lesson is bitter, thusly the faint of heart may reconsider, the field will never change, and a heart may fly away, but there is no consolation nor room for reservation

Just as the mourning doves above us, ever chasing their lovers, each to their place one after another, hands to work, dreaming as birds, but never really reached or recovered

But who can know if there is absolution for adversity without solution, for a struggle without resolution, wherein deception no longer offered its protection

So I took leave of these fields then, unaware that I could never return again, taking to the mountain to seek my last penance, trying to evade an unavoidable sentence

For I knew that the fields were full of locusts, their remnants ever remind, still I had vainly hoped that some other way I’d find

And upon my descent from Insanity, tears filled my heart and never departed from the vicinity of which bore my mark, Spared once for a time, but not for twice, and I saw it my lot to walk alone in life

No dreams of love nor illusion of excusal from above, no pity at all there be, as the only one at fault is me, and I regress to accept the price of my crimes, nod to my successors, and disappear from the field for all time.